Sofitel brings its trademark French chic a truly New Zealand setting
City | Food & wine
Auckland, a cosmopolitan jewel set between two sparkling harbours, combines urban sophistication with the rural sensibilities that have become New Zealand’s hallmark. Climb a volcano, spend some time on its beach ring or catch a ferry out to its islands for a carefree afternoon of food and wine. When you return to the city, you’ll have the classical War Memorial Museum, its eponymous art gallery and the perilous Sky Tower to explore. And this Sofitel iteration is perfectly poised to explore it all. Positioned between the glamorous Viaduct Harbour and the upscale Wynyard Quarter, it looks out over the shimmering Waitemata Harbour.
Designed to indulge, generously proportioned rooms feature a full range of amenities as standard. You’ll enjoy private balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows and plush fabrics throughout while en suite bathrooms come with deep soaking tubs and stand-alone rain showers. Upgrade for views of the hotel’s wall of water or the next-door marina and its luxury yachts. There’s a reason Auckland’s known as the ‘City of Sails’. Consider upgrading to a suite for large living area, marble bathrooms and oversize bedrooms with the views of the Prestige and Deluxe offerings particularly impressive.
In keeping with the hotel’s design philosophy, chefs marry the Gallic culinary ideal with local influences. Its Lava restaurant is a prime example where the amber glow of its backlit marble walls are a reminder of Auckland’s volcanic origin while a seasonal menu reminds of France. Expect dishes such as wild venison and pheasant ballotine. However, the lapping water beyond its restaurant’s full-length windows ensures that you enjoy a true sense of place. For lighter bites, head to 21 Viaduct Café where freshly baked pastries, sandwiches and made-to-order salads are taken on cane chairs by the marina. Back inside, the afternoon tea is a particular treat, served with champagne.
If you haven’t got your fill of exercise with Auckland’s lauded array of hikes, make for Sofitel’s signature fitness centre where both the gym and pool enjoy natural daylight from full-length windows. Once you’ve finished, unwind in the sauna, steam rooms or the excellent Sabrage Bar where bottles of bubbly are opened in the Napoleon fashion – with a sabre. Alternatively, book into a treatment at the spa where aches and beauty needs are equally well catered for.
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