Hotel Review – The Langham (Auckland)

Stayed: July 2017 (2 nights)
Room:
Deluxe Room
Overall Rating:
 9/10
Price Range: $$$$ from NZD$199 – $1534 a night

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My lovely boyfriend and I spent two wonderful nights at The Langham Hotel, Auckland in July this year. (Very very late review I know) I’ll start this post off by saying it was definitely one of the best stays I’ve had at any of the hotels I’ve been to in my life!

This time I wasn’t in Auckland for work, more of a weekend away with N where we didn’t really have any plans but to relax, chill out and do a bit of shopping.
I chose The Langham Hotel as I got a good rate through work and they had the well-known Eight Restaurant at the hotel. (A restaurant with eight cuisines and unlimited dining!) which N had been wanting to go to for awhile.

Arriving at The Langham around 7pm, we were amazed at how big and beautiful the lobby was. The smells of ginger flower, rose and jasmine hit you as soon as you entered the room and the grand chandelier hanging from the lobby ceiling really showed how grand the hotel was.
At check-in, we were upgraded from their lead-in Superior Room to a Deluxe Room which was nice of them to do. I personally don’t think there’s too much of a difference between the rooms apart from being higher up in the hotel (better views) and the bed being a bit bigger but we were very thankful for the upgrade.

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There are 411 guest rooms throughout the 10 levels of the hotel which aren’t overly large but definitely enough room for two people! The Langham is a very classic hotel, all beautifully furnished with dark wooden furniture, large king or twin beds and big windows with views of the city. The room we stayed in had everything we needed and more. They also had Executive Rooms and Suites which you can stay in which are so much more luxurious and spacious than your usual rooms if you desire.

I Loved:

  • The turn-down service they provided every night. They closed the black-out curtains to ensure a well rested sleep, folded back the covers and placed a Whittakers Chocolate bar on each side of the bed for us. Such a nice touch!
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  • The bed – it was comfortable and so big I didn’t even feel like I was sleeping next to anyone!
  • The toiletries – they didn’t have your typical small hotel sized shampoos and body wash, they provided decent sized Body wash, Body scrub, Shampoo, Conditioner and Body milk in the bathroom for guests to use which were from the hotels own Chau Spa. Not to mention the amenity box in the bathroom was full of goodies from your usual sewing kit to a toothbrush, shaver and shower cap.
  • The staff!
    This was probably why I enjoyed my stay so much. I always recognize good customer service when I stay anywhere (or eat anywhere for that matter) and I have to say that The Langham Hotel has some of the best staff I have ever come across. Everyone from the valet workers who greeted us when we arrived and offered us an umbrella when it was raining, to the waiters in the restaurant who remembered our faces and asked us about the rugby game they knew we were watching.
    I had enquired about seeing some of the other rooms or suites during our stay to one of the Front Desk staff who ensured if I came back the next day they could try and do something for me. The next day, the gentleman I talked to the night before about seeing the rooms, he hadn’t even started his shift yet but still came up to us to make sure we’d checked out some of the rooms and we’d been taken care of. I just felt everyone went out of their way to make sure we were happy with our stay and we had no problems whatsoever with anything.

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Hotel Facilities:

  • The Langham Club – When you stay in one of the Executive Rooms or Suites you automatically get to enjoy the facilities of The Langham Club. These include fruit and mineral water delivered to your room daily, complimentary pre-dinner drinks and canapés served in The Langham Club Lounge, a butler available for packing, unpacking, shoeshine and the pressing of three garments and not to mention a large breakfast selection for your hunger every morning of your stay.
  • Chuan Spa – With an extensive treatment menu, Chuan Spa is the ultimate in relaxation. From massages to facials, the professional therapists offer it all. 
  • Jacuzzi & Outdoor Pool – As part of the Chuan Spa, hotel guests are allowed to use the outdoor jacuzzi and heated pool as they please. It was raining when we where there but we still enjoyed relaxing in the large Jacuzzi outside. 
  • Gym – As everyone knows, I love a hotel with a good gym. I didn’t get to use the one at The Langham, however I did have a quick peep and it was spacious, modern and everything seemed clean which is a big plus for me!
  • Event Rooms – According to their website, they will help you with small cocktail parties to large corporate dinners and everything in between!

Dining:

Now this was a massive highlight for us. The breakfast was an all-you-can-eat buffet served daily which N and I definitely took advantage of. We even set our alarm so we wouldn’t sleep in and miss out! They had everything from bagels, cereals, toast, croissants, muffins, fruit, waffles, pancakes, yoghurt and an Omelette station where they had someone making omelettes. I haven’t even covered half of what they were offering so hopefully my pictures will show the yummiest of it all!

Dinner was even better, the Eight Restaurant is based on having Eight Cuisines from Asian to Western food and it’s again, an all-you-can-eat buffet. They have a chef at each station cooking up the most delicious meals.

At the Pasta station, you choose your own pasta and what you sauce you’d like and they make it right in front of you. You can select your own seafood and have it arranged into whatever you’d like at the Seafood station. If you love your meat, there’s about 8 different meat selections you can choose from and have cooked to your liking in front of you. They have Beef, Chicken, Venison, Kangaroo and even Alpaca! Personally I stuck with the Chicken.

20170701_213835Once you’ve enjoyed dinner, there’s all these desserts available for you to eat! I’m not gonna lie, I think I sampled everything. I started off with sticky date pudding and apple cinnamon crumble and finished off with cheesecake, salted caramel mousse tarts and macaroons.

20170701_213813The restaurant costs $119 per person, so it’s definitely a lot more than your usual dinner date however it’s quite the experience! It’s also open to the public for Lunch and the Dinner so if you’re staying at the hotel make sure you book Breakfast with your stay and organise a night to enjoy the dinner so you don’t miss out!

Overall I had a wonderful time. As I now work in the travel industry, I always recommend it to clients of mine that are staying for a couple of nights in Auckland. It isn’t super close to the airport (about a 45 minute drive away) so if you’re just stopping in Auckland for a night it’s probably a little too far to travel as a quick stay. 

I know they’re currently doing a renovation of the hotel to make it more ‘modern’. Personally I like it how it is but while we were there we got to have a glimpse of a mock – up room. To describe it in a few words “fresh, white, clean and classic” is what springs to mind with and “touch of glamour”.

 

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

 

 

Castaway Resort – Rarotonga

Stayed: February 2017, 5 Nights
Room: 2 Bedroom Deluxe Suite
Overall Rating: 8/10

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Although it’s not right on Muri Beach where all the more popular resorts are located, Castaway is a hidden little gem located on the western side of Rarotonga.
This resort is known for it’s helpful staff and friendly owners. Whatever you want to do or wherever you want to go, they’ll point you in the right direction with a smile on their face.

The resort is home to a decent sized pool, a bar located next to the water on beautiful white sand and a yummy little restaurant.
I’ll be honest, there is no spa and it’s not super glamorous in terms of beach bureaus located on top of glistening clear waters but it’s defiantly somewhere I would stay again if I just want a holiday to Rarotonga with my family or a nice little break away.

As there were four of us staying in Rarotonga, we where looking at either two rooms next to each other or a nice two bedroom place which we could all enjoy.
When I was booking my accommodation, I was e-mailing the owner of Castaway Resort, Michelle, and she suggested that we get one of their two bedroom suites for our stay.

I was pleasantly surprised with how big the suite was when we arrived!
Two big bedrooms right next door to each other with two bathrooms as well so we never had to share.
One bedroom was the ‘master bedroom’ and had an en-suite, small closet and a chest of drawers with a mirror.
The second bedroom was a bit smaller and had a queen bed along with a single bed (I’m assuming for families with kids) and their bathroom was just across the hall way.

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My boyfriend and I got the Master Bedroom while our friends shared the smaller one.
We all found them to be very comfortable, the only problem our friends had was they didn’t have an air-con unit in their room like we did so they had to leave their door open at night to cool down from the one in the lounge.

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As we’d never been to Rarotonga before, we found the staff to be very helpful in providing us with information and advice on things to do and places to eat. I feel weird even calling them ‘staff’ because the ladies in reception where the most chilled-out, friendly bunch that it just felt like you where staying with friends.

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As we went in the low-season, the resort was pretty quiet (as in we were sometimes the only people in the pool) so it was never over-crowded or very noisy.
The only noise we had was from the room next door to ours on the first night – a group of lads had flown in and drunk lots on their flight so where having a bit of a party. The owners had no problem sorting them out the next day however to ensure that everyone else at the resort had a pleasant and relaxed stay without being kept up all night.

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In the peak season from April – October, I can imagine the themed dinner nights that Castaway provides have lots of people attending. Every night they have something different for their meals, Monday night may be Pasta, Wednesdays may be Mexican and Sundays may be a BBQ night.
We attended the BBQ night on the beach and there was a really great turn-out from people at the resort and other holiday makers from the area (as you can eat at the restaurant even if you’re not a guest)
The food was a buffet of meats, salads and rolls along with some yummy ice-cream and banana cake for dessert after wards.
And if you get hungry during the day, the Beach Bar also have a range of little nibbles you can order such as spring rolls, calamari rings, chicken nuggets and french fries for an afternoon snack in the peak season.

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Pro’s

  • Decent sized rooms
  • Adults only
  • Lovely people who work there, always kind enough to book us activities or recommend things to do
  • Great price
  • Very clean
  • Free local phone calls from your room – great to book dinners etc.
  • BBQ’s available for personal use down near the pool so you can save money on eating out
  • If you don’t feel like the free continental breakfast – you can order pancakes, eggs or french toast off the menu for something a bit different
  • Always felt safe, eg; the rooms had a fire extinguisher, torch and a safe to put your valuables
  • Beach Bar
  • Private Beach
  • Amazing sunset right on the beach
  • Snorkeling gear available for free
  • Easy free parking across the road for guests
  • Themed dinner nights right on the beach
  • A Happy Hour
  • Bus stop literally right outside the resort
  • Bonfires on selected nights on the beach
  • Towels available for swimming
  • Large decks for the Deluxe Suites
  • Proper hair driers in the bathroom – not those small ‘hotel’ ones you always get
  • All rooms have a little kitchen with fridge, sink,  microwave etc…
  • Can book massages & nail services through Reception for an ‘in-room treatment’
  • Little Library at the reception where you can trade in your book for one of the ones available
  • Pool with sun-loungers
  • 10 minute drive from the airport

Con’s

  • No unlimited Wi-Fi (however you can buy a Bluesky SIM card for around $50 for more data)
  • The beach is swim-able but not the nicest in Rarotonga
  • Steps going up to the two bed-room suites. Not really a Con, but wouldn’t be suitable for wheelchairs
  • TV’s only have 1 channel
  • About a 20 minute drive to Muri Beach but if you have a car/scooter it’s not too big of a deal.
  • In the low-season, the bar/restaurant isn’t open until a bit later

If you’re planning on going to Rarotonga on a budget and want to stay somewhere friendly, clean and spacious I’d defiantly recommend Castaway Beach Villas.
Overall, I really enjoyed my stay here (even if it did rain like crazy for the last couple of days haha!)

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