Review: Cordis Auckland Pinnacle Tower delivers great location, comfort and corporate vibes - with a few caveats

Cordis Auckland Pinnacle Tower composite imagery
The Cordis Auckland's award-winning Pinnacle Tower promises a night of luxury, culture and art - and on first impression, it ticks the boxes. Photo credit: Photo illustration - Newshub; Images - Supplied / Cordis Auckland

The Cordis Auckland's award-winning Pinnacle Tower promises a night of luxury, culture and art - and on first impression, it ticks the boxes.  

On a surface level, the Pinnacle Tower's executive room presents the cushy but corporate comfort you'd expect of a modern hotel in Auckland's central business district. There's plenty of space (30.8m2-35.5m2, to be precise), a king bed large enough to comfortably fit a family of four, a coffee machine, and the added perks of Club Lounge access and an included buffet breakfast. The executive rooms are located on floors 14 to 17, overlooking either Auckland's concrete jungle or, if you're not so lucky, Symonds Street and its cemetery.   

Also on a surface level was our bath, which - thanks to a bung plug - drained entirely of water two minutes after our skin touched the porcelain. A second try yielded the same results, albeit at a slower pace. Our attempt at a romantic bubble bath thwarted, my partner and I admitted defeat and instead, snuggled down to watch Jason Statham's Death Race.   

This small anecdote serves as an analogy for our experience at the Cordis last month. While first impressions are appealing (yay, a tub!), a closer look reveals a few faults that are certainly not dealbreakers, but did affect the overall satisfaction with our stay.

Another example of this is the bathroom itself. The executive room has a slight exhibitionist flair in that a large window serves as the wall between bedroom and bathroom. While this can be a bit of fun for more, ah, openminded couples, it can also a little confronting seeing your partner taking a poop out of the corner of your eye as you sit in bed with your morning brew. This was not quite the view I was expecting from a $400ish a night hotel room - I can get the same view at home. Of course, there is a blind for the more prudish among us, if you can be bothered with it - and have the time as nature is calling.

Cordis Auckland Pinnacle Tower executive room bathroom
The exhibitionist window in question. Photo credit: Supplied

The Pinnacle Tower opened a little over two years ago as an extension of the Cordis, with an emphasis on integrating local art and culture into its Auckland offering. The hotel is now home to one of the largest locally commissioned art collections, curated by Coupland Cormack. It comprises 40 pieces across various mediums, created by nine prominent contemporary artists. The collection itself is a collaboration with Ngāti Whātua ki Kaipara and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, which is said to reflect the Cordis' connection to "the land, culture and community that surrounds it". 

Another major pro is the location. The Cordis borders both Symonds St (Auckland's university hub) and the bottom end of the city's iconic Karangahape Rd. It's also a stone's throw from Queen St, the CBD's main commercial thoroughfare, with several shops and eateries within walking distance. Auckland Domain, Auckland Art Gallery and Auckland Museum are all virtually on your doorstep, while bustling Newmarket is less than 10 minutes away by car.  

Guests who opt for an executive room, Pinnacle Tower suite or presidential suite (you know, if you're Beyoncé) are also automatically entitled to Club Privileges, which could be a major plus-point depending on the nature of your stay. These privileges include access to the Club Lounge, a comfortable space with sweeping views - and complimentary high-speed internet - that is designed for both business and pleasure. The Lounge is open for buffet breakfast (on Saturdays and Sundays), lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and cocktails and canapés, while also offering a comfortable workspace for busy executives who want a change of scene from their executive room.   

While I am not an executive, I did enjoy eating my eggs and bacon in the lounge the next morning, sipping my tea while overlooking the city. The service was excellent, as was the buffet; if you're also a coeliac, rest assured there is a delightful selection of gluten-free pastries to choose from, while each cloche is clearly labelled with allergens. The food was tasty with plenty of choice - there was even gluten-free sausages. I was very happy.   

While the breakfast was a highlight of our stay, we can't speak to the in-room dining, which we were tempted to try in the name of research - but the prices immediately put us off. I can't say if this is standard practice for most high-end hotels, but there was a $10 delivery charge for each order; in other words, if you were craving a freshly squeezed OJ (itself $10), you would be charged $20 to have it brought up to your room - potentially more if you wanted to tip on top of that. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't spend $20 on an orange juice under any circumstances.   

Cordis Auckland Pinnacle Tower Club Lounge composite imagery
The Club Lounge is a great place to socialize, dine, work or relax. Photo credit: Supplied

If you do, in fact, have more money than sense, the 24-hour in-room dining menu is extensive with a range of delicious-sounding options. For those who are in town for a special anniversary or other occasion, you can pre-book your breakfast in bed with the 'express' option, which allows you to specify a time for delivery in the morning - you just have to pop your order form on the door before 2am.  

Other Club Privileges include complimentary use of the Cordis' heated rooftop pool and spa pool, the saunas, and its unique herbal steam room at Chuan Spa; complimentary pressing service of three garments per person, per stay; and complimentary shoe shining. A late checkout can also be arranged depending on availability, while some may opt for the personalised check-in and check-out services.  

Family groups may also wish to take advantage of the Club Lounge's complimentary activities, which include local tours, gin and scotch tastings for the 18-and-overs, and candy floss for the kids. You just need to book with the concierge by 6pm the day prior.  

Prior to bath-gate, we checked out the pool and spa, which is located in the main Cordis building. While the primary building and the Pinnacle Tower are connected, they are serviced by different elevators. If you, like us, tend to lack common sense, this means that level three in the Pinnacle Tower is not the same as level three in the Cordis; you instead need to head down to the ground floor and cross the lobby to access the main elevators. Once you have made it to the pool and spa, towels are provided upon arrival and there are plenty of sun loungers available.   

When heading back from the pool, learn from our mistakes; on first visit, the layout can be a little confusing after you descend the stairs connecting the spa to the pool area. If you too find yourself going in the wrong direction and stumbling across a single elevator, don't get in it. It's an accessibility offering that takes you from the spa to the pool, so yes, you will - like us - end up exactly where you started. The receptionist didn't seem overly surprised that we had suddenly materialised right before her eyes a moment after farewelling us, so I assume it happens quite often.  

Cordis Auckland heated rooftop swimming pool
The Cordis Auckland has a heated rooftop swimming pool in its main building. Photo credit: Supplied

Back in the executive room, the TV is equipped with Sky - including Sky Sport and Sky Movies - and casting capability to keep you entertained, with decent storage space, tea-making facilities and a very expensive mini bar. Perhaps due to our height (we were on the 17th floor), there were a few minor issues with internet connectivity and TV pixelation.  

It's evident the Pinnacle Tower and its emphasis on art was the hotel's attempt at bringing a more boutique-style offering to its accommodation. However, the executive room - to me, at least - still delivered a pleasant but unremarkable copy-and-paste interior you'd expect from a hotel chain. While many people will appreciate the comfortable bed, space and simplicity, it depends on what you value in a hotel; for me, a unique style, boutique feel and fun furnishings always trump clean-cut, corporate comfort.   

The Cordis Auckland does a great job at delivering the services and amenities one would expect of a five-star hotel, but to me, it wasn't an overly memorable experience. There was nothing inherently wrong with it, but there wasn't really a wow-factor either - plus a couple of small disappointments.   

Cordis Auckland Pinnacle Tower executive room
An executive room at the Cordis Auckland Pinnacle Tower - we didn't get the fresh flowers (or the city view). Photo credit: Supplied

To me, the Cordis and its Pinnacle Tower would perhaps be better suited to out-of-towners or foreigners with cash to splash who are looking for a great location to explore everything Auckland City has to offer. It may also be a great option for families, particularly with the variety of rooms to pick from - including those with kitchenettes - and the activities on offer day-to-day. Businesspeople would also be a great fit, from meetings over a tasty meal at the Club Lounge to other on-site dining options, free and fast Wi-Fi, and other facilities that are conducive to a relaxing but productive work trip.  

For us - who fit none of the above categories - the best elements of our stay were the incredible king bed, which was truly what dreams are made of, and the included buffet breakfast - I can't stop thinking about those sausages.  

Lana Andelane and her partner stayed in the executive room at the Cordis Auckland Pinnacle Tower for this review.