- Back from my epic/insane trip: overall thoughts
- Business vs. economy: is the mileage upcharge worth it?
- Assigning $ value to Priority Pass during our trip to South Pacific
- Our two magical nights in Bora Bora
- Hilton Moorea resort and spa: spectacular setting, not a 5-star property
- Making the most of our one night in Moorea
- InterContinental Resort Tahiti: Lovely Property with Freezing Pools and Hot Bellhops
- Hilton Auckland: a Great Choice in a Great City
After leaving Tahiti, it was time for us to “sample” New Zealand. We only had two nights in the country, so I’ve decided to spend them in Auckland. After doing some research, I settled on Hilton Auckland
My husband couldn’t resist taking this photo in Auckland airport. Yep, the sculpture is based on “Lord of the rings” trilogy.
I pre-booked a Supershuttle transfer to the hotel (recommended), which ended up costing us half of what a taxi would run. If you are a family of four, it will probably be a wash. We were booked to go on an all-day tour (separate post coming up), but I still wanted to make the most of our brief stay in the city.
Auckland is the gateway to New Zealand, though not everyone decides to overnight here. My in-laws didn’t, and drove to Waitomo Caves area right after landing at AKL airport. Since our tour included free pickup from central Auckland hotels, my decision was made for me. And I’m glad because I thoroughly enjoyed our short stay in the city. To me, Auckland has this scrappy charm of the underdog who is finally starting to feel comfortable in his own skin.
The city doesn’t have any instantly recognizable landmarks like Sydney’s Opera House. It does, however, have a scenic harbor that is currently going through revitalization. In my opinion, Auckland to Sydney is what Seattle is to San Francisco, if that makes sense. Hilton Auckland hotel is located in the prime spot, the thick of it all.
At check-in I was informed that due to my Gold status (comes complimentary with Amex Ascend credit card), we were upgraded to a deluxe room with the view of the harbor. Yay! We would also receive a complimentary breakfast buffet.
The reception lady, who was half Maori, was extremely friendly and gave us recommendations on where to have dinner. Speaking of, we went to Soul Bar and Bistro, located within short walking distance from our hotel. The best dinner we had on this trip, hands down. Fresh, organic, locally grown food is a big thing in New Zealand, by the way.
My husband thought there was too much green stuff on the plate
Review of the room
The room was on the small-ish side, but it was just the two of us. It was comfortable, and had everything we needed. The beds were terrific, not too soft, not too firm, and linens were of high quality.
The best part, of course, was the view from the balcony:
I paid 38k Hilton points for the first night, and used free weekend certificate from old Surpass card for the second night. When I first looked at the hotel, the cost was actually 60k points, but the rate eventually went down, so I rebooked it.
I value 38k Hilton Points at around $120, so at that rate the hotel is most definitely worth it. Frankly, I would even be willing to burn 60k points, especially during high season.
If you have a family of four, there might be a way to squeeze everyone into one room, though it’s going to be super tight. You will need to reserve a room with a king bed because some come with a tiny sofa which should accommodate a small child. You will also have to pay 60 NZD (about $40) extra for a rollaway.
But first reach out to the manager to make sure you won’t have any issues upon check-in. I think sharing one room would be doable for one or two nights, especially if you are low on Hilton points. Make sure you don’t let the kids take the Kiwi stuffed toy from the room because you will be charged $18 NZD. It’s not complimentary. And yes, I asked!
Amenities and breakfast buffet
As I’ve mentioned before, I have a strict “no exercise on vacations” policy. Seriously, who does that? So, I’m afraid there won’t be any pictures of treadmills in this post. Sorry.
There is an outdoor pool, but since we were in Auckland during NZ winter, we didn’t get a chance to use it. But it looks nice in photos and would be a great amenity during summer, especially if you have young kids with you.
I do love a good breakfast buffet on vacations, especially if it’s complimentary. And the one in Hilton Auckland certainly didn’t disappoint.
We sat by the window and enjoyed watching the ships go by while we were munching on our free food.
The “wet paint” tape did ruin the ambiance slightly
Overall, it was probably the best breakfast buffet we’ve had on this trip, and I even had a chance to sample the one in Park Hyatt Sydney. Paid through the nose for it, too. So getting such a marvelous spread for free in Auckland Hilton has definitely contributed to my enjoyment factor.
If I remember correctly, full breakfast buffet normally costs 35 NZD (about $22) per person, so Hilton Gold status definitely comes in handy in this particular hotel. If planning to stay here, I strongly recommend you obtain it either via Hilton Ascend card or match from another program like IHG You might even get a Hilton Diamond status if you have Platinum status that comes with Chase IHG co-branded credit card.
We only had a chance to take advantage of breakfast buffet during the second morning since we were leaving on our all-day tour very early. I asked the front desk if they give a boxed breakfast for situations like these, and sure enough, they do.
Here it is:
Doesn’t quite compare to the buffet, but beggars can’t be choosers.
I really enjoyed Hilton Auckland as well as the city itself. If your schedule is not too tight, try to spend at least one night here while touring New Zealand. If like us, you only have two nights, this is a great base to explore the North Island in a day. It was truly the most hectic, yet memorable tour we’ve ever been on. Stay tuned.
P.S. Bonus offers on Amex co-branded Hilton cards have been recently increased. If you apply for 150k points offer on Ascend version via referral link, you can potentially get 3-4 nights at this particular hotel, with breakfast for two included due to Hilton Gold status. As always, there are many other cards on the market which may suit your needs better at this particular time.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.