Friendly and affordable accommodation right in the heart of Auckland City. Major renovation 2009/10. A versatile hotel with 120 rooms well suited to the traveller or group seeking quality, value & location. Set back from Queen Street and backing onto Myers Park it's in a quiet yet ideal central location with free parking.
There are 80 3-star Ensuite Rooms with Queen double or Twin King Singles and Family rooms with Queen and 2 singles. They have LCD flatscreen TV, tea/coffee making, phone and ensuite bathroom. A further 40 Economy Rooms in a Twin / Double or Triple configuration with vanity basin but sharing bathroom facilities also available.
Hotel facilities include a spacious lounge, restaurant & bar. 24-hour reception, Free Parking, business centre with travel desk & internet cafe - wireless & fixed. Guest laundry, free luggage storage, direct taxi line with discounted rates. Convenient to airport bus and all transport services. Walk to all central city attractions - Skycity, Vector Arena, Viaduct Basin, Aotea Square, restaurants, nightclubs, theatres & shops. An easy drive to ASB Showgrounds and Ellerslie and Alexander Park race courses. Easy access to both north and south motorways.
ADMIN NOTE: This is an update of listing #1197
The first thing that you should be aware of is that this place can not be entered by car if you are approaching from the CBD end of Queen Street... only if you are travelling south DOWN Queen Street from K-Road towards Mayoral Drive. This is because of a traffic island in the middle of the road stopping stupid drivers from causing pile-ups by swerving across oncoming traffic as it whizzes around the corner. This is no reflection on the venue, more of a cautionary note for those trying to check in. If you do approach from the northern end, you'll have to head to the peak of the hill, turn into K-Road, perform a tricky U-turn, then head down-hill before you can make your entrance.
To enter the venue, you need to drive down between two other buildings, as this place is set back off the road, looking out over a lovely section of Myers Park. Look for the billboards on the pavement and you'll be fine. Note that there is a bus stop right outside the Internet Cafe that borders the left side of the driveway, so you'll either have to sit behind a bus, or watch out for one approaching as you make your turn. The main entrance is right in front of you - under plenty of cover - as you drive up, but if you continue past the entrance and hang a left, you will come to the Guest Parking area. Be warned, to avoid having your car towed, be sure to display your parking permit (available at Reception when you check in) prominently on your dashboard. Those who try to poach parking won't get away with it for long. The parking area is under camera surveillance, so don't assume you can park, head into town, and return to check in... go straight inside and get validated first, then you'll be fine to head down hill into the heart of town.
Once you are parked and checked in, you'll no doubt want to get settled in before going about your business in town. The first thing you're going to notice is that the elevators will scare the schnitzel out of you - they sure did to me! At the ground floor the car doesn't seem to align with the floor, so you have a 3cm 'step up' to get in... and when it stops is SLAMS to a stop. Honestly, I thought the damned thing was about to go free-fall on me. The interior decor and the style of the elevator (the OLD style push-buttons) show the true age of these... and why they bother saying "Limit 8 persons" eludes me - you would be doing well if you could fit half that many in there. After that first ride, I took the stairs for the rest of my visit. This proved to be excellent 'warm up' for the repeated hill-climbing I did, as I walked everywhere during my 2 day stay.
The rooms themselves are, charitably speaking, 'Cosy' - I was in a single room with ensuite... ah, it so took me back to my university days living in the dorms... the room wasn't big by any stretch... and I have stayed in much bigger and better rooms... but to be fair, none that were anywhere near as affordable as this. For the price, and keeping in mind the VERY central location, this was a spacious enough room for one, and had the privacy advantage of a dedicated shower, toilet and handbasin tucked away behind what I first assumed was the wardrobe door.
The room was clean and tidy when I checked in, with a towel nicely folded on the end of the bed... however they had neglected to leave a bar of soap behind. A quick call to reception had room service delivering one - and a sachet of shampoo, bonus - to me. My only critique of this was the lady who delivered it seemed very certain there was one in the room, and had I not been standing to block the doorway, I feel certain she would have tried to enter and dig for them herself. You MUST trust the guests, even when they clearly don't warrant it... what is the better deal: losing the cost of a 35c bar of soap, or risking them telling their friends and family to avoid the place because of pushy cleaners?
I was pleased to see the room came with a TV mounted on the wall... a nice 22" LCD flatscreen on a swivel mount so I could watch it from the bed... but it was highly disappointing to turn it on and find 3 channels of static-ridden picture, two channels of pure static... and repeats of the above as I cycled through every station. No cable, no SKY, no in-house movie channel. Could be something they may want to look at in the short-term future to improve the 'customer satisfaction' aspect. Suffice to say, the 'aerial signal' was next to useless, and set to become totally so shortly when the regular TV transmissions get switched off and it's FreeView or Subscriber Services only. In the end, I cheated and plugged the laptop into the AV-in ports and watched my own movies on a bigger screen.
Because of the positioning of the powerpoints in the room, and my need for an electrical outlet near the desk - which wasn't possible the way the room was laid out - I had to rearrange the furniture a bit. This highlighted the need in today's world for powerpoints to be near work surfaces such as desks - a smartphone can only do so much, compared to a laptop or tablet. Though it's easy to see how difficult it would be to relocate the electrical system in an established building, be aware that if you have high-drain devices and want to use them, you might be wise to pack, or buy, a short extension cable, just in case - if for no other reason than the hotel kindly supply you with a jug and tea/coffee making materials, but you can't plug the jug in unless you're OK with it sitting on the floor right in front of the wardrobe or main door, or you unplug the TV and use the little side-table the phone sits on.
If dining-in is your thing, the in-venue dining is actually quite good from what I tried. My first meal was dinner... Scotch Fillet cooked Medium and drizzled with a delightful, light gravy, served with crispy fries, a lovely - though slightly bitter - side salad (it needed a dressing of some kind), and a small bowl of tomato sauce. When I asked, I was given a small bowl of garlic butter which just set off the steak perfectly. At $25.00 it was a filling, affordable, delicious meal that left me feeling replete but not gluggy or bloated. A perfect portion, cooked by someone who really does know his stuff. The next morning I opted for the "Big Kiwi Breakfast" which was bacon, sausages, eggs, a hash brown, fried tomato and some toast, as well as a small side bowl of cereal, yoghurt and preserves (eg. jam, marmalade etc). As the 'cold' components were served buffet-style, it was easy to pick and choose what I wanted. The cereals offered were the basics - muesli, cornflakes and wheat biscuits - and there was an assortment of fruits and condiments to go along with the meal. Considering that access to this buffet was a mere $2.00 on top of the cost of the cooked breakfast, I think it was exceptionally good value, and the chap running the area wore many hats: chef, bartender, entertainer, city guide, and even managed a stint at reception during a quiet patch. He cheekily admitted to me that he is a resident himself, and often heads down to the dining area to watch TV as it's on a cable connection and thus far better viewing quality than even in the staff's rooms.
Check out was amazingly smooth, especially so since I hadn't racked up any extra expenses on my room tab - paying for meals by EFTPOS and doing no damage to the rooms was a no-brainer really, so it was simply a case of handing over my key, thanking them, and begging the favour of being able to leave my car parked there for a few extra hours as I had 'appointments' in town and it was more convenient for me. Since the parking is strictly allocated, but they had no bookings due to fill that space until later that evening, they were happy to allow this extension of courtesy. They did point out that it was only by good fortune they could do this, so I wouldn't go in expecting them to be able to offer this service - I was just really lucky. The 6kg box of imported confectionery I was trying to balance may also have helped encourage them to give me a break, as it wouldn't take a genius to figure out I was going to have a crap enough day lugging that around in the rain as it was.
Overall, if you are after a short stay, and don't mind leaving out the expensive 'luxuries' such as on-venue pool, spa, sauna, 4-star dining, etc... then this is a venue you really should consider. The dining area is spacious, has a huge TV, friendly and helpful staff, a pool table ($2 per game), and even an open fireplace (which, alas, wasn't lit this visit). There is a Travel Desk with everything a tourist would need to get help, internet access via four dedicated PCs, another one with all sorts of non-networked tools (including Photoshop, to my delight!), and a wireless hotspot for those who want to do their browsing in the relative comfort of their rooms. I am not 100% convinced I would class this as a full 3-star venue though... it just seemed to look a little run-down to me... but a solid 2.5 star for sure, and maybe some cosmetic work would bring that half-star back into play.
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