As someone who had visited Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour both before and after its recent renovations, it was quite amazing to see how the changes have made it feel like an entirely different hotel.
The hotel reopened in October with a new, French inspired style.
The first thing I noticed was the new lobby area, which is broken up into smaller spaces that are almost like little rooms. The small change makes waiting for people or for any transfers feel more like a cafe or bar experience than an awkward waiting room situation.
Despite the opulence, the staff I met upon arrival were down to earth, with both the checking in and checking out experience incredibly fast.
The room itself was a bit smaller than those in the other hotels around the viaduct, but still much larger than rooms available at larger chain hotels. The harbour view was great - it almost felt a bit like Florida. The Sky Tower was perfectly framed by my room's large window, which gave me a great view of it being struck by lightning later in the night.
The Sofitel really holds its own in terms of its restaurant and food offerings. Although the dining area at Restaurant La Marée can feel a bit cramped, that's easily forgiven thanks to the fantastic table staff and delicious food that's served up. Their wine selection is also decent and the bar is large enough to serve up any cocktail you might have in mind.
While not the case at some hotels, it's worth staying for breakfast here. The meals are a decent size and, very importantly, they make good coffee.
As my stay was brief, I didn't get to experience the onsite spa, but it is worth mentioning. It too has been entirely revamped and offers products and services that are aligned with the French aesthetic the hotel has managed to pull off well.
Nighty rates can vary depending on the day of the week and the type of room you are after, but there are deals online starting from around a competitive $260 a night. It's a great time to plan a stay on the waterfront, with the the America's Cup village opening just a short walk away and with Aotearoa's borders being closed, prices are likely to be at the more affordable end of the scale for the time being - when travel restrictions ease, the cost of staying at a hotel as nice as the Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour will rise rapidly.
Pros: The service, French style, views and restaurant
Cons: The odd room layout which has the television facing away from the bed
Newshub Travel stayed as an invited guest at the Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour.