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Auckland - Hilton Auckland

New Zealand, that mystical far-flung twin-island in the Southern waters of the South Pacific, has always held an air of charm, magic, and mystery to even the most intrepid of travelers. By its pure geography, it is not a place that alone, one stops by or connects through. New Zealand, as an international destination, requires a certain commitment, and its history is steeped in that same sense of adventure. Originally a British colonial settlement discovered by a division of its well-traveled fleet in the middle of the nineteenth century, it is now the capital hub of a gorgeous island nation that is increasingly drawing more and more people to see its incredible landscapes, culture, and architecture. As far as accommodations in Auckland go, no hotel stands out quite like the Hilton, a two-tower, nautically themed architectural masterpiece located at the end of Prince’s Wharf, offering guests incredible views of Auckland’s inner harbour. As a home base for exploring this amazing city, or as a taking off point to some of the terrific remote destinations on both islands, the Hilton is your best quarters for your stay in the ‘City of Sails,’ so named for the ubiquitous presence of yacht that bob about in the twin harbours and out to the adjoining Hauraki Gulf.

With 166 rooms including six suites in this contemporary, boutique-style hotel, accommodations are ultra-chic and extravagantly stylish. Clean lines and sharp, neutral colours dominate the design of the room. White linens preserve the nautical theme, while custom woven carpets and local timber finishes on furnishings are well-accented by the broad windows that lead out to a private balcony. Along with office facilities that include data ports and high-speed internet connection, in-room safe, and satellite television with pay movies, rooms here at the Auckland Hilton are equal parts stylish bedroom, casual lounge, and home office. With the salty breeze, and the sounds of the sea and the bustle of downtown off your private porch, it’s like living abroad in a stunning loft-style apartment. The Junior suites on the lower floors, uniquely triangular in shape, look as though they belong in an Architectural Digest feature, with an adjacent parlour and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto the Auckland harbour.

With such attention paid to pure and simple elegance, it is no surprise that the ethos of the Hilton’s award-winning White restaurant follows these same clean design policies. Architect Dan Kwan of Tribeca, a prestigious design firm based out of Singapore, has called White its own blank canvas. It is the patrons, and the culinary creations of Executive Chef Geoff Scott, who has taken his classical training and adapted it to highlight the fresh simplicity of local New Zealand ingredients, which paint the blank slate for the night. With the broad windows, clean lines, bright natural lighting, and the ever-changing hue of the sea, White can appear almost unrecognizable to a guest from one night to the next. Anchors of style include the white marble-clad floors, the timber accents, and the striking six metre-long white alabaster marble Long Table that defines the room, often seating couples and singles who might wish to mix, or larger groups.

While the fare and the crowd changes, the style of the room and the quality of cuisine is a mainstay. A perfectly pan-seared salmon fillet rests atop a warm and rich tomato, olive, and cucumber salad in one dish, while char-grilled quail is amazingly lifted by pink grapefruit, cranberries, and a rose geranium honey salad. Pastas on the diverse menu are especially good, among them the field mushroom linguini with sharp, fresh watercress, coriander, and parsley pesto. Desserts get the same attention as the savoury – brown sugar pavlova and grilled pineapple are decadent standouts. Staff are both attentive, cordial, and smartly dressed, in crisp white jackets, testament to the all-inclusive excellence of a restaurant twice named New Zealand’s best in the past three years. The same model of success comes out in Bellini's Bar as well, the Kwan-designed cocktail lounge that has become one of the hottest nightspots in Auckland. With views of the Waitemata Harbour that are unparalleled, Auckland’s most prominent professionals and international visitors congregate here to enjoy one of nine different martinis, nearly 30 different brands of vodka and single malt whisky, and of course the eponymous signature drink: champagne and peaches, made famous long ago by Guiseppe Cipriani, founder and owner of the old Harry’s Bar in Venice.

The Auckland Hilton’s recreational amenities may be limited (though the pool and fitness facility are state-of-the-art), but Auckland is not the place to be holed up indoors at the gym. Jogging along the Auckland boardwalk, or merely wandering through the nearby America’s Cup Village, are far more interesting ways to pass the time, and beyond the city borders are a variety of exciting options for the intrepid traveler. Take a hike or bike through the surrounding foothills, or merely wander casually through the colourful cosmopolitan streets of this intriguing metropolis. Once you make it to the other side of the world, beauty is its own reward.

Where to Stay

Hilton Auckland - Princes Wharf, 147 Quay Street, Auckland, NZ - Tel: +64-9-9782000 Fax: +64-9-9782001 - 

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