Harbourside luxury: the best hotels in Auckland

From boutique chic to five star stunner, there’s a luxury Auckland hotel with your name on it.

By Chris Ashton, January 15 2024
Harbourside luxury: the best hotels in Auckland

Auckland is much more than New Zealand’s primary getaway, it’s the beating heart of the North Island. Not in a geographic sense, but the rhythmic pulse of its cultural scene, not to mention the eclectic bars, restaurants and rooftops. 

As you can imagine, there’s no way you can truly experience all the city – originally known as Tamaki Makaurau, or ‘isthmus of a thousand lovers’ – has to offer in a single night or visit.

A view across the City of Sails.
A view across the City of Sails.

After delving into Maori history at Auckland War Memorial Museum, perusing trendy Ponsonby or savouring the island wineries of nearby Waiheke – just a short ferry ride away – you’ll need somewhere to rest… before hitting the streets to discover more the following day.

With that in mind, and in no particular order, these are some of the best Auckland hotels for you to live it up in style.

 

JW Marriott Auckland

Designed for business and pleasure, JW Marriott Auckland is enveloped by the hustle and bustle of the CBD, an easy stroll from Sky Tower, Viaduct Harbour, and the New Zealand Maritime Museum. Thanks to a ongoing glow-up, it’s looking better than ever. 

One of the hotel's recently-refurbished Superior rooms.
One of the hotel's recently-refurbished Superior rooms.

As expected from a JW Marriott, neutral tones abound within its plush confines. That extends throughout the signature restaurant JW Kitchen and neighbouring lounge bar to the 286 rooms and suites, many of which have been thoroughly upgraded.

The transformation is due for completion in late 2024.
The transformation is due for completion in late 2024.

A 24 hour gym is also onsite for those who want to work up a sweat. Inside the 24/7 space, you’ll find a solid array of TechnoGym equipment – weights, treadmills, rowing machines and the like – all facing towards the full length windows.

QT Auckland

QT Hotels are well-known for doing things a little differently, for pushing design limits and embracing the playful side of life. Its ultra-cool outposts in Sydney and Melbourne are perfect examples, but QT Auckland more than holds its own in the family.

Enjoy room to move and space to relax in the Junior Suite.
Enjoy room to move and space to relax in the Junior Suite.

Charcoal-black walls and neon lighting; sculptures of rio and glass set the mood, making it clear this is no ordinary hotel. While things take a more sophisticated turn in its 150 rooms, there’s still personality in spaces, from cool metal lockers to Dali-esque mirrors.

Esther's menu is inspired by head chef Sean Connolly's travels across the globe.
Esther's menu is inspired by head chef Sean Connolly's travels across the globe.

European-style bistro Esther takes diners on a cruise around the Med, incorporating foods and flavours from Italy to France and Morocco. Rooftop at QT bar continues the theme, though with a more sundrenched tapas-style menu and emphasis on killer cocktails.

InterContinental Auckland

The name InterContinental is synonymous with five star luxury. Joining the likes of Wellington and Sydney, Auckland finally has an InterContinental of its own, with the brand-new hotel welcoming guests from January 30, 2024.

InterContinental Auckland with the landmark Downtown Terminal in the foreground.
InterContinental Auckland with the landmark Downtown Terminal in the foreground.

Housed within the billion-dollar Commercial Bay precinct, the 139-room and suite InterContinental Auckland is a mere 30 minutes from the airport and surrounded by countless retail and dining outlets. Plus, there’s plenty of note inside too.

Rooms are elegant and tasteful, with views to match.
Rooms are elegant and tasteful, with views to match.

A Club InterContinental for lounge-worthy guests (open June 2024), the signature Middle Eastern-inspired Advieh restaurant, and a 24 hour fitness centre are just a tease of what awaits, while a rooftop bar will debut later in the year.

Pullman Auckland Airport

Whether timed for a late evening arrival or bleary-eyed early morning departure, booking a stay at the freshly-opened Pullman Auckland Airport is a very good idea indeed.

The hotel is in walking distance to both the domestic and international terminals.
The hotel is in walking distance to both the domestic and international terminals.

A mere 100 metres from the international terminal, the 311-room and suite hotel’s exterior is striking in the evening light, while interiors gleam with textures of timber, stone and metallic detailing.

Executive Rooms also come with Te Kaahu lounge access.
Executive Rooms also come with Te Kaahu lounge access.

Te Kaahu is your go-to for a taste of New Zealand on a plate or in a glass (with an impressive runway view to boot), while Kuriri café on the ground floor is an ideal meeting point dishing up casual bites and drinks.

Cordis Auckland

Part of the Langham Group, with sister properties in Sydney and the Gold Coast, Cordis Auckland is a traditional luxury hotel through and through. And that’s one of its many charms, with a sense of classic refinement enveloping you the moment you step inside.

Treat yourself to handcrafted sweets, savouries, and fluffy scones in the Chandelier Lounge.
Treat yourself to handcrafted sweets, savouries, and fluffy scones in the Chandelier Lounge.

High Tea beneath a sparkling chandelier, Kiwi-inspired cocktails under the stars, and Club Lounge benefits from breakfast to pre-dinner canapés, topped off with a day spa and heated rooftop pool, all combine to create a getaway worth checking into.

Wake up to views across the city skyline from your Executive Room.
Wake up to views across the city skyline from your Executive Room.

Among Cordis’ 640 rooms are the city-view Premier Skyline, the One Bedroom Suite with living and dining, and the brillant Pinnacle Tower Executive Suite, complete with access to the aforementioned Club Lounge. Family rooms are available too.

Fable Auckland, MGallery

Breathing new life into the former Hotel Grand Windsor, Fable Auckland is all about luxury with an Art Decor gleam. In a fitting homage to the building’s 1928 origin, the iconic art style spans all 79 of its guestrooms, in addition to Cooke’s Restaurant and public areas.

The Luxury Room lives up to its name, with a Sofitel My Bed, sustainable Marihi amenities and more.
The Luxury Room lives up to its name, with a Sofitel My Bed, sustainable Marihi amenities and more.

Plush bedheads, deep purple lounges and armchairs, and warm gold detailing set the mood, while welcome additions like Smart TVs, Bose speakers, T2 fine bone china and teas, and Nespresso machines tick all the boxes for a modern boutique hotel.

Cocktails with a splash of table side theatre at Cooke's Restaurant & Bar.
Cocktails with a splash of table side theatre at Cooke's Restaurant & Bar.

The intimate Cooke’s Restaurant & Bar plates up a la carte meals and tasty bar snacks, paired with a well-curated drinks menu. For something a little ‘extra’, you can also enjoy one of three bespoke cocktails mixed tableside by the bar’s mixologist.

Hilton Auckland 

Built 300m out to sea, at the tip of Princes Wharf, Hilton Auckland is a longtime harbourfront favourite (it’s quite literally as close as you can get to Waitemata Harbour) offering an enticing mix of views, comfort and quintessential Hilton service.

Multi-award-winning chef Des Harris is at the helm of signature restaurant FISH.
Multi-award-winning chef Des Harris is at the helm of signature restaurant FISH.

Each room features a contemporary feel and floor-to-ceiling windows giving way to a wrap-around balcony. On the top floor, the expansive King Hilton Bow Suite boasts 270-degree views of the Hauraki Gulf, with an outdoor seating area to help you fully appreciate it.

Stretch out in the spacious King Deluxe Harbour View Room.
Stretch out in the spacious King Deluxe Harbour View Room.

Nautical charm extends through signature restaurant FISH – its menu focuses on local, sustainable produce – while Mediterranean-styled Bellini Bar on the ground floor is a fine choice for pre-dinner drinks as sunset casts the sky above the harbour ablaze.

The Grand by Skycity

Part of the SkyCity entertainment and dining complex, brimming with 14 inviting restaurants and bars, not to mention the SkyTower soaring high above the city, SkyCity Grand is one of those quintessential Auckland hotels. And it’s got a new sibling on the way too.

Hatted restaurant Gusto at The Grand is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Hatted restaurant Gusto at The Grand is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Opening in 2024, Horizon by SkyCity will feature 302-rooms, a restaurant and bar, with access to the exciting SkyCity complex in the form of an elevated glass walkway. In the meantime though, the Grand has plenty to capture your attention.

Perched on levels 15-21, the Grand Deluxe Harbour View Suite enjoys a stunning outlook over Waitemata Harbour.
Perched on levels 15-21, the Grand Deluxe Harbour View Suite enjoys a stunning outlook over Waitemata Harbour.

When you’re not kicking back in one of its 312 rooms and suites, like the gorgeous Grand Deluxe Harbour View Suite, there’s the rejuvenating East Day Spa, along with a 25-metre lap pool, sauna and spa pool. There’s a stellar mix of regular events at the casino too.

Pullman Auckland

Seeking downtown convenience instead? Pullman Auckland is for you. From comfy armchairs in its lobby to an exclusive Pullman Lounge, where evening drinks and canapes are just one of many included perks, it’s got it all. 

Tapestry Bar & Terrace is an ideal spot for casual meetings and evenings drinks.
Tapestry Bar & Terrace is an ideal spot for casual meetings and evenings drinks.

A popular pick among business travellers, it boasts 324 rooms. Among them, cosy 25sqm Superior Rooms to a sprawling 286 sqm Penthouse – all appointed with a spacious workplace, coffee and tea-making facilities and high-speed internet connection.

Those checked into an Executive Room or Suite enjoy complimentary access to the Pullman Lounge.
Those checked into an Executive Room or Suite enjoy complimentary access to the Pullman Lounge.

There’s also a fully stocked fitness centre, plus an inviting pool and a day spa. Circling back to the lobby, this is where you’ll find all-day restaurant Tapestry, which plates up signature dishes like dry-aged beef and market fish crudo, alongside a small yet attractive bar.

The Hotel Britomart

A darling of the Auckland boutique hotel scene, The Hotel Britomart – New Zealand’s only five Green Star hotel – is one of the most exciting additions to the city in recent years. It’s also proof you can never have too much exposed brickwork.

On the top floor, The Rangihoua Suite comes with an outdoor fireplace and wraparound city views.
On the top floor, The Rangihoua Suite comes with an outdoor fireplace and wraparound city views.

Designed by Cheshire Architects, the 99-room hotel is striking in its simplicity, with an emphasis on natural finishes of timber and cotton. Its dining is a drawcard too: Kingi restaurant specialises in freshly caught seafood, complemented by a delicious selection of Kiwi wines.

The exterior of the hotel is clad 150,000 hand-made bricks.
The exterior of the hotel is clad 150,000 hand-made bricks.

Those with a taste for the suite life will find three ‘Landing Suites’ perched on the top floor, in addition to two more in a pavilion constructed on the roof of the adjacent century-old Buckland Building. Breakfast, non-alcoholic minibar and transfers are a few of included perks.

SO/ Auckland

SO/ Auckland is a five star hotel with a passion for fashion and flair. Each of its 130 spacious guest rooms, available in five themes with different layouts and decor, includes bold colours, highly-textured finishes and magnificent views.

The Wine Cellar private dining room is a perfect spot for intimate dinners with up to 8 guests.
The Wine Cellar private dining room is a perfect spot for intimate dinners with up to 8 guests.

On the dining front, there’s Harbour Society, which puts a Kiwi spin on Asian flavours, and Javalab patisserie, where you can pick up sweet treats or caffeinate on the go. When it’s time to hydrate, head up to HI-SO cocktail lounge and enjoy signature cocktails like the J.A.F.E Martini or Tour de Otago.

The exquisite SO/ Lofty room boasts an open plan living, dining and bar area.
The exquisite SO/ Lofty room boasts an open plan living, dining and bar area.

SO/ Spa is ready to help you find your zen with a mix of facial, body and beauty treatments. Or, if you prefer to get the heartrate up, the ‘Soaked’ 20-metre lap pool and SO/ Fit gym – equipped with the latest Life Fitness equipment – will help you stay fit and healthy on the road.

Park Hyatt Auckland

Boasting prime position overlooking Wynyard Quarter’s Lighter Basin, Park Hyatt Auckland is a 195-room powerhouse housing four fabulous restaurants and bars, a sleek 25-metre infinity pool and day spa, plus plenty of nods to the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Traditional woven textiles are featured throughout the hotel's rooms and public spaces.
Traditional woven textiles are featured throughout the hotel's rooms and public spaces.

Beautifully-woven rugs and Tukutuku panels – an intricate Maori latticework traditionally used to decorate meeting houses – adorn its public spaces and guest rooms, in addition to those contemporary fixtures you’d expect of a modern five star hotel.

Park Hyatt Auckland enjoys an impressive outlook over Wynyard Quarter's Lighter Basin to the harbour beyond.
Park Hyatt Auckland enjoys an impressive outlook over Wynyard Quarter's Lighter Basin to the harbour beyond.

Dining is just as impressive, taking the form of Onemata steak and seafood restaurant, all-day eatery in The Living Room, and the Captain’s Bar, servin tapas-style eats and cocktails. You can also pick up grab-and-go bites at The Pantry Café.

Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Another equally enchanting stay is the Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, perched overlooking the shimmering waters of Waitemata Harbour. Though already one of the city’s finest luxury hotels, an extensive 2020 refurb took its glamour up to 11.

Settle in for a drink at the Sofitel Auckland's elegant Lobby Bar.
Settle in for a drink at the Sofitel Auckland's elegant Lobby Bar.

The rooms? They deliver in all the right ways too. The Opera Suite is arguably the hotel’s pièce de résistance, yet all 172 boast welcome features such as deep soaking tubs and rain showers, romantic Juliet balconies, Chromecast televisions and espresso machine.

The Opera Suite affords enviable views across the city.
The Opera Suite affords enviable views across the city.

Restaurant La Marée – French for ‘the tide’ – and Sabrage Champagne Bar will quickly become your go-tos for taste bud-pleasing delights and bottles of bubbly, although Club Millésime executive lounge is also at hand for eligible guests.

Voco Auckland City Centre

Voco Auckland City Centre is the brand’s first foray into New Zealand – and it’s certainly made a splash since its May 2022 debut. Not only does it have a playful style throughout its 201 rooms, but it’s also home to the country’s highest rooftop bar: Bar Albert.

Perched amid the hotel's upper floors, this Harbour View King offers all you need for a relaxed stay.
Perched amid the hotel's upper floors, this Harbour View King offers all you need for a relaxed stay.

Furnished in a moody palette of deep blues and charcoal greys, plus liberal splashes of yellow, the room also boasts a 55” smart TV with Chromecast, cushy sustainable bedding, and a marble bathroom fitted with a rain shower and ‘Antipodes’ organic amenities.

Bar Albert is tailor-made for embracing the view.
Bar Albert is tailor-made for embracing the view.

Located on the 38th floor, the aforementioned bar is a perfect spot to enjoy a smooth single malt or cocktail, particularly in the evenings when the sky blaze into shades of orange and purple. After the sun sets, Mozzarella & Co Italian trattoria should be next on your to-do list.

Of course, once you’ve ticked off Auckland’s highlights, there’s a good chance you’ll want to explore more of Aotearoa.

From the tip of the North Island to bottom of the South, these are some of the best New Zealand luxury hotels and lodges for your hit list.

31 May 2018

Total posts 16

I’m curious to know which of the hotels in the article staff from ET have actually stayed at? While it’s helpful to have the PR info from each hotel in a single article - I’d love to know what the personal experience has been of the author at each of these hotels. 

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2540

Hi s4077786 – if we've stayed at a hotel we will write a full review of that property, this article (and others in the series, for different cities) serves more as a roundup of hotels for the quick reference of readers.

02 Jun 2022

Total posts 8

QT hotel room is disgusting.  the open bathroom concept is dreadful and I hope this absurd fashion is quickly  abandoned and closed bathrooms again become the norm.  


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