So, you’ve decided to go to Auckland, New Zealand. Oh man, good choice. Auckland is one of the most surprisingly wonderful, deliciously trendy, sunny cities by the sea that I’ve ever been to. Think small, laidback, artisan hipster turned yuccie with intelligence, sophistication, and class.
If you are the type of traveler who loves staying in the thick of a city’s hustle and bustle, close to the shops and restaurants but still prefer a more warmly intimate, funky, classically New Zealand, design-focused boutique feeling – then the Hotel DeBrett in Auckland is exactly what you’re looking for.
Vibe + Décor
Retro—in a cool Mad Men-esque way—quirky, Art Deco-inspired, colorful and tasteful are the words that best come to mind to describe the Hotel DeBrett. On a Friday night, I see many a modern Kiwi Don Drapers sipping a drink in the House Bar. The building, which was reconstructed in 1925 and renamed the Hotel DeBrett, was one of Auckland’s first hotels. The historical charm adds to the hotel’s character, definitively holding its own amongst the surrounding skyscrapers.
But that quintessential Auckland feeling comes from lovely locals John and Michelle, who put an emphasis on offering the New Zealand experience after reconstructing the hotel in 2007. From the contents of the minibar to the colorful, 100% New Zealand Wool carpet designed by Michelle herself, to the art that lines the walls and the friendly, good-natured staff—it’s exactly what every hotel guest could hope for.
Oh yes, let’s talk about the food. If the soaring glass-roofed atrium in the kitchen isn’t impressive enough, the food is. Amongst the list of distinguished awards the DeBrett has received—including best hotel in New Zealand by Conde Nast Reader’s Choice Awards— their kitchen has also been named as one of Auckland’s top 50 restaurants by Metro (2013 & 2014). While the atmosphere is unpretentious and casual, the food is beautifully constructed—with love in the details.
I was lucky enough to be invited by the Hotel DeBrett to stay in their loft suite. While all rooms at the Hotel are creatively decorated with cool accent pieces and comfortably spacious, the loft is all the more elegant and super cool. Not to mention the bed—I slept like jetlag didn’t exist. While the bed was great, what really got me was the bathroom. That luxurious velvet robe was hard to leave behind—as was the warm floor on my toes in the morning, and that rain shower. Oh, the rain shower. I also personally loved the toiletries, Sans [ceuticals] products are now some of my favorites.
Just a short walk from Hotel DeBrett is the waterfront, as well as an abundance of shops and restaurants. I would recommend heading down to TSG on Quay St. for some Italian street food or to Federal St. where you can find Depot. I may or may not have gone to Depot more than twice in one day…and more than a few times in one week….it was that good—thank you, Al Brown, for creating the perfect mix of casual, seasonal, exquisite food.
If you’re looking for a good souvenir (for yourself…or maybe others) pick-up a Rotorua mud mask from pretty much any of the little souvenir shops in the city or pretty much anything made of lanoline or manuka honey. I personally fell in love with Wild Ferns lip balm, which is made of pure unadulterated Active Manuka Honey. I also became a big fan of the Manuka Doctor Brightening Facial Oil.
*All photos by the author