What’s on offer in the neighborhood? The CBD through the gateway; or stroll to Britomart, the heritage district saved from the wrecking ball by Peter Cooper of Cooper and Company, and beautifully restored into a chic and cheerful place to shop and dine.
With the port on your doorstep and over fifty islands in the Hauraki Gulf, you still have a few options further afield. Take a private boat, public ferry, helicopter or paddleboard – the hotel can arrange the mode of transport and level of luxury you prefer.
If it’s food and drink, Waiheke is the Gulf’s most popular destination. The former artists’ colony now houses the decor of helicopters, sprawling mansions and around 30 wine estates.
The more adventurous can kayak from the hotel to Rangitoto, the iconic landmark and extinct volcano in the Hauraki Gulf, then hike to the crater ridge. Whatever your pleasure, the hotel team will make it happen, and there’s no need to press the room tab too hard – they could send you to a west coast beach in a Tesla to watch the sun set over the Pacific horizon. (If it’s the latter, note that the chef-prepared appetizer basket is a tasty touch.)
In short, how excited should I be about this hotel? Very. Until recently, the dearth of new luxury hotels in Auckland left visitors wanting more. Before the Park Hyatt, the last new five-star hotel built in Auckland was the Britomart Hotel, which opened in late 2020. Another beautiful, still new hotel nearby is SO/Auckland, from the Accor group.
The Park Hyatt does what it says on the packaging – it says ‘Luxury on the Waterfront’. With all its amenities, it’s like a downtown resort, starting with the 25-meter heated infinity pool on the harbor, with lounge chairs, views, greenery and deep eaves for protect themselves from the sun.
There is a dedicated hydrotherapy area which includes a sauna, aromatic steam room and vitality pools. The large fitness center has high-end equipment and overlooks the Harbor Bridge. The dedicated spa, which uses Australian beauty brand iKOU, is hugely popular, so book a treatment in advance.
The biggest surprise? The hotel’s four restaurants, all of which genuinely support local producers and seek to express provenance in every dish. Executive Chef Brent Martin has had a prodigious international career cooking for the likes of the Dalai Lama, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates.
Originally from Wellington, he only recently returned and loves advocating for New Zealand producers. In his signature restaurant Onemata (meaning rich soil), all dishes are prepared with produce sourced from across the country.
It is also present in the best wine producers in the country, so do not miss the events which offer tailor-made menus with artisanal producers such as Hans Herzog and Clos Henri. Martin, on the other hand, spent many years in the Caribbean, and you’ll find that influence at Captain’s Bar, which has 60 rums on the menu. Take a flight of fancy, try the Rum and Chocolate Experience for $112 per person – where rum is paired with dishes made with Foundry Chocolate, a small producer just north of town.
A good homemade coffee? Ethically and sustainably sourced coffee beans from local roaster and retailer Eighthirty Coffee Roasters are served at all hotel outlets. It’s a hip brand that you wouldn’t usually associate with a five-star hotel, and therein lies the hotel’s real point of difference.
my room L&L stayed in a 71 square meter Harbor Suite with a king-size bed, marble bathroom with deep soaking tub and large walk-in rain-head shower. There is also a generous entrance, walk-in closet, separate living and dining room and a private eight square meter furnished terrace. The separate guest lavatory is handy if you’re hosting guests on deck or in the saloon.
Views from the corner suite encompass the marina, the city, the Sky Tower, and extend to Rangitoto. The bathroom is glazed to the full height, letting in the view. Thanks to the korowai (a contemporary interpretation of a traditional Maori coat) that wraps around the building, rest assured that you are not exposed. The fine mesh “cloak” gives the facade a shine and its thermal properties keep your room at a comfortable temperature, which is useful if you are not a fan of permanent air conditioning.
New selling point The work of art integrated into the design. Thanks to the collaboration with local iwi artists, the design leaves no doubt that you are on Maori land in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.
The scale of the hotel lends itself to significant pieces, and the most dramatic and striking is at the entrance – a huge sculpture, Tamaki herenga wakawhich translates to “the gathering place of many canoes”.
It took master carver Dr. Lyonel Grant and his team of two over two years to complete. The backlit, inset artwork depicts the end of tribal strife in the Tāmaki region, meaning the town is a safe haven for all to gather.
On an even grander scale is Peata Larkin’s contemporary centerpiece in the soaring atrium. The LED-lit geometric patterns are 11 meters wide and 5.5 meters high and symbolize protection and safe passage to the sea.
The woven tukutuku panels in the lobby and the pouwhenua (sculptures) at the entrance are typically found in a traditional whare (house) – here they provide large-scale privacy.
How do prices compare for this city? Rooms range from NZ$500 (about $445) a night for a 47m² King Room to NZ$12,000 (about $10,700) for the 245m² Presidential Suite. Prices at the Britomart Hotel are NZ$359 for a king room: at 22m², it’s half the size of a typical Park Hyatt room; the QT is NZ$480 for a Deluxe King.
The writer stayed as a guest of the Park Hyatt Auckland, at 99 Halsey Street, Wynyard Quarter.