If you have walked around the Viaduct or Silo Park in the past few years, you will likely have noticed the construction and striking formation of the Park Hyatt Auckland. It stands right on the water’s edge between the thriving food and leisure districts of Wynyard Quarter and Viaduct basin – a prime location for securing views of the city skyline, the Harbour Bridge and Rangitoto.
The hotel focused on the localisation of design, making each of the hotels in the Park Hyatt portfolio unique. The building itself was a collaboration between designer Ali Reda from ar+d, in Singapore, and Bossley Architects, a local firm. Together they conceptualised a structure that draws the essence of a Māori wharenui that is then modernised through the use of sleek industrial materials. The outside of the hotel features sliding mesh screens that offer a low-profile, natural look on the outside while allowing for lighting and privacy options on the inside. The design was also inspired by the surrounding area and pays tribute to the silos and marina channels. With these local elements woven in it, the Park Hyatt evokes the feeling that it belongs.
I was initially intimidated by the robust façade, but upon stepping into the hotel you are immediately charmed by the unpretentious luxury that the Park Hyatt brand embodies. The first piece object you encounter when entering the hotel is a striking waka crafted by the Rotorua sculptor, Lionel Grant. The love of local art is evident throughout the premises with interiors featuring commissioned artworks by Māori artists. The lobby is brought to life by an illuminated installation by Peata Larkin inspired by the sea. At the reception and within each guest room, there are custom woven Tukutuku panels, again drawing attention and appreciation to the indigenous culture.
The non-physical beauty of the hotel is in the atmosphere created by the staff. It’s unparalleled attention to detail and friendly enthusiasm for creating excellent experiences away from home that fills in the beautiful shell of the hotel. They are the force that pushes the Park Hyatt above the rest and makes it the perfect staycation spot in Auckland.
A detail that surprised me was that the 195 rooms all line the perimeter of the building, meaning that all rooms face outwards into the world giving you unrivalled views of Auckland and the harbour. You could tell they were not trying to be as economical as possible with space but instead strived to be ergonomic and guest-centric. There is quite literally no room for anything less than greatness on the Park Hyatt agenda. As a result of this, the rooms are very spacious, ranging from 47 sqm to 245 sqm. The Presidential Suite even has its own garden and a terrace for entertainment.
Space is not only generous but well thought out. From the inconspicuous outlets everywhere to the walk-in closet space to the double basin vanity. Between the digitisation of the lighting, turn down service and the Le Labo toiletries, it’s impossible to not feel pampered. It is a true sanctuary and the setting of a memorable staycation.
Spa – Opening in October:
The spa is nestled into the second floor of the hotel and features a hydrotherapy pool (that will be open when inter-human contact is safe again). There will be single and couples treatment rooms available. After a relaxing massage, you can move on to the aromatherapy steam room or the Himalayan salt sauna – which actually features an entire pink-bricked wall of salt. The skincare lines of the spa have been carefully selected with purpose and localisation in mind with products featuring New Zealand Manuka Honey.
Also on the second floor is the 25-metre heated infinity pool. It is positioned along a more secluded edge of the hotel that gives those unwinding poolside views of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, the Emirates Team Base and Rangitoto. In the daytime, the amount of natural light entering the area makes it a beautiful place to laze around. At night, you are also in for a treat as the lines of lights make the pool feel like something out of a movie where the set designer was big on futuristic and atmospheric lighting.
Directly adjacent to the pool is the 24-hour fitness centre. Far too often, fitness centres are an odd throwaway room in the hotel. This is not the case at the Park Hyatt. It has been filled with workout equipment that you will actually want to use and even has a nook for fitness classes.
Leading the culinary side of the hotel is Executive Chef Brent Martin. After a noteworthy career abroad, he is returning to his home country to oversee the food at the Park Hyatt Auckland.
The guiding philosophy of Onemata restaurant has taken after its name, which means “rich fertile soil”. The chefs travelled New Zealand from end to end in order to understand and source sustainable ingredients. Chef de cuisine, Jonathan Pasion, explained that they had spent almost the entirety of the past year perfecting their menu, which categorises their dishes by ingredient and local supplier in order to truly shine a spotlight on the origins. The restaurant serves three menus a day and features an impressively designed dessert menu under the same ethos by Callum Liddicoat, the executive pastry chef. Like the other chefs, he takes his impressive experience from abroad and pours it directly into a creative interpretation of local ingredients.
Another hallmark of the restaurant is their hearth oven, slowly heated to 400 degrees celsius over a couple of days. It is one of few in New Zealand and trust me when I say it revolutionises everything from pancakes at breakfast to lamb at dinner. There is a large synergy at Onemata between the quality team that created the menu and the quality ingredients that they use to execute it. There is nothing on the menu that I tried that I would not devour again in a heartbeat if given the chance.
The Living Room
This restaurant serves as a casual but luxe all-day eatery. It stretches along the water’s edge giving it beautiful views to enjoy their afternoon tea with. The menu matches the classic delights of an afternoon tea with sincere modernity. It layers savoury and sweet as to not overwhelm or bore you with a single note. It also features a sparkling tea that you’ll have to try to understand.
The Captains Bar
An intimate and plush setting that evokes the same feeling as a stylish sailing ship with wood panelling and porthole-esque lighting fixtures. The bar has a vast selection of spirits with over sixty types of rums available. The bar also has a numbered list of cocktails, which serve as an outlet for creative techniques. It is an ideal spot to grab a drink before dinner or to take your time and grab a bite to eat from their snack menu too.
Located on the business district side of Wynyard Quarter, The Pantry serves as the grab-and-go go-to for the area. It’s a casual place to catch up with a work colleague or snag a quick lunch and coffee. The space itself is industrial and modern, a great place to sit down and get some work done if you’re in the area.
Food and interior photos by Carolyn Zou.