HOTELS: Auckland Park Hyatt opens at last
This waterside hotel in New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland has delayed its opening day, time and time again. It’s now open (as of 15 September) with its engaging views across Wynyard Quarter’s Lighter Basin and out to the Waitematā Harbour.
Unfortunately it is also opening to a New Zealand international travel ban, caused by COVID-19. On the upside, New Zealand now has so few cases, after an initial extreme lock down, that life is basically back to normal on the land of the long white cloud.
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Announced in 2014 for a scheduled opening in 2017, the hotel suffered a range of unspecified delays. Finally, in September 2019, it announced it was accepting bookings as from March 2020. After that announcement, there were more delays, with the hotel blaming COVID-19 for a further holdup to a newly proposed opening of June 2020. In a note to those who had bookings, the hotel noted the uncertainty around opening but:
. . . however we are confident to accept reservations from September 2020 onwards.
With its opening this week, it has honoured that promise.
Hotel rooms and facilities
The hotel comprises 195 guest rooms, including 23 suites. The Presidential suite at the top of the 7 floor hotel is 245 sqm with an internal garden and 125 sqm terrace.
There will be 3 dining options available in the hotel, from the fine dining Onemata boasting the usual adjectives of ‘local’, ‘artisanal’, and ‘seasonal’ applying to the ingredients and suppliers, through to the all day dining The Living Room and the grab-and-go The Pantry. There is also the Captains Bar, that serves snacks and sharing platters as well as drinks.
For events, there is 9,500 sqm of flexible space including meeting rooms, gardens and the rooftop bar Waka.
Recreation facilities include a spa, a 25 metre infinity pool and a fitness centre.
Booking the hotel
Presuming you are currently in, or can get to New Zealand at the moment, here are the rates for 28 September, for a standard King Room of 47 sqm (or 505 sqf) in Australian dollars (1 US$ = approx AU$ 1.37 or NZ$1.47):
If you are booking a room before the end of October for a stay anytime before December 31 then you will get a NZ ( US) credit per night to spend on site together with a room upgrade to the next room category which for a King room should be a room with a view:
These sound on the expensive side, and you can get 5 star rates for around the AU$200 mark for boutique properties. However, it looks like Accor have pulled out of the market at the moment with the Sofitel and SO/ brands in Auckland closed.
Booking with Points
If you are a Hyatt member, then for a points bookings, it is classed as Category 5, requiring 20,000 Hyatt points per night for a standard room, 40,000 points for a Harbour Suite of 71 sqm, or a combination of 10,000 points and AU$206 of cash for a standard King room:
I wandered past this hotel when in Auckland during May 2019, and from the exterior, it could well have been open. On the surface it looked close to completion. During that trip I stayed in the CBD at the SO/ Auckland.
Although this looks like a great Park Hyatt product, it is located adjacent to the CBD rather than in it, or like the Hilton, on the harbour directly in front of the city. I think it will be more attractive to cruise passengers and holiday makers rather than business people, which I would have thought were likely to be its bread and butter.
Hyatt has been in and out of the Auckland market. It ran a Hyatt Regency there back in 2010 when I stayed. Not the greatest hotel, but reasonable at NZ$155. The hotel is now part of the Accor family as the Pullman Auckland Hotel and Apartments (which is open). A superior room currently goes for NZ$239 (AU$220).
It’s good to see Hyatt Hotels back in the market, joining a great selection of superior hotels in the city, including chains such as the SO/ Auckland (currently closed), a Sofitel on Viaduct Harbour (currently closed), and a Hilton (open). In the more boutique style are also the Hotel DeBrett, Hotel Grand Windsor and the Great Ponsonby Arthotel.
I would love to return to Auckland to review the Park Hyatt, but there is this small issue of a travel ban!
Damn you COVID-19!