Amora Hotel – Auckland

Stayed: June 2017 (2 nights)
Room:
Deluxe Room
Overall Rating:
 7/10
Price Range: $$$ NZD$169 a night

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I stayed at the lovely Amora Hotel while I was up in Auckland for work. Usually I don’t do reviews for accommodation in New Zealand but I thought there may be some readers on here that will benefit from it when they visit ole’ Kiwiland.

The chain of Amora Hotels have hotels in Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. I’ve only ever stayed at one in New Zealand (Auckland) however we do have one where I live (in Wellington) Don’t expect to stay at the Wellington one any time soon though – they’ve closed down for a year so they can do a full refurbishment. Opening again in 2018*

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I stayed at the Amora Hotel in Auckland for two nights and would probably stay again. The reason I chose this hotel was because 1. It was in my company’s price range and 2. It was close to the company’s head office where I was doing my training.
When I went to check in, the front desk staff were nice but they didn’t really go out of their way to show me where my room was or anything. I guess they are only a 4-Star hotel so I can’t be too fussy.
My room was on the 6th floor and as one of the cheapest rooms, it was quite nice! It was spacious, the bed was one of those typical two king singles pushed together to make a nice big King bed (without the crack in the middle may I add) and the bathroom was tidy, even though a bit small. I also had two comfy-ish chairs with a small table and a small kitchenette near the entranceway with a stove-top, fridge and microwave oven. Surprisingly there was a washer/drier in a closet too so it was perfect for a long-term stayer. However, as your key card slides into the slot on the wall in your room to turn on your power I’m not sure how you’ll leave the washer going when you go out for the day.

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Pros:

  • Big spacious rooms
  • Nice smelling toiletries (I’m that person who always takes them when I leave!!)
  • Great shower pressure
  • Comfy bed
  • Sky TV (certain channels only)
  • Restaurant downstairs
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Free newspaper
  • Close to the main CBD
  • Good selection of room-service food
  • Washer/Drier in room
  • Small kitchen with stove-top & utensils
  • Balcony

Cons:

  • Gym was absolute shit
  • Just being that little bit too far from the city, very easy to walk to the city but walking back you’d probably want to Uber as you go up a slight hill. *Lazy right here!*
  • Dessert menu finishing at 10pm *Cries*

As you can see, I didn’t have too many con’s with this hotel. Yes the staff could be a little friendlier, they weren’t rude as such but to get a higher rating *in my book* the staff have really got to make an effort. Even when I checked out on my last day the front desk staff didn’t even ask how my stay was. They just billed me for the dessert I had one night and then sent me on my way. I felt I was ‘just another customer’ to them. Being in the travel industry and them knowing that you’d think they’d at least ask if I enjoyed myself!
The big thing for me that made me rate them only 7 out of 10 was THE GYM!!
My god, I don’t think you could even call it a gym. I know people don’t work out on holiday but when you’re at a hotel for business you kind of want to keep you daily schedule.
I walked all the way into the city on my first night, had dinner with some friends and was going to go to my usual gym (as they had a club in Auckland too) however I thought I’d give the hotel gym a try without checking it out first. What a mistake that was! I’d even looked online at their pictures and the gym looked fine. They were very deceiving pictures let me tell you.
I took the hotel lift to the basement (which was where all the cars were parked) then walked across to this little dark room that had a sign ‘Gym’ written on the door. I turned the lights on and sitting in front of me was an old rower (with the seat all wobbly) an ancient bike and one of those ‘all-in-one’ weight machines basically all crammed together into a tiny cold room. I legit sat on the rower, hopped off and went back to my room where I did a youtube video workout on abs.

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I’ve had a look on Google and the above picture is what they show on their website as their gym. The don’t even have a treadmill and they’re not arranged in that order either so it’s all lies!
Like I said, I was only staying for two nights so it wasn’t really a massive deal but just a heads up for anyone who’s planning on staying and wants a great workout you’re not gonna get one.

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I didn’t have a swim in the pool, let alone see it at all (as it was dark when I got back) but there is one which I think would be great in the Summer-time. They also have The Grill Restaurant on the main level but I never got around to eating there. I had a lovely dessert delivered to my room on the first night though which I devoured while I had a bath #hotelife but I never got the chance to try out the dinner or breakfast they had to offer.

Overall, apart from the gym it was a pretty good stay. This hotel is central in the Auckland CBD but not so central that when you walk out the door you have restaurants and shops on your door step. It’s good as it’s not so loud at night like some other Auckland hotels but more annoying if you want to go to the Viaduct (where all the good nightlife is) you’d have to take a short taxi or walk for 15 minutes to get to see Auckland’s main attraction – the Sky Tower.

All pictures are property of www.amorahotels.com/hotels/amora-hotel-auckland

 

 

Bay Of Plenty – New Zealand

If you’re holidaying in New Zealand, head to The Bay of Plenty!

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I’ve just had the pleasure of spending the last two weeks in beautiful, sunny Tauranga with my boyfriend and his family who luckily live up there.
The Bay of Plenty is on the Northern Coast of NZ’s North Island. It’s only a 2 and a half hour’s drive away from Auckland which is perfect for over-sees visitors as that’s where the main International Airport is located.img_20170105_153844.jpg

The BOP coastal region is made up of Mount Maunganui, Tauranga, Papamoa, Whakatane, Waihi Beach, KatiKati, Ohope and Te Puke.
Could you pronounce any of those?
Probably not…New Zealand loves their Maori place names 😉

Think white sandy beaches, beautiful sunshine, charming small towns, great shopping and many places to eat and explore.

In the Summer time it gets extremely busy so make sure to book accommodation ahead of time to try and get the best.

Mount Maunganui

This is where I spent most of my time. It’s basically where everyone goes to in the Bay of Plenty for swimming, surfing or eating out.
It’s located just across the harbor from Tauranga and is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean.
“The Mount” which the locals refer to, is actually an extinct Volcano 232m above sea level. You’ll see it as you’re swimming at The Mount Maunganui Beach.

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What To Do Here

  • Walk up the Mount, or even around it if you don’t have the stamina.
    It took me 14 minutes to get to the top and my partner 9 minutes so it’s not extremely hard. There’s two different ways you can go, one way takes you up all the stairs (but is shorter time wise) whereas the other is up a steep track (but is a little longer)
    Families do this walk all the time, it’ll defiantly get you hot and sweaty so make sure to take a bottle of water and lather on the Sunscreen!
    When you see the view, you’ll be glad you did it.
  • Swim at the beach.
    According to Tripadvisor, Mount Maunganui Beach is “The best beach in New Zealand” so while you’re there, pack your togs (Kiwi word for swimmers), a towel and a bottle of sunscreen before heading down to the white sandy shore.
    In the Summer time the beach is the place to be as there’s usually ocean and beach events on. If you’re in the area, click here to see what’s on.
  • Learn to surf
    At the Hibiscus Surf School, Guy and Rebecca will teach you how to surf! Guy has 16 years experience and they’re both fully certified. All equipment is provided and all ages are welcome. Head to http://www.surfschool.co.nz to find out more.
  • Do a Dolphin Seafari
    Dolphin Seafaris have been operating for many years and are the leading professional eco tour operator and provider of watching and swimming with dolphins in the Bay of Plenty area. They have a Certificate of Excellence on Tripadvisor and take ycommon-dolphins-bay-ofou to watch and swim with Dolphins in their natural habitat. Their vessel, the ‘Guardian’ has a huge rear swim platform and has walk through access to the water with 2 large dive ladders for easy access in and out of the water.

Tauranga

Tauranga is one of New Zealand’s main cities for business, international trade, culture, fashion and horticultural science.
In the Summer time the weather is nearly always nice and sunny which makes for a lot of families heading there on their Summer Christmas Vacation.

Neighbouring town Mount Maunganui and Papamoa Beach are the most visited areas around Tauranga so if you can’t quite get accommodation right on the beach, staying in Tauranga is the next best thing.

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Waihi Beach (Pronounced ” Why He”)

A 50 Minutes drive away from central Tauranga, Waihi Beach is a small beach-side town with plenty of accommodation ranging from holiday resorts to camp grounds.
” a great location if you want the flexibility to travel to the Coromandel, ‘Hobbiton’, Rotorua, Tauranga and the Waitomo Caves all from one base.”

What To Do Here

  • Waihi Beach
    Pretty much the main thing to do here is go to the beach!
    With 9km of Ocean and sand, pack yourself a picnic and spend the day at Waihi Beach.
  • Go For a Walk
    At the northern end of the beach near the carpark, you’ll find the start of a popular 3.3km walkway which leads you through pohutukawa forest and beautiful beach scenery to Orokawa Bay. The walk takes nearly an hour so bring some good footwear and a camera.
  • Anzac Bay
    If you’re wanting to swim in really calm waters or have children with you, Anzac Bay is the place to go. The area has beautiful pohutukawa trees which bloom into life every December. It’s a lovely place to escape the crowds of Tauranga and The Mount.

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Ohope Beach

Voted ‘NZ’s Most Loved Beach’, Ohope is full of Sunshine, white sand and fabulous cafes. The western end of the beach is a popular surfing area during the summer and Christmas period whereas the rest of the beach is filled with holiday-goers sun-bathing, swimming and jet skiing.
There’s also a large choice of accommodation available in the holidays with the ‘Ohope Beach Top 10 Holiday Park’ being one of the top choices.

If you’re looking for Sunshine, Ohope has one of the warmest climates and highest sunshine hours in the country!

What To Do Here

  • Surf
    The west end of the beach is great for surfing. It’s sheltered from the northwest wind, plus the water’s often really warm.
  • Walk
    Take a walk to Otarawairere Bay which only takes around 20 minutes. If you’re fit or you’ve never run a day in your life, you’ll enjoy this walk as it’s pretty easy.
    Carry on walking and you’ll go over Kohi Point and down into the CBD of Whakatane (about 2 hours)
  • Golf
    I’m personally not a golf player, but if you want to head away from the beach, Ōhope International Golf Club offers super golfing with views of the Pacific Ocean on one side and Ohiwa Harbour on the other. Play a round of golf and have a main evening meal for the low price of $30 per person on Mondays.
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Credit – Oxfam New Zealand

 

Christmas in Tauranga

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope wherever you are in the world, you’re eating lots, napping lots and drinking lots.I currently have a tummy full of Lindt chocolate and crackers with cheese. Yum yum yum.
Early yesterday (Saturday) morning, my boyfriend and I took the 6 hour drive up to the Bay of Plenty where Nathan’s parents live. We left around 5am and arrived in sunny Tauranga just before lunch time.

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We had an early Christmas last weekend with my parents back home in Wellington as we planned to spend Christmas with Nathan’s parents and his 2 older sisters for Christmas day instead.

When we arrived, we had a lovely lunch Nathan’s mum made us with Chicken and Cranberry Pizza slices, a home made salad and some burgers. I wasn’t sure how I was going to fit dinner in after that!

Luckily, Nathan’s sister Rebecca and I decided to take a walk to the local grocery store so we could get some ingredients for cocktails and a Chocolate Pie I decided to make for Christmas day. We must have burnt off some calories because we were sweating when we got back home! (It wasn’t even that far, I’m just not used to this warm Tauranga weather) we also took the family dog, Jasper down to the beach for his ‘Last beach visit’. He’s very old (90 in dog years) so he can’t leave the house much without his poor legs hurting. 😥 Nathan’s parents don’t think he has many doggie years left in him so the beach was a nice outing for him.

When we eventually made it home from the beach, I started to make my chocolate pies – just the base and filling – then I finished them off with chocolate ganache this afternoon so they’ll be all ready for dessert tonight 😄

If you’ve never been to New Zealand, defintaly try and come over at Christmas time as the weather is much nicer. According to my phone, it’s 23° outside which makes it a true Kiwi Summer Christmas.

Many of you readers overseas will be celebrating Christmas with the fire going, a roast turkey and if you’re lucky, some snow falling outside your window! Here in New Zealand (and Australia) we eat lots of strawberries, have a BBQ outside and head to the beach for some afternoon swimming if the sun is scortching. I love Christmas in NZ but I’ve always wanted to spend a Christmas overseas where it’s Winter and I can put on a silly Christmas jumper with snowmen all over it.
I unfortunately slept in a little bit this morning so I probably held up Nathan’s family with present opening, but when I eventually got ready we all sat next to the Christmas Tree and presents were passed round. In my boyfriends family, we do Secret Santa (or as some call it, Kris Kringle) where we each bought a present for someone we drew out of a hat a few months before.

In the end, I received way more presents than I was expecting! My secret Santa got me a bucket of salted caramel cookies and this really cool dress to wear – which I ended up wearing all day.

Not to mention, Nathan’s parents spoiled me too with PJ’s, lotto scratchies and chocolates.

From Nathan I got a Glasshouse Candle which I’d been not-so-subtly hinting for him to get me as well as some Freddy Wrap Up Pants (Google them, they make your ass look great) and this cute glass container with lots of pieces of paper where he’d written ‘date ideas’ on 😍 he’s so cute!

I gave him his Christmas present back in November when it was his birthday – a trip to Rarotonga! So we’ve both been very spoilt this year.

After opening presents, Nathan’s dad cooked up a BBQ breakfast with bacon, sausages, mushrooms and tomatoes while Suzanne (Nathan’s mum) worked away in the kitchen making French toast, Eggs and Croissants.

It seems like all we’re doing is eating!

After brunch, we all pretty much lazied around the house. Everything is usually shut on Christmas day and no one had any energy to do much anyways. I watched a little bit of ‘Making of a murderer’ on Netflix while everyone else either had a nap or went for a walk.

Around 3pm, Nathan and I eventually decided to get out of the house and headed to Mount Mauganui beach where lots of tourists where laying on the beach or having a swim. It was warm today, but not warm enough to be swimming – in my opinion. Plus it was a bit windy so after our walk, we took a few photos and then headed back home.

The rest of the afternoon we just hung around the house for around bit. I watched some more netflix and we all played some card games before a BBQ dinner with the family.

Boxing day sales tomorrow! I hope there’s some good bargains because my bank account is not feeling very generous this month 😯

We’re staying in Tauranga until after New Years as we’re heading to a festival called Bay Dreams while we’re here from the 1st-2nd of January. It’s basically like a way smaller version of Glastonbury where people camp and listen to live music. If the sun’s shining, it’ll be great! 🌞🌞

Xx