1010 Travel Guide
Since New Zealand is really, really, really far away, one of the best ways to beat jet-lag is to head to the spa to work out your sore and fatigued muscles. Not surprisingly, this Sofitel's SoSpa has developed a massage specifically for weary travelers.
Before we get into the serenity of the treatment, we should let you know that the Sofitel's spas are re-branding to SoSpa as an extension of the luxurious and trendy brand, Sofitel So. (Coincidentally, Auckland will get its own Sofitel So hotel next year.) But in the meantime, the Sofitel Viaduct Harbour is still Auckland's first SoSpa and better yet, it still has the new-spa smell since it opened its doors just a few months back.
Tucked away in a back corner of the hotel and utilizing two floors, the spa is a the center of all things rejuvenation with cool blue colors, dark woods and Kiwi design elements. Upon check-in guests are greeted and allowed to change in separate change-rooms then treated to some fruit-infused mineral water. After a few sips, we also got to choose the scented essential oil that we would tickle our olfactory glands during the massage.
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Harbor-side rooms and plush rooms at Sofitel Viaduct Harbour; a HotelChatter Review
Spending a few days in Auckland sounds like a dream, but once you start to look at hotel options, you might get a little discouraged since the city doesn't have much selection. With limited international hotel brands that we can trust, we settled on Sofitel Viaduct Harbour but didn't expect some harbor living during our visit.
After a winding trip through the sleepy streets of the city's entertainment district, we finally make it to a mid-rise building situated directly on the inner-harbour surrounded by yachts and sailboat masts. With a sleek, tiled lobby that featured a handful of reflection pools, we struggled to be anything but awed by the framed view of the private mooring docks beyond the lobby. Then after a speedy check-in process, we were off to our room.
We've already dreamed about life in the palace once this month, so why not dream again? This time, we have our eyes set on RItz-Carlton Vienna, which opens today on Schubertring Boulevard inside "an elegant building composed of four historic palaces dating back to the 19th century."
That's four more palaces than most hotels tend to offer!
Aside from the building's history, a few other components about the hotel have also got us excited: like the rooftop bar (Atmosphere), the six-room Guerlain Spa, a seventh-floor Club Lounge overlooking Vienna from below the eaves of the palace, and an 18-meter indoor pool that plays underwater music.
Each year, Vienna hosts one of the largest and most extravagant HIV/AIDS fundraisers in the world: the Life Ball. And for those in the know, the come-one, come-all free Fashion Show held at City Hall Square is considered to be the pinnacle of the whole she-bang. Nowhere else will you see the who’s who of haute couture mixing with such an enthusiastic crowd of costume-wearers. (Can’t quite wedge these six-foot angel wings out of this revolving door...)
However if, like us, your tootsies are just too tired to make that final trek to the ball at the end of a jam-packed day, spend the evening at Le Moët Bar in Vienna’s Le Méridien Hotel. Sink into a slinky chair, order a glass of champagne (what else?) and prepare for the show.
Oh what a difference a year makes!
Remember when Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts suddenly dumped its plans to open a new hotel in Vienna, Austria? Amidst reports of opening delays, and even worse, shoddy construction quality, the property was removed from the group's expansion plans in Europe in February of 2011.
By summertime the hotel was looking forlorn and desperately in search of a new brand to put its name on the door. We even went so far to say we could probably rule out the likes of Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton to come and snap it up.
How wrong we were!
All this week, HotelChatter contributor Eric Rosen takes us on a tour of New Zealand’s hotel scene.
So far in our mini hotel tour of Auckland we’ve taken you to the Langham, where we stayed, and over to the Hilton, where we popped in for an impromptu tour one day. Now we’re going to take you to the newest of the city’s upscale chain hotels, the Westin Auckland Lighter Quay.
We had to settle for another quick guerrilla tour of this harborfront property because we weren’t actually staying there, and couldn’t take any photos inside. But we did manage to get a good look around and thought it was worth mentioning here anyway. And if you really need the visual aids, you can check out our Flickr shots of the hotel here.
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If you’re anything like us, the first thing you want to do after a transatlantic flight is to wash all the grit and grime of airports and planes off your fatigued body. That’s why, for the first installment in our Austria-Germany Field Trip guide, we’ve decided to tell you all about the fabulous showers at Le Meridien Vienna, the first stop on our trip.