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Inside Wellington's Museum Hotel

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  Site Where: 90 Cable Street, Te Aro, Wellington, New Zealand, 6011
January 13, 2011 at 9:16 AM | by | ()

All this week, HotelChatter contributor Eric Rosen takes us on a tour of New Zealand’s hotel scene.

Today on our New Zealand hotel scene roundup, we take you to the nation’s capital, Wellington, or “Windy Welly” as the locals call it thanks to its typically blustery weather, to show you around our room at the city’s Museum Hotel.

Wellington is about one tenth the size of Auckland, but we were still white-knuckling it as we drove along the busy one-way streets all the way to the harbor-front where we found the austere, black façade of the hotel across from one of the country’s most visited museums, Te Papa. Aha, so that’s where the hotel’s name comes from!

We parked the car in the hotel’s little lot ($20 NZD a day, by the way) then made our way into the eccentrically decorated lobby—think diaphanous curtains on the walls, plush, patterned carpets, various parlor-like sitting areas, and contemporary works of New Zealand art in huge gilded frames, as well as a small work area with two computers connected to the internet and a printer, both of which are free for guests, and where’ there’s also free coffee and tea.

The hotel has 165 rooms, studios and suites. We got a Chaffers Studio room—a sort of residential hotel studio apartment—in the Residential Tower away from the harbor (the one closer to the harbor has just hotel rooms), though we still got a good view of Te Papa and a marina.

It had a kitchenette with a stove, oven, big mini fridge (we realize that’s an oxymoron, but you know what we mean), sink, and even a washer-dryer unit. The king-size bed has pretty spare furnishings, but was comfortable, and anyway, we spent most of our waking time in the room either at the desk (with moderately priced $12 NZD per day WiFi), or watching the 42-inch flat-screen TV with movie channels and international newson the cushy chaise lounge by the window.

Plus, we liked the gold-leaf-y retro wallpaper above the headboard that reminded us of a Boca Raton grandma’s condo in the late ’70’s. In a good way.

The bathroom was as spacious as the main room itself with a large vanity area, a huge soaking tub, and an adjacent but separate shower with rain and hand-held shower heads. We also liked the 100% vegetable-based Natural Earth Manuka honey and Harakeke oil bath products.

Meanwhile the hotel’s whimsically named Hippopotamus Restaurant, has been garnering a bit of buzz thanks to French-inspired big-ticket menu items like chilled rockmelon soup with Parma ham, crème fraiche, Roquefort and Port cube ($23 NZD); and free range roast pork with cinnamon apple puree, onion marmalade and twice-cooked apple filled with Armagnac prunes ($38 NZD).

Rates at the Museum Hotel in January start at $182 NZD ($138 USD).

Full disclosure: Eric Rosen was a guest of the Museum Hotel for two nights, but all opinions expressed here are completely his own.

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