Immediately after swiping our keycard, we were greeted by the same view from the lobby from the private docks of the neighboring apartment building. Floor-to-ceiling windows poured heaps of light into a well-designed junior suite wrapped around the corner of the building. An oddly placed sofa overlooked the mini-lock linking the main harbor with the private docks, but the tall fabric headboard on the bed made the room comfy, yet contemporary and thoughtful with a play on textures.
A good-sized black glass cabinet featuring the mini-bar and lipstick-red espresso machine was a nice feature that allowed for a better use of the space.
Sofitel doesn't mess around with their amenities for their suites since we were treated with forest green bottles of Hermès shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body lotion scented with eau d'orange vert. A little high-fashion label goes a long way and bottles were replenished with every housekeeping service.
We're Le Club loyalty program members and do not hold any high level of status, but just by being a member, guests get free Wifi in their room and throughout the hotel. If you don't have a chance to sign-up before checking in, you would need $30 NZD for three days of connection.
Guests can't go hungry or thirsty while staying at this Sofitel. Lava, the main restaurant features daily breakfast buffet along with an eclectic continental menu with a French and Kiwi flair. If a formal sit-down brekkie is not your thing, 21 Viaduct Cafe is a cute little coffee shop serving up pastries and sandwiches for the grab-n-go set. Sabrage Bar is the local place for cocktails and bubbles. And when you order a certain champagne bottle, they will open it with a saber.
Location, Location, Location
Situated in the heart of restaurants, bars and a few shops, this is a fantastic location. Since the city is not super big, most everything is walking distance with the waterfront, a main feature of the city, being just steps away from the hotel.
What We Liked
The use of the surrounding water was a great feature that was not only unique, but calming and really relaxing. The design was very comfy and reminded us of a high-rise New York apartment mixed with the serenity of boat-living.
Sofitel recently started to re-brand their spas with their trend Sofitel SoSpa label. Along with freshly painted rooms and modern design, the basement oasis is a perfect way to escape everyday stresses. (We'll have more on the spa later.)
What We Didn't Like
The service was very good everywhere except with the bellmen and at Sabrage. It was almost as if we felt like we were inconveniencing the staff with questions or a drink.
Our rate started at $329 NZD per night and while it was a bit on the pricey side, we have to say it was very comfortable worth the price. The excellent location and waterfront property made for a unique experience that we would recommend Auckland visitors to check out.
[All photos: HotelChatter]