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Hilton Hotel swimming pool, Auckland, New Zealand
The Hilton, Auckland

It’s so refreshing to combine elegance and style with detailed attention to the needs of the business traveller. Add to that a suite that makes you feel like you’re in the captain’s suite on a luxury cruise ship, and a pool that sets your spirit floating across the bay, and you’ve got the makings of a vacation masquerading as a business trip.

Text Denise Hummel
Photography Courtesy the Hilton, Auckland

I wanted to see the Hilton Auckland after their suite refurbishment and it was well worth the visit. The popular Bow Suites, so named because they are shaped like the bow of a ship, overlooking the Waitemata Harbour, have had quite the face lift.

The interior, designed by Catherine Stormont of HBO&EMTD, is contemporary in feel, blending in with the overall design of the hotel, which has been dubbed the ‘New Hilton’, in its embrace of sleek lines and minimalist décor, interspersed with traditional Maori artistic accents. There is a sense of being in the presidential cabin of a luxury international cruise liner and its proximity to the harbor, with cruise ships arriving and departing below your terrace, adds to that feeling. Furnishings and fabrics are muted tones, ‘decked’ out with Italian leather furniture.

The Presidential Suite has two plasma televisions, dining for four, a work desk and credenza, a chaise and side table over-looking the wrap-around deck, wrap-around couch with chaise angle, an outdoor lounge area and eating area, huge bathroom with separate bath, rain shower and toilet, floor to ceiling glass doors with water views from every single angle, electronic shades and wispy white transparent curtains to mute the sun’s rays, but allow in the reflections of the sea.

The artists of the glass sculpture and vases, that graced my room, included locals Simon Kaan, Graham Fletcher and Heather Straka. Part of the upgrade included the concept that every space should have a touch of authenticity. Amenities have also been upgraded to the Crabtree & Evelyn ‘La Source’ range, an improvement over past choices.

Hilton Auckland stands 300 meters from the city center, adjacent to the Viaduct Harbour. It was officially opened by the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, in June 2001 and is situated on the northeast corner of Princes Wharf. There are 160 deluxe rooms and six suites. Not a ‘small’ hotel, but it does have the feel of a boutique hotel. In 2005 it was named the Top New Zealand CBD Hotel of the Year.

White Restaurant and Bellini, the lobby lounge bar, have been created by Dan Kwan of Tribeca, the design firm based in Singapore. His intent was to provide an environment that would be a white canvas for Executive Chef Bernard Bernabe to paint his culinary palette, and to create a minimalist setting for the hues of blue and green of the bay reflecting through the floor to ceiling windows.

Bernard Bernabe, even the name is a mouthful, was born in the Philippines. His family immigrated to New Zealand when he was nine years old. Now, at the ripe age of 28, he was the driving force behind the award-winning team when White was honored with the Restaurant of the Year award in 2004.

General Manager, John Ingram, is a soft-spoken gentle man with a lot to say. He treated me to details about the local cultural community and life in Auckland, as well as emphasising his intention for the global hospitality community to see this Hilton in its rightful light – a ‘new Hilton’ as he called it. With 160 deluxe rooms and six suites, one can hardly call this a boutique hotel, yet I agree with him that it has that feel. Staff members are very professional and welcoming, food is superb and the atmosphere modern and light.

My favorite feature of the hotel is a glass-fronted swimming pool that juts out in such a way, that as you swim with goggles under water, you have the illusion of swimming out to sea.

Hilton Hotel Presidential bedroom, Auckland, New Zealand
Hilton Hotel, The White Restaurant, Auckland, New Zealand Hilton Hotel Bow suite, Auckland, New Zealand Hilton Hotel Presidential lounge, Auckland, New Zealand

Style Modern

Setting Harbour Wharf

Why you'll appreciate it Unsurpassed luxury and elegance with views you could be paying triple for

Good to know The restaurant is world-class and not to be missed

Business Facilities:

Type of Internet Connection
Hardwire and wireless in the room
Number of in-room phone lines
Type of Desk Space
Very ample, especially in the suites
Fax Machine
Multiple options, including an in-room fax on request
Printing Facilities
Nearby in the local community and on-site upon request

Address Princes Wharf, 147 Quay Street, Auckland, New Zealand 1010

How to Get There
Follow the George Bolt Memorial Drive onto the motorway and head towards the city. Take the Hillsborough turn-off and turn right onto Manukau Road. Continue until you reach Newmarket. At the lights, turn left and drive to the end of the street. Turn right at the lights into Gillies Avenue and back onto the motorway. Travel north and take the Nelson Street exit. Follow Nelson Street to the end and turn left into Quay Street. Princes Wharf is in front of you, with the Hilton Auckland hotel.

Hilton Hotel, Auckland, New Zealand