Hilton Hotel Auckland, New Zealand
Princess Wharf, 147 Quay St Auckland, New Zealand Tel : 64 (0)9 978 2000 Fax: 64 (0)9 978 2001 Web site: www.hilton.com
Promoted as 'The Boutique Hotel completely surounded by water', the Hilton Auckland is indeed in a unique location, right at the end of Princess Wharf. The front and one side of the building have direct views of Auckland Harbour. Most other rooms too, have a partial view. I had booked a rate of $250 (New Zealand dollars) for a two night stay, Friday and Saturday. Arrival at the hotel by taxi, was through a designated parking station, which restricted access to the Wharf. I noted that valet parking at the hotel was free. At the end of the wharf was this large, around 11 level, hotel. I was met by a friendly porter (one of about three) who took my bags. I then ventured into reception on the ground floor. It was very noisy as a lounge adjoins the reception, and it was very crowded (being a Friday night), and a jazz band was playing. Check-in was smooth, quick, and friendly. A porter then took me to the second floor and Room 210. The room was spacious, had a very modern, comtemporary feel, very little colour (mainly white and tans). The room had a king bed, a one and a half metre long side table, with a drawer, a very good work desk, with independent Internet access modems, a New Zealand, and European power access points, and an arm chair each side. There was a sofa, bench, Internet panel which operated the TV, which had a choice of cable as well a slocal New Zealand TV network stations. There was plenty of wardrobe space, and a safe inside. There was a mini-bar as well. The outlook was directly over the harbour, facing some warehouses on the opposite side of the water. Looking to the left you could see why Auckland is known as 'the city of sails', and to the right the lights of the city skyline. The room opened on to a sizeable balcony, with two wooden lay-boys and a table, again no colour. The bathroom was very spacious, had a full size shower, and a large bath, plenty of bench space, very good lighting, a hairdyer, and everything else you would expect. The room itself had very good lighting, and overall I would have to say was quite functional. Certainly not colourful, no personality, the lack of colour and modern decor, and the lay-out rendered the hotel more a corporate, than a leisure property, in terms of the market it would cater for. A very businesslike, dare I say it, clinical hotel. The bar downstairs I called in to late, as the band was winding up. There was still a good crowd around 11pm, and the views over the water were spectacular. The following night I trotted down to White, the hotel's restaurant, however after 7 or 8 minutes of trying to attract a passing waiter's attention, or a floating matre d' I gave up and left.The restaurant looked a treat, quite upmarket, and again panoramic views of the harbour, but thats all I can say. The attentiveness of staff, and I guess the lack of care about a guest left me wondering. I'm reminded that years ago hotels like the Hilton, in their very upmarket dining rooms, used to have you feeling that you should be priviliged to dine there, and priviliged that someone would attend to you. The Hilton Auckland restaurant White reminded me of that bygone era. On the Sunday I requested a late check-out to 12.15pm, which was promptly agreed to. In all the hotel had everything you would expect of a Hilton, other than a little more attention in the restaurant. The concierge, reception, and porters, and the bar staff were all very obliging, efficient, and friendly. The hotel's unique location, in the heart of the waterfront action (numerous taverns, bars, and restaurants nearby) is excellent, and you're just metres away from the CBD and city shops.