This is part 12 in a series about my November 2016 trip to New Zealand, booked off a $215 mistake fare.
Auckland has no shortage of hotels, with several large international chains well-represented. I originally was going to spend one night at the Hilton Auckland, which is perched at the end of a pier in the harbor and is well reviewed. I had reserved a night for 70,000 points, but in the end just decided I’d book two nights at the Crowne Plaza for 30,000 points a night. The Crowne Plaza was more centrally-located, had decent reviews, and wasn’t as exorbitantly priced. Plus, I’m trying to minimize Hilton stays given my series of disappointments. (As I write this, I’m at a Holiday Inn in Brooklyn I booked after canceling a Hampton Inn.)
Crowne Plazas are not really well-known members of the IHG family. There aren’t a ton of them—only 400, but they tend to be full-service hotels, a step between Holiday Inns and Intercontinentals, created as the upscale/business subsidiary of Holiday Inn back in the 1980s. I haven’t stayed in many – just Montpelier, France, and Columbus, Ohio, I think. I’ve seen some variation in size, though, and this was probably the largest I’ve ever stayed in- comparable to a Marriott or a Sheraton, I’d say.
The property was about a ten-minute walk from the Skybus main terminus and very easy to find, two blocks from the Skytower and two blocks off Queen Street, the main artery of downtown. It’s a high-rise building, with offices on floors 2 through 12, and then a hotel above (with the hotel lobby on the first floor), which makes the entrance a little weird. Off the lobby for the whole building, kind of outside the hotel, is a convenience store and a ramen restaurant, convenient if you don’t want to trek to one of the adjoining streets for food.
Check-in was super friendly. I was offered a voucher for a free drink at the bar as an IHG Rewards Club elite, and had been upgraded to a corner deluxe room on the 21st floor, even though I was on a points stay. The room had likely been refreshed very recently, with pretty new furniture and décor. The closet/minibar unit and bathroom seemed a bit older and out of place, but presumably those pieces would be more expensive to update. Everything was clean and in working order, though. The bathroom even had nice New Zealand-specific toiletries, including a dental and shaving kit.
The room had tons of outlets, including USB ports right next to the bed on each side. There was a tea kettle with instant coffee and teas and chocolate, as well as an espresso machine. Two free water bottles were provided, along with a bottle of the Crowne Plaza signature aromatherapy mist on the bed as part of its “Sleep Advantage” program.
There was a large desk looking out one of the windows towards the harbor, with a view of the skyline. The sitting area was quite large, with a chaise lounge and then a weird half arm chair and ottoman.
I didn’t really use a ton of services at the hotel, but the concierge and front desk staff were both extremely friendly every time I dealt with them. The gym was decent, with a surprising amount of leg equipment. It was a little old, but definitely functional. I redeemed my free drink voucher in the lobby bar, which took up nearly the entire lobby.
In all, the Crowne Plaza was an excellent base for exploring Auckland. It’s not a luxury property, but definitely comfortable, clean, and welcoming, and I wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again.