Room review: voco Auckland City Center – stay overnight in Auckland’s tallest hotel
It was an easy drop off at New Zealand’s first Voco hotel, despite being right next to the construction tangle of Auckland’s City Rail Link.
The newly opened development at the corner of Albert and Wyndham streets is part of a twin tower that also includes the 294-room Holiday Inn Express.
Look up and you can’t really miss the place; the glass and concrete tower is Auckland’s eighth tallest skyscraper as well as the city’s tallest hotel development and, once the rooftop bar opens, will feature the second viewing platform highest public after the Sky Tower – at 128 meters.
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Even the lobby looks lanky. There are two floors of main space, with a golden spiral staircase leading to the gym and meeting rooms. The Italian restaurant Mozzarella & Co is to the right of the entrance, while another raised level to the left is where half of the breakfast offering is served.
Right at the back, guests can check in and then quickly enter one of three elevators to their room or suite. There are 201 rooms to book here, ranging from standard twins to top-floor suites with separate living and entertainment rooms.
Number 3505 looked impressive on my room card. The expectation was high for the breathtaking views during the 45 second elevator ride – and the outlook did not disappoint.
Upon entering, I could see the Auckland concrete toothpick shining behind the sheer curtain. A closer look and I could almost read the lips of diners seated inside the Sky Tower’s revolving restaurant. The vistas stretched from Victoria Park across the horizon to One Tree Hill.
The bedroom itself was dressed in innocuous shades of gray on gray – the only splash of color coming from two pieces of art above the king-size bed. The bench’s firm seat, while a new use of space, is a more practical place to toss your luggage than a comfortable place to sit.
The marble, wood and glass bathroom had just the right amount of space and a rain shower. With the city on your doorstep you’d expect at least some street noise to slip through – there was none of that so you can rest assured it will be a night’s sleep calm.
TVs have Chromecast and the refreshment box is stocked with instant coffee and teas. Two large water bottles provided can be refilled in the hallway. Bathrobes were the only real slice of luxury in the standard King room.
The lobby’s mezzanine is home to an impressive gym that doesn’t look like it’s transpired since the hotel opened. The inclusion of five meeting rooms in the adjacent wing, plus the city location and underground parking lot make this an ideal option for business travelers. The hotel offers free use of a bamboo bicycle.
The downstairs dining room is open all day, serving both a la carte and buffet breakfast — fresh fruit, cold cuts, pastries, and hot items included — to an Italian-inspired menu of pizza and pasta for lunch and dinner.
I enjoyed one of the signature ‘Venice’ cocktails infused with amaretto and silky stew with the earthy flavor of truffle oil on pappardelle – perfectly cooked al dente.
Bar Albert, also billed as New Zealand’s tallest rooftop bar, is set to open on August 26 with an “art deco glamour” theme and open terrace.
Worth going out
It’s an easy walk to Queen St, beside which world-class bars, restaurants and shops can be found in almost every direction. Visit the Commercial Bay neighborhood for a brilliant look at all three.
Stroll along the waterfront to the Viaduct and Wynyard area, walk to the Art Gallery, catch a train elsewhere – you have all the benefits of being right in the heart of central Auckland.
Waking up in the city with million dollar prospects was a novelty.
Those looking to drink one of the Hallertau craft beers from the mini-bar fridge will be out of luck when looking for a bottle opener. For this thirsty guest, a teaspoon did the trick.
It’s all about the central location and, for those on higher floors, the scenic views. Mozzarella & Co is a cozy and delicious place for wine and dinner.
There are nine wheelchair accessible rooms, including roll-in showers. The hotel also accepts service animals.
Rooms at the voco Auckland City Center start from $243 per night. Parking is $55. See: https://www.ihg.com/voco/hotels/gb/en/auckland/aklcn/hoteldetail
Stay safe: New Zealand is currently under Covid-19 restrictions. Follow the instructions on covid19.govt.nz.
The writer was hosted by voco Auckland City Centre.