Hotel Review: A Deluxe Room at the Langham Auckland
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To The Point
The Langham Auckland could really use some TLC, but still makes a great base for exploring this vibrant New Zealand city. The Pros: cool amenities, tasty food and you can score extra perks by booking your stay through Amex FHR. The Cons: small rooms and dated interiors.
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After I’d secured an unbelievable fare from San Francisco (SFO) to Auckland (AKL) for just $361, I started looking around for places to stay. I wanted to maximize my time in there by checking out as many of the city’s hotels as possible, so in the end, I tried out the Hilton Auckland, Stamford Plaza Auckland, Crowne Plaza Auckland and the Langham Auckland.
I’d heard of Langham hotels before, but never actually stayed in one. While the chain has a loyalty program, it’s not a transfer partner of any of the major credit card point programs — Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards or Citi ThankYou — however, many of them are listed in the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program, which is how I stumbled upon its Auckland property.
Given my limited time in the city and my desire to explore as many of its hotels as possible, I booked a one-night stay at the Langham Auckland through Amex FHR. My rate for the one night was $349 NZD (~$245 at the time), and I used my Platinum Card from American Express so I’d be able to take advantage of the program’s perks. Since I was booking my stay through Amex FHR, I was given noon check-in, a room upgrade upon arrival (based on availability), daily breakfast for two, guaranteed 4:00pm late check-out, complimentary Wi-Fi and a unique property amenity of $100 credit. For me, having access to these benefits saved me about $160 and was worth more than if I had booked the one-night stay with another travel credit card, such as the Citi Prestige, which gives you 3x points on hotels, or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which gives you 3x points on travel.
Check-In and Lobby
I was pretty shocked by how large the hotel was — there are 411 rooms and I wouldn’t say it’s the most visually appealing building from the outside, but it’s definitely larger than a lot of the other structures around it. The Langham is located on the border of Grafton, which is technically a suburb of the city, and downtown Auckland, about a mile from the waterfront.
Of the four hotels I stayed at in Auckland, the Langham was the one that felt the most luxurious — not a posh, modern type of luxe, but rather an older, classic style. I felt it immediately when I walked through the front doors and was greeted by this stunning chandelier.
The lobby has an open, airy feel to it. With just the chandelier and a small table in the center of the room, there’s plenty of room to walk around, even during busy check-in times. To the left of the front desk, the lobby extends up a small set of stairs to a bar and lounge area. Overall, the lobby is a welcoming, opulent area and was a great start to my stay.
There’s also a large sitting area near the bar and lounge, a room that’s accented with gold, but not too overwhelming. The highlight of the space is the elegant chandelier, which illuminates the room very nicely.
The check-in process went smoothly and the front-desk agent was friendly. Because I’d booked my stay through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, I was entitled to a room upgrade upon arrival if one was available, and sure enough, I was bumped up from a Superior Room to a Deluxe Room on the eighth floor.
When I first walked into the Deluxe Room, I was taken aback by how small it was — a tight squeeze to even walk in and put bags down for my travel companion and myself. According to the hotel, each of the rooms is about 300 square feet, and mine came with a king-size bed.
One of the other things I noticed almost immediately was how dated the furnishings were. There were so many accents around the room that made me feel as though I’d been transported back in time that I almost questioned where I was — or, more accurately, when I was. Whereas the lobby of the property and the lounge didn’t seem too dated, the room felt like it was decades old and in desperate need of an update. And while I understand that the hotel wants to keep some of the history and old-school vibe intact, there were a few things that could easily be modernized without taking away from its overall charm and character.
There was plenty of light, which I thought was nice. It was hard to take note of anything besides the outdated decor, from the blinds and chairs to the light fixtures and just about everything in between.
The king-size bed was pretty comfortable, but nothing special. As you can see on the one nightstand below, even the iHome was outdated, fitted with an iPhone 4 charging port.
Across from the bed and next to the window was a desk with a phone and a lamp — it was large, but I ended up using it mostly to store some of my things because there was little other space to do so.
I didn’t order anything from the in-room dining menu, but I did like the pink color scheme of the Langham Hotels, which was carried out even with these menus.
The TV, located directly across from the bed, was the one modern touch in the entire room.
Inside the chest where the TV was located was a mini-fridge, which had a good selection of beverages, as well as a small snack selection.
Inside each of the drawers was either glassware, snacks or a book about the Langham.
On the other side of the room was a small dresser, which was topped by an interesting light fixture. I didn’t end up using this — it just took up more space instead of serving an actual purpose.
Next to the dresser was the closet, which was also small. There wasn’t much space to hang clothes, and most of it was filled by the safe, some drawers, a basket with a hair dryer, slippers and a pair of robes. There was also an iron and ironing board in the closet, which I liked.
While I was exploring the room, I spotted a note in front of the TV warning me of a potential hazard.
I was curious as to what would elicit that kind of alarm, so I headed over to the bathroom to check it out. As it turned out, a small step was indeed there and if you did stub your toe, it would probably be pretty painful. I found it helpful that the property was proactive enough to inform its guests just in case.
Once I made my way over the ledge and into the bathroom, I found it to be bright and a little more updated than the rest of the bedroom’s decor.
There was only one sink, but there was a lot of counter space, which was good for storage.
The shower was hard to step into because of the tall bathtub walls. I actually had to stand on my toes and hold onto the towel rack for support because the step was so high and I was afraid of falling — and I’m 5’7.”
There were two product offerings in the bathroom. The first, a set of quality, basic shower necessities — shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion — were from Sydney-based company Zambeli.
Then, next to the sink was a box of amenity treats — an assortment of items, including a comb, sewing kit, talc powder, and nail file — that I found to be incredibly useful. They were Chuan Spa products and I really, really enjoyed them, from the offerings right down to the box they came in.
Overall, I’d have to say that the highlight of the room was the bathroom. The room itself was charming, but it was very small and extremely outdated.
Where this property really shined, in my opinion, was with the food and the amenities. I’ll start with my favorite amenity at the property — the shuttle bus service. The pink shuttle bus is hard to miss and is a complimentary service that operates seven days a week between the hotel and Custom Street, located downtown and close to the waterfront. It’s a great way to get you from the property right downtown without charging you a dollar.
Food and Beverage
The food options here also set this property apart from the others I visited in Auckland. Because I booked as part of Amex FHR, I was entitled to two things that allowed me to dine for free during my stay — a $100 property credit, which I used at the restaurant, and complimentary daily breakfast for two.
The breakfast buffet at the Langham Auckland is amazing — and that’s not an exaggeration. There are multiple stations — eight, actually, which is where the name of the restaurant, Eight, comes from — offering everything from made-to-order waffles and omelettes to juices and much more. There’s also an incredible selection of fresh fruit, including a bowl full of freshly sliced kiwis (how fitting). Because I have a sweet tooth, my favorite part of the breakfast was definitely the chocolate fountain, which had an assortment of fresh fruit you could dip in it.
The full breakfast buffet costs 42 NZD (~$30) per person, per day, so my travel companion and I ended up saving $60. I also chose to maximize that Amex FHR $100 property credit by dining at the Eight Restaurant the one night I was at the hotel. I ordered the fish and chips, which came with tartar sauce, thick-cut french fries and vinegar. The fish was incredibly fresh and the fries were delicious.
Between my travel companion and myself, our bill came to $100 and the hotel credit covered the entire meal. In all, just by booking through Amex FHR, I saved about $160 — and got a one-level room upgrade. Not bad at all!
Throughout my stay, I’d categorize the service overall as adequate. There was nothing anyone did that helped to take my stay above and beyond what I’d expected. Service was pretty average from check-in to check-out — neither good nor bad. But it would have been nice to be able to say the property surpasses its competitors in this category (in addition to the food and amenities).
If you’re in Auckland, the Langham Auckland is a perfectly decent option. You’ll eat well and sleep well. But if the luxe feel of a property is something you’re really into, this might not be a good option until it goes through an update. If that’s not all that important to you and you care more about having a comfortable stay than a chic one, this is a fantastic choice, and you can get great value out of it if you book through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. I’d consider staying here on my next trip to Auckland.
Have you ever stayed at the Langham Auckland? Tell us about your experience, below.
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