TL;DR – Stay at the Crowne Plaza in town instead
We stayed here at the end of November 2015 for 3 nights. I was torn between this or the Doubletree which is literally next door. I decided to go with the Hilton since they had cash+points availability, and I wanted the more prestigious Hilton brand.
Getting to hotel
We rented a car, and it took about 7 minutes to get to the hotel. If you took a taxi, it’d probably cost about $10 NZD. By the way, they do have FREE PARKING (a shared garage with the Doubletree.)
The location of the hotel is not ideal. It’s about 20 minutes driving to the city. They do have a water taxi and a bus that runs to the city. However, only certain trips/times are free; the other trips are run by a private company that charges $10 NZD per person one-way.
My wife checked in because I was parking the car. She said it was a bit too fast. They didn’t really explain to her the GOLD benefits. One thing I noticed was that they didn’t have an executive lounge, and the Hilton Auckland gave us 2 free drink tickets at the bar for not having an executive lounge, but this Hilton didn’t do that.
Hotel Shuttle to downtown
The Hotel shuttle is free. The water taxi is $10NZD per person each way. We never took the Connectabus, so not even sure what that is (maybe an actual bus)
The room was fine. We didn’t get the best room (the ones facing the water), but we didn’t get the worst room (no view). We got the X in the picture. You want the yellow highlighted row. Using cash+points and our GOLD status, we got no upgrade to one of the yellow rooms. Also, my biggest pet peeve of nice hotels is when they don’t refill the water. We were here 3 nights. We had 2 bottles in the room when we checked in. On day 2, I called to ask if the free water is replenished; they said, “Nope, only the 2 on checkin.” Cheap-asses! So be sure to buy water in town before coming back to your hotel room.
Oh another thing, if you look in the shower, there’s no place to put your shampoo and conditioner. You have to put it on the ground. Seems like a slight design flaw and a simple fix.
I thought the breakfast buffet was good. Lots of hot items and you can even also order ala carte items. The only charge were some specialized coffee. Beware though – don’t come at 6-7am when the tour groups all descend onto breakfast. We had to wait 15 minutes to be seated and of course all the tour group people cut the line. Here’s a sampling of the buffet (sorry, I didn’t take a pic of the actual food area):
Don’t stay here – stay at the Crowne Plaza instead (IHG member.) They are right in the city and you can walk to all the restaurants and shops. You should also get a good view too. I would rather be at the better location and pay for breakfast vs being off the beaten path and getting free breakfast. Now if they had given us a room that was near the water, I might have a different opinion, but that’s a risk you take.