Park Regis, Auckland, New Zealand

With the Cricket World Cup and Chinese New Year happening the week I was to travel to Auckland decent, reasonably priced hotels were at a premium and so I ended up at a hotel on Queen Street called the Park Regis. But don’t start thinking that you’ll be staying at anything that looks like the St Regis in New York – far, very far from it.

The hotel is an old office building converted into a hotel and my gut feeling is that the conversion was done on the cheap.

Where to start

  • this hotel was very expensive for what you got, but I suppose the week I was there it was a sellers market
  • the lifts were awful – one time it took 4 attempts for the doors to decide they could close the whole way so we could get moving
  • my room was near the lifts so I got the sound of the bell ringing whenever the lift visited my floor.
  • the room was just badly designed
    • the “desk” was 1m x .5m in size- useless
    • there were no powerpoints near the desk – I had to drape my cables across the sink(!) to get to the powerpoint
    • the phone was beside the bed and the cable wouldn’t reach the “desk” so you had to grab the second chair and pop the phone on that so you could be at the “desk” while using the phone
    • the internet cable was also next to the bed so you had to drape the cable across the room (and across the door) to get the cable to your laptop on the “desk”
    • The Internet service was just pathetic. You signed up for 1GB per day for around $23/day but the kicker is that you only get 300MB of that at full speed, after you’ve used the first 300MB they give you the option to either pay 10c a MB for the remaining 700MB that YOU’VE ALREADY PAID FOR, or they slow you down to a speed that resembles dial-up. Absolutely pathetic.

On the plus side the bathroom was large but not terribly well appointed or maintained – it had one of those prefab shower units in the corner.

I don’t normally say don’t stay somewhere, but do yourself a favour and DON’T STAY HERE!!!!

The Grill, Auckland, New Zealand

On Tuesday there were six hungry people looking for a feed of meat and one of my colleagues had found a place that would not disappoint us.

The Grill is a restaurant in the SKYCITY Grand Hotel in central Auckland.

The Grill, as the name suggests is a meat lovers wet dream. It took quite a long time to make up our minds given the choices on the menu but we were guided to a decision by the great wait staff. In the end two of the group had decided on the Wagyu Burger while the rest of us were convinced to try a couple of share dishes.

The first dish we ordered was the Study of Beef – 3 different cuts of steaks with matching sauces, and the second dish was a Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder. The steaks were very good but the lamb shoulder was excellent. The portions were just the right size to feed 4 of us. In fact we were so full none of us could face dessert.

If you like your meat, and you’re not shy about spending your money, then I heartily recommend you try The Grill in Auckland.

Elliott Stables, Auckland, New Zealand

A number of us were in Auckland for the week to run some training courses so we had the opportunity to eat at some new places.

On Monday we went to Elliott Stables on Elliott Street just behind the Crowne Plaza hotel.

The setup of Elliott Stables reminded of the Hawker Centres in Asia. In the centre of the building is a common seating area used by customers of the 12 or so eateries that are situated around the outer walls.

We got there a tad late after my flight from Melbourne so some establishments had already closed for the evening. The Big Little Grill was still open and the menu looked good so I ordered a Sirloin Steak medium-rare. My first choice was the Lamb Cutlets but they’d just sold their last serving. I also ordered a side of chips and a beer.

Our meal came out in about 15 minutes or so and the steak was cooked to perfection though the portion was probably a little smaller than I thought it would be.

An interesting place to be explored more – website.

Chow, Wellington, New Zealand

I was in Wellington with several colleagues today and we decided that we’d give Chow on Woodward St a try for lunch – my colleagues had both been there before and said they liked it. They usually have good taste in food, so I believed them.

We got there around half eleven, I think we were the first people in for lunch.

We ordered several dishes to share, from memory

  • Red Duck Curry
  • Teriyaki Squid
  • Beef Satay
  • side of Asian Greens
  • Pork and Shitake Mushroom Dumplings
  • Jasmine rice

Let’s get the good dishes out of the way first. The Beef Satay and Asian Greens were very good. Its a pity we didn’t order more of those dishes as I’d have probably left satisfied if that’s all I’d eaten.

But, unfortunately that’s where the goodness ended.

The Pork and Shitake Mushroom Dumplings had little to no flavor at all and were completely forgettable.

The Red Duck Curry was atrocious. Too sweet and way too much coconut milk! I love my curries but could hardly eat this dish and gave up after one spoonful.

The Teriyaki Squid just had no flavor and was rubbery – we should have tried the Salt and Pepper Squid as it could only have been better.

My colleagues were shocked at how the quality and edibility of the food had fallen since they last ate there.

In all, 3 people who won’t be going back to Chow again.

The Bolton Hotel, Wellington, New Zealand

This was my second stay at The Bolton Hotel in Wellington. In a previous job I’d stayed here for a couple of night right after the hotel opened back in 2004 (I think it was ’04… it was a boozy trip… so the memories have faded!).

The hotel is just off The Terrace in a really convenient location near the Beehive and just a 15 minutes walk to where I was working.

The Bolton is a boutique hotel. There’s probably only 8 or so rooms per floor so it has that small hotel feeling (despite the 142 rooms that the hotel actually has). Even the reception area on the ground floor belies the size of the hotel.

I’d been upgraded to a one bedroom premier suite. King sized bed, separate lounge room and a galley kitchen. Huge bathroom too, as I’d been given a disabled room. Only downside was that I looked into the apartment building next door rather than onto the parkland or downtown Wellington… but since I was at work all day it didn’t really matter that much!

Onto the important stuff:

  • Room was very nicely appointed
  • Bed and pillows were great. I had 2 nights of magnificent sleep (despite the timezone change)
  • Room was very quiet… in fact,  didn’t head anything!
  • Room service dinner was OK, probably 7 out of 10 (see below)
  • Free newspaper
  • Internet was pretty standard, but you had to call reception and get an access code to connect. Every other hotel can do this on line… why can’t the Bolton?

The room service

I was feeling a bit peckish after the flight from Melbourne so decided to try room service. Not much on the menu took my fancy so settled on a Red Beef Curry. Don’t get me wrong, the curry was nice, but you could tell that it’d been stewing away for a while and there were some crusty bits from where it hadn’t been stirred often enough. Should have known something was up when they said they’d be up in 15 minutes with my food… and they were!

The glass of Pinot was nice though.

In all, a nice hotel, but the InterContinental is still my favorite in Wellington.