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Auckland doesn’t have many points properties, but the Hilton Auckland is a great option that’s right on the harbor. The pros: centrally located, nautical decor and incredible balcony. The cons: relatively small rooms and an entrance that was hard to find.
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: The Platinum Card® from American Express
A few months ago, I was able to take advantage of an unbelievable mistake fare from San Francisco (SFO) to Auckland (AKL), where I paid just $361 for the round-trip ticket — with a deal like that, how could I not jump at the opportunity?! But I also had to find a place to stay, so I decided to make the most of my time in the city by staying at a couple of different properties — stay tuned for full reviews of the others, coming soon to TPG.
The Hilton is one of the only points-hotels in Auckland, which was kind of surprising to hear when I first started looking at places to say. I ended up booking my one-night stay at the property during a Hilton sale and the total came to 334 NZD (~$240). It’s a Category 7 Hilton hotel requiring 30,000 – 60,000 Honors points for a free night, so based on TPG’s most recent valuations, I came out ahead by paying in cash rather than redeeming points since it would have otherwise cost me 50,000 Honors points per night. I used my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which allowed me to earn 2x points on travel and came with trip insurance just in case anything strange were to happen on my trip.
The Hilton Auckland is located right along the water on Princes Wharf, making it an ideal location and putting you within walking distance of many of the city’s major attractions. Although I was there during the wintertime, there were still plenty of things to see and do there. It’s a very modern-looking building, with a chic-looking white façade. When you’re looking at the city skyline from the water, the Hilton stands out — in a good way.
It should be noted, though, that finding the entrance to the hotel can be a little confusing since there’s a series of office buildings located right next to it and the exteriors of all the nearby buildings look the same. It took me about 10 minutes to walk around the complex in order to find the entrance, which, as it turns out, is located in the center part that’s closest to the water. It would be helpful if there were more signs around to help direct guests toward the lobby.
The chic and modern feel of the property continued inside the building, but with a nautical twist. Wooden floors lined the lobby, and there was made it feel like you were on the water, especially with all the rope finishings.
The lobby felt very welcoming, and flowed almost seamlessly into a seating and bar area. As one would assume from looking at the Hilton from the outside, there’s plenty of natural light in the lobby thanks to its many floor-to-ceiling windows along the water-facing ground level.
The check-in process went very smoothly. I had originally booked a Twin Deluxe Harbor View room but was upgraded to a Deluxe Harbor View room — because I’m an Amex Platinum cardholder, I received complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status, which can be especially valuable for scoring upgrades like this.
While Hilton properties aren’t typically known for their over-the-top amenities or stylish decor, my stay at the Hilton Auckland proved that to be false. My room was delightful and there was a ton of natural light, which I’m a huge fan of. The color scheme kept with the hotel’s overall nautical theme, which was fitting considering I could see the water from every window.
I received a welcome letter from the hotel manager, as well as two drink coupons to use at the Bellini Bar in the lobby.
The corner room was rather snug, but still pretty spacious compared to other places I’ve stayed in Auckland. As you can see from the picture below, the light was plentiful, streaming in from behind the couch as well as in front of it. I was visiting during New Zealand’s wintertime, so I can only imagine how nice this room would be during the sunnier summer months.
Across from the couch was a TV, which was mounted to the wall to conserve space, as well as a chest that contained the room’s mini-bar and snacks. The set-up was very space-saving, and I liked the decor and overall feel of the room.
Next to the mini-bar chest and up against the balcony was a small desk, the perfect place to get some work done — the views looking out over the harbor were pretty nice, too.
Although unassuming from the outside, the inside of the chest was well-stocked.
There was also a small selection of snacks available in the drawers, which I thought was pretty generous.
The king-size bed itself was very comfortable. The floor-to ceiling windows around the room were one of my favorite parts of staying here — it was amazing to wake up to the sight of boats rolling in through the harbor.
The highlight of the room was easily the balcony, which wrapped around to the other side since I was in a corner room. Directly outside the door was a table and set of chairs, so I ordered room service and had my meal outside. You really can’t beat watching the harbor from six stories up.
Just to the left, I could see the quaint suburb of Devonport, while in the distance were the mountainous landscapes of Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands. To the right was a nice view of downtown Auckland.
I loved waking up to this view every morning. The ferry terminal is located on the pier next to the Hilton, so if you’re looking to take a day trip outside the city center, it’s only a five-minute walk away.
Back inside the room, the bathroom was lovely, although a little on the smaller side.
One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to hotel bathrooms is when the vanity space isn’t large enough to place your belongings, so I thought this large amount of counter space was perfect.
The hotel offered Peter Thomas Roth shampoo, conditioner, and body wash products.
The bathtub was located next to the vanity area. It was pretty big, and the tiles here contrasted nicely with the ones by the toilet and shower, so it was a nice way to break up the bathroom. I didn’t use the tub during my one-night stay, but it was nice to have the option.
Overall, the room was delightful and I left the hotel (and Auckland) wishing that I’d had more time to spend here. From the right amount of amenities to my fabulous corner room balcony, this was the perfect option for an Auckland visit.
Food and Other Amenities
Because I was only staying here for one night, I chose to test out the kitchen by ordering room service. The menu was fairly standard and I ended up ordering the fish and chips, which was served with a (very, very small) side salad. The fish tasted pretty fresh and the fries were tasty as well. I also cashed in my complimentary drink coupons at the Bellini Bar in the lobby.
My experience with the staff was fantastic as well. Everyone I encountered — from the front desk agent to the room service and bar staff — was incredibly welcoming. Usually interactions with hotel employees can make or break a stay, and in this case, their friendliness only added to my great experience at the property.
By the end of my one-night stay, I found myself wishing I’d had more time to stay here. I was a big fan of the overall aesthetic of this hotel, from the flashy, white exterior of the building to the nautical-themed decor inside, there’s a lot to like. During the warmer months, there’s also a lovely pool that overlooks the harbor. I’m already looking forward to staying here on my next visit to Auckland.
Have you ever stayed at the Hilton Auckland? Tell us about your experience, below.
All photos courtesy of the author.
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