Auckland is in the middle of a hotel boom with no fewer than half a dozen new high-end addresses opening in the past year, but none has generated more buzz than the small-but-perfectly-formed Hotel Britomart. Designed by the visionary Cheshire Architects, everything here is well considered – from the 150,000 handmade bricks fixed to the building’s exterior to the curated selection of design books in each room. Although the newly built hotel only opened in late 2020, it fits seamlessly with the centuries-old warehouses that surround it – testament to fact that the hotel’s owners have been responsible for the rejuvenation of the entire area.
Once virtually derelict, the nine-block Britomart precinct (less than 20km from the airport) is now undoubtedly one of the most vibrant parts of Auckland’s CBD. As well as some major corporates that fringe the central Takutai Square, you’ll find boutiques by some of New Zealand’s best designers (Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester, et al), plus some of the city’s best eateries and underground bars.
With an average size of just 22 square metres, the rooms aren’t exactly huge, but they offer everything you need for a city break. The mini-bar is stocked with local products such as Antipodes water and L’Affare coffee and there are gorgeous ceramics by local artist Rachel Carter in the room. Best of all? The glamorous black schist bathroom with its generous walk-in shower. Ask for a room on the Britomart side of the building or – if budget allows – one of the five The Landing Suites. Three of the generous suites (Wairoa, Te Puna and Rangihoua) are on the top floor of the new tower; two (Hohi and Poraenui) are in a glass pavilion constructed on top of an adjacent heritage building accessed via a walkway from level five of the hotel.
Food and drink
Located in an adjacent historic building, the hotel’s in-house restaurant Kingi (short for kingfish) delivers an accomplished, ever-changing take on Pacific Rim dining. A limited number of dishes from the menu can also be ordered in your hotel room. Amano is the pick of the restaurants in the Britomart precinct – a relaxed, warehouse-style restaurant serving Italian food using exceptional local produce. Head underground to the speakeasy-style Caretaker bar to order from a 200-strong cocktail menu.
For business travellers
Apart from the excellent location in the heart of Auckland’s commercial district, the hotel has a selection of beautifully designed private spaces known as The Libraries that can be hired for meetings or private dinners.
For wellness travellers
Visit the small in-house gym or pack your running shoes for a jog around the nearby waterfront. If it’s a quick pick-me-up you need then pop across the road to Dry & Tea – a salon and teahouse decorated with floral artwork by New Zealand artist Paul Hartigan.
The fab factor
Staying here is like taking a masterclass in New Zealand art from paintings by Shane Cotton to photography by Kieran Scott. Even the handles on the hotel’s entrance – branches cast in bronze – are a mini masterpiece.
Best for: Urbanites with an eye for design
Number of rooms: 99 guest rooms and five suites
Rates: From $320 per night
Wi-fi: Trouble-free and cost-free
Parking: Valet parking is available for $50 for a 24 hour period.
Address: 29 Galway Street, Auckland CBD
Telephone: +64 9 300 9595