Enjoy a touch of avant-garde design, hosted by an early 20th century classic
This Art Deco icon straddles two unique precincts in downtown Auckland – fashionable High Street and sartorial Shortland Street. First built in 1841 as one of the city’s original hotels, the building has a long history as a hip meeting place before two fires and rebuilds saw it realised in its current iteration. And what an update it was. Its 1920s façade is now host to an ultra-chic interior that recalls its 1980s heyday when its bars and restaurants were the haunt of Auckland’s fashion and media set. Today, it’s just as appealing for its proximity to the trendy bars and restaurants of the city’s waterfront along with its eponymous War Memorial Museum, parks and Sky Tower.
Bought in 2007, the building went under a two-year transformation with architects, designers and artists working to create 25 rooms and suites arranged around a soaring glass roofed atrium. The effect is at once intimate and exciting with boutique design flourishes realised in egg chairs, bespoke deep pile carpets and locally inspired artwork. Goose down bedding, pillow menus and complimentary tea and coffee ensures comfortable stays while the excellent collection of suites, complete with eclectic furniture and generous living spaces, up the stakes.
DeBretts Kitchen is the hotel’s innovative dining concept, ideal whether you’re after a candlelit dinner or tapas snacks on the sofas. Menus follow the seasons, highlighting the best from local farms and fishermen in dinners such as lamb loin and parsnip puree, lunches including sweet potato gnocchi and breakfasts of gingerbread waffles. Mix in an indulgent high tea – think lemonade scones and truffle asparagus rolls – and you’ll find your taste buds well catered for. In terms of drinks, an extensive cellar features a range of New Zealand vintages and mixologist-created cocktails.
Hotel DeBrett centres around its atmospheric Housebar, best known for its selection of boutique craft beer and hand-picked wines from the country’s vineyards. Exposed walls and designer furniture recall its rich past, having hosted Auckland’s cultural elite since the 1950s. Alternatively, there’s the intimate Cornerbar. Spilling out onto the street, its al fresco seating and cosy interior acts as a lively meeting point, hosting locals and tourists alike. It also serves a range of light bites and pizzas. Lastly, to get your fitness fix, make for the off-site gym.
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