Last Friday night I was lucky enough to be invited to experience the facilities at Auckland’s five-star Skycity Grand Hotel. The Sky Grand is centrally located on the corner of Wellesley and Federal Street in central Auckland. For those of you not familiar with Auckland and perhaps driving from Auckland Airport the hotel is well signposted – simply follow signs for Skycity/Sky Tower as you exit the motorway off Nelson Street, a 30 – 45 minute drive dependent on traffic from Auckland’s International Airport. There is ample parking at the hotel which is clearly marked. Parking is shared with The Grand Hotel, Sky City Hotel, and entertainment complex. Remember to have your car park ticket validated for reduced parking fees. On the other hand you can do as I did and take advantage of valet parking at a cost of NZ$30.00 simply pull into the front of the hotel and hand the lovely door men your keys, they will take care of your vehicle and hand you a ticket for the return.
As a returning guest of the Skycity Grand Hotel we were warmly welcomed with a “Welcome Back Mr & Mrs Campbell”, check in was quick and smooth, as with most hotels they do require an imprint of a major credit card. Our room was on the 21st floor, right at the very top with amazing views over Auckland’s harbour and across to Rangitoto Island (Aucklands iconic volcanic Island) and beyond. The room its self was tastefully decorated in soft browns and reds, there was a self-contained modern kitchen area with tea and coffee making facilities, a lounge area, king size bed and luxurious bathroom with both bath and shower. Facilities included a mini bar, East Day spa products in the bathroom, hair dryer, robes and slippers, plasma TV including cable TV (Sky TV), and broadband access. Wi-Fi is available free of charge in the lobby and in the guest rooms there are Wi-Fi plans available for purchase, from a 24 hour plan at $14.99 to one week at $79.00 as of February 2012.
Preparing for an evening ahead and making full use of the facilities in the room, I soaked in a hot bath with the luxurious products available from the hotels own Resident health Spa ‘East Day Spa’, enjoyed a chilled glass of Moët et Chandon and of course the complimentary chocolates whilst relaxing in front of the stunning Auckland views.
So for dinner, the Sky Grand is certainly not short of choice for fine dining restaurants and eateries. Among the ones we recommend are ‘Dine’ by Peter Gordon, an elegant award winning restaurant on the 3rd floor next to the hotel bar and reception, which also offers a private dining room. The newly opened ‘The Grill’ by Sean Connolly is a simple yet sophisticated dining experience found at the front of the hotel on the street side. There is also ‘Bellota’ a Spanish tapas style bar across the street from the hotel, and our choice for the evening the ‘Depot Eatery‘ a fast paced vibrant eatery and oyster bar by award winning chef, writer and television personality Al Brown. Located a 2 minute walk from the hotel reception on Federal Street, the philosophy here is good wine, good company and scrumptious sharing platters. We were greeted and given a tab card then showed to a pavement table where we chose from the wine list and ordered a platter of oysters to enjoy whilst we waited for a table. Our choice of main course was slow cooked pork hock and milk fed veal, the pork hock was certainly a winner! There was a slight mix up over our order and the staff quickly apologised and offered yet more oysters by the way of an apology. Overall impressions are plenty of energy, professional staff, excellent food (with particular mention of the oysters and boutique NZ beers) & drinks list and not overly formal which suited us well for the evening.
Adjoining The Depot is The Hummingbird bar, with pavement tables, a private function room and fire side sofas. A quick night cap here before we headed back to The Grand Hotel. We also took a quick peak inside the entertainment centre which is easily reached via the Sky bridge on the other side of Federal Street, operating 24/7. We did have a quick flutter but decided it wise to hang on to our purse and retire to our room for the evening.
Breakfast the next morning is served in the terrace restaurant with both inside and roof top seating options. The coffee was good and strong just what was required! and food was in abundance from, fresh fruit, smoked salmon, fully cooked breakfasts with bacon, sausages and eggs any style, patisserie items along and many more options.
For those of you with more time the hotel also offers a 25 meter heated lap pool, gymnasium and The East Day Spa on site. All in all we had a great time at Skycity Grand and would recommend it.
Kay Campbell is a luxury travel consultant for Luxury Adventures. Talk to us about planning your next visit to New Zealand, Australia or the South Pacific Islands.