It was hardly surprising to find out the Langham Hotel in Auckland has just been named the New Zealand hotel of the year in the annual HM magazine award.
We pulled up at the Langham and as a concierge opened the taxi door she offered greetings to my partner, welcoming by her name. How did they know my partnerâ€™s name?
We were staggered by the unparalleled service throughout our entire stay by the genuinely enthusiastic staff, who collectively are any hotelâ€™s number-one asset. At the Langham, staff could not be faulted on our visit.
We spent two nights in the Governorâ€™s Suite, which rates highly among New Zealandâ€™s finest at NZ$1,800 a night. The quality and service are worth it all. We slept on the same amazing bed as pop stars and heads of state who previously preferred to stay there. Hotels never reveal their stars for obvious reasons.
Our giant bed had four comfort layers of padding to give us two of our deepest, happiest sleeps ever. The air conditioning was perfect, which is not something many hotels get right.
We soaked up the service in the Club Lounge, where breakfast and drinks and nibbles are served, well before the sun slips over the yardarm.
Our Club Lounge supervisor, Giovanna Londono of Colombia, could not do enough for us from bananas in our room in the morningâ€”and they were essential to start the dayâ€”to chocolates, cheese, sauces and crackers to one of the finest New Zealand chardonnays, Maude of Wanaka.
Giovanna was genuinely warm, engaging and happy for us to relax, even if my partner easily beat me at speed-chess. The All Blacks were about to play a Rugby Championship game so Giovanna moved all we wanted to our Governorâ€™s Suite to enjoy the test on the big flat-screen, from our sumptuous and lavishly-fitted lounge, or from the bedroom.
The sound of the match floated away into the distance. This was a weekend romance took precedence over rugby.
We slept like babies and after pancakes covered in raspberry sauce, croissants and coffee for breakfast, we headed to the Parnell French village markets. The smells of coffee, freshly cooked food and sounds of soft live music, a buzzing Sunday atmosphere almost made us drift away to the south of France, for a little bit.
Parnell is a lovely part of Auckland and just a stroll across the Domain from the Langham. When we got back to our suite we changed into swimwear and headed to the pool and spa. My partner soaked up the spa as I clocked up some laps.
We were in heaven. Total luxury, brilliantly cared for in style and to top it off we sipped more buttery chardonnay late in the afternoon and sampled almost too much of the finely-crafted nibbly food. The magnetic attraction to Eight restaurant downstairs was a serious lure but we were so relaxed we barely moved after our spa and pool dip.
Heading out the next morning, Belarusian receptionist Darya Filatava wrapped some Prada perfume for my partner as we sadly headed away from the jewel in the hotel crown of New Zealandâ€™s largest city.â€”Kip Brook, Word of Mouth Media
Kip Brook is an occasional contributor to Lucire, and a London bureau chief correspondent.