Our Auckland: Here's Where Our Readers Love to Have a Staycation in Auckland
Plan a few nights away — in your own city.
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The events of the last year have reminded us of three very important things. First: we should take every chance we can to get out and explore. Two: Aucklanders have some of the most beautiful sights and experiences right at our doorstep. And three: we must support local businesses. Planning a staycation can achieve all three in one fell swoop. So we've teamed up with Tourism New Zealand to ask you — Concrete Playground readers — which accommodation spots you'd recommend for an Auckland staycation, from rustic campervans to luxe countryside lodges.
When you want a local getaway to feel like you've actually, well, gotten away, Waiheke Island is the obvious choice. It requires a boat journey to get there (or a helicopter, if you're feeling particularly flush), but it's only about 35 minutes from the city. To really feel like you've escaped, opt to stay at The Boatshed, which combines stunning ocean views, easy access to the beach and walking tracks and just the right level of privacy. Plus, with its very own kitchen garden, the food here is both tasty and sustainable.
HOTEL GRAND WINDSOR
Based in the heart of Queen Street, Hotel Grand Windsor has been a CBD landmark for almost a century. When the ten-storey building was erected in 1928, it was considered Auckland's first skyscraper. The art deco style and other nods to the roaring 20s are obvious as soon as you step inside thanks to the marble flooring, chandeliers and even suited bellhops wearing tophats. The traditional high tea at Cooke's Restaurant & Bar is a must while staying here. You'll enjoy egg sandwiches, buttermilk scones with clotted cream and strawberry rose jam, lemon curd tartlets and more for $55 per person.
TE ARAI LODGE
Te Arai Lodge is the sort of place that gets you questioning how people get lucky enough to call spending time here their job (and wondering if you could do the same). The boutique accommodation was built by Vince and Kathy Moores — a journey that was featured on Grand Designs NZ in 2018 — and looks like something plucked right out of the Tuscan countryside with its stone clad exterior and sweeping views of the east coast's rolling hills. It remains a family affair with their children all working in varying capacities across the property — from instructing yoga classes for guests to tending to the extensive kitchen garden filled with lemons, limes, blood oranges, feijoas, figs and more. Guests can take their pick of accommodation options, including the main lodge, the barn and the cottage. Plus, all will have access to the 20-metre lap pool, hot cedar tub and sauna.
Not every staycation has to be about plush hotel beds, spa baths and fine dining. After all, some of the most beautiful natural sights are right here in our backyards. So, if you're keen to get amongst it and take a more rugged approach to your Auckland staycation, we suggest hiring one of Mad Campers self-contained campervans and hitting the Auckland streets like a tourist. With options for both solo and duo travellers, these pimped-out vans include a kitchenette, with a gas cooker, fridge, cutlery, cookware and a water hose, plus a single or double bed. Need some inspo on where to park for the night? Goat Island Camping, next to Leigh Marine Reserve, has a communal campfire and is just a short walk to the beach. Meanwhile, at Whangateau Holiday Park, you can park your van mere steps from the water. Or, you could make tracks to Ōmana Regional Park to sleep on a clifftop overlooking Hauraki Gulf.
WARBLERS RETREAT ECO GLAMPING
If you're keen to rough it a little, but still want some modern luxuries, then Warblers Retreat's Eco Glamping may be the happy medium you're after. Inside this retro 70s caravan, you'll find a plush queen-sized bed, robes and slippers, wifi, board and card games, plus indoor heating and an electric blanket for chilly evenings. Outside, there is a private deck with an outdoor freshwater spa bath and shower, a 'posh' composting toilet, barbecue and outdoor seating.
Of course, there is plenty to see and do around Auckland during your staycation. But if you're not keen to venture far, Cordis checks off the three main holiday boxes by offering somewhere to eat, play and stay. First up, eating: take your pick of dining options, from the diverse culinary offerings of the Eight buffet to casual drinks in the lobby or high tea. You'll have plenty of activities to fill your time with, too, like soaking in the rooftop spa pool and getting pampered at the super swish Chuan Spa. The Cordis boasts 411 rooms so, come sleeptime, you'll the choice of anything from a standard room to an opulent, 120-square-metre suite.
THE GRAND BY SKYCITY
Another city centre option that has everything you need in one spot is The Grand by Skycity. The five-star hotel is in the heart of the city, adjacent to Skycity casino, which gives you easy access to a number of top-notch restaurants and bars, including Masu, Depot, Gusto at the Grand, Huami and Federal Delicatessen. The Grand guests also have access to an indoor pool, spa and sauna, the gym, 24-hour room service and East Day Spa. The spa has 12 treatment rooms, a steam room and brow bar, with treatments ranging from Balinese- and Thai-style massages to LED light facials and foot scrubs.
Discover more exciting things to do (and businesses to support) around Auckland here.
Top image: Te Arai Lodge by Curtis Simmons
Published on November 25, 2020 by Melanie Colwell