Soaring directly over the Waitemata Harbour and the Britomart precinct, location is a big drawcard of SO/ Auckland, a flamboyant 130-room property in Auckland’s Downtown. There are other serious notables, too: the 20-metre indoor heated lap pool, sleek rooftop bar and decadent on-site spa complete with Himalayan rock salt walls. And those sinfully deep soaking tubs? No room goes without. Read on for the full review.

With its brazenly black-on-black colour scheme, ornately dressed staff and furnishings tipped (literally) on their heads, guests can be in no doubt that SO/ Auckland is a place that’s packed with personality. This is immediately apparent upon entry, with the chandelier of 1100 mismatched lights dangling defiantly in the centre of a dimly lit lobby and the cheerful team who love to sneak surprises — from edible treats and personalised pressies — into guest rooms. It’s a wonderfully characterful stay, chock-a-block with charm.

Where is SO/ Auckland?

The hotel towers over Downtown, adorned with a splash of colourful neon lights on one side, a street over from the Britomart precinct. It takes about 30 minutes to reach Auckland Airport by car.

What’s near SO/ Auckland?

There’s always something to shop for at Britomart, a cluster of 19th-century warehouses that are now bars and restaurants, alongside shiny new architecture housing clothing boutiques. All the action is less than 300 metres from SO/ ’s front door. The popular ferry runs to Auckland’s enchanting islands (such as Rangitoto and the winery-striped Waiheke) and leaves from Queens Wharf, just 100 metres further north.

Room types

SO/ Auckland

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With names as distinctive as the decor, each room has its own unique feel. The So Urban is the entry-level space, with richly coloured carpets and vibrant soft furnishings that nod to the area’s topographic features. The So Suite rooms, glossed in black furnishings, bathrooms and accents, have a private balcony that leads onto wonderful views of the busy harbour. But never fear, all rooms have complimentary non-alcoholic mini-bar goodies (hello, beloved lemon-flavoured Kiwi soft drink, L&P!), Nespresso machines and incredibly deep bathtubs.

Restaurants and bars

SO/ Auckland rooftop bar

At the absolute crown of the hotel is the 14th floor Harbour Society, a lovely eatery flushed with natural light and harbour views serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is an à la carte situation, with barista coffee and classics peppered with New Zealand produce (the smoked Ōra King salmon pairs brilliantly with soft poached eggs). At dinner, the locally sourced produce (Rotoarua ginseng, Clevedon Valley buffalo curd) takes on an Asian twist, most notably in the delicious dishes of Whole Rack of Coastal Lamb marinated with Nước chấm served with Bánh hỏi.

Hi-So, a bar with a generous balcony that overlooks the harbour, is stunning at night and often packed with non-guests spinning around with an expertly mixed cocktail in hand. There’s also Javalab on the lobby floor for quick morning coffees (and a slab of indulgent eclair — the café’s signature sweet treat) and Mixo, the bar that shakes up your welcome cocktail astride the check-in area.

Travel for work

The hotel’s Club Signature is a gem of a space for business travellers and includes a cosy lounge serving all-day complimentary drinks for Club signature guests, from breakfast refreshers to evening cocktails. Attached is a lovely terrace for a little vitamin D, open from October to April.

Spa, gym and pool

SO/ Auckland

Yep, SO/ has the holy wellness trinity on-site. Both the 20-metre indoor lap pool and Finnish-style sauna feel blissfully private and are helpfully next to SO/ Spa, a cave-like space that leads guests awaiting treatment to a room walled in bricks of restorative Himalayan rock salt that glow a pleasing pink, where you’ll enjoy a personally prescribed tea.


The hotel has accessible common areas, as well as an accessible So Urban room.

What you need to know

The SO/ team are exceptional at organising even the most personalised in-room touches. Whether you want to celebrate a birthday in a unique way or pull a prank on your partner, they’re always up for the challenge.

    Best for: Late-night revellers and city-break seekers
    Design: OTT
    Ambience: Fun
    Number of rooms: 130
    Rates: From NZD $455.64
    Wi-fi: Free
    Parking: NZD$50 per day, on-site
    Address: Corner of Customs St E&, Gore Street, Auckland CBD
    Phone: +64 9 379 1860

    Earn 3 Qantas Points per $1 when you book your next stay at

SO/ Auckland

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