New Zealand's first Park Hyatt is an imposing, seven-storey waterfront property in Auckland's Wynyard Quarter that opened in September 2020. Expect all the usual five-star trappings, including four restaurants and bars, a 24-hour fitness centre, a 25-metre outdoor infinity pool and a lavish spa with a Himalayan salt sauna, steam room and hydrotherapy area.
Thanks to its prime harbourside position on the western side of Auckland's Viaduct Basin, the hotel enjoys mesmerising harbour and city skyline views. It's a surprisingly tranquil setting that's only a short walk from the CBD.
After being greeted by an impressive wooden carving of a traditional Maori waka (canoe), guests are ushered into a soaring atrium that's dominated by a striking 11-metre-wide blue-and-green painting by NZ artist Peata Larkin. A revolving display of local artworks line the ground-floor hallways and there's a trio of woven tukutuku panels (a traditional Maori latticework) behind reception. While undoubtedly dramatic, the space feels a little echoey and soulless, particularly for a brand that normally opts for a more intimate, high-end residential feel.
Normal service is resumed in the 195 rooms and suites, which are unusually spacious (rooms start at 47 square metres) and elegantly furnished with colourful rugs, red and white tukutuku panels and a coma-inducing king-sized bed. Bathrooms are swathed in white marble with twin vanities, large rain showers and gorgeous standalone egg-shaped bathtubs, while toiletries are by upmarket French perfumer La Labo. Upgrade to a harbour view balcony room and you'll also get a covered 10-square-metre terrace and show-stopping harbour and city vistas.
The hotel's four restaurants and bars all have outdoor terraces to entice locals as well as guests. Onemata (meaning "rich, fertile soil") is the property's flagship eatery, a vibrant space with harbour views and an open kitchen that showcases sustainably-sourced NZ produce via a menu that's broken down by supplier. Next door is The Living Room, a more relaxed all-day lounge with comfy couches and inviting fireplaces that serves a decadent five-course afternoon tea. There's also The Pantry, a refreshingly affordable cafe for a five-star hotel (the burger and beer special is only $NZ25), plus the Captain's Bar, an intimate, wood-panelled drinking den with a roaring fire and an impressive selection of 60 rums. The dining highlight? A 55-day aged Mataura scotch steak, cooked to perfection in Onemata's large open hearth.
Where to start? The ASB Waterfront Theatre, home of the Auckland Theatre Company, is opposite the hotel. Wynyard Quarter has a plethora of upmarket bars and restaurants, as has the revitalised Britomart precinct and the swanky new Commercial Bay shopping centre (both an easy 15-minute walk). You'll find all the usual retail suspects on Queen Street in the CBD and nearby SkyCity has two impressive new attractions – Weta Workshop Unleashed and the All Blacks Experience. A popular morning constitutional is to do a lap of Viaduct Basin, however, I'd also recommend a sunset stroll along the illuminated waterfront path that leads to Auckland Harbour Bridge for stellar city views.
Exactly the sort of polished offering you'd expect from Park Hyatt. An appropriately upscale property with all the five-star bells and whistles that makes a concerted effort to showcase the city and its culture.
99 Halsey Street, Auckland, New Zealand. Overnight rates from $NZ328. Phone: +64 9 366 1234, see hyatt.com
The Glacial Clay Signature Spa Experience – a divine scrub, wrap and scalp massage using native ingredients.
A series of service mishaps that are more three-star than five.
Rob McFarland was a guest of Park Hyatt Auckland.