On the site of a former brick windmill in what is today central Auckland, an old Sheraton tower underwent a $9 million renovation in 2006 to become one of the city’s most luxurious hotels: the Langham Auckland. Like the flagship Langham hotel in London, the Langham Auckland is draped in fine silks and velvets, appointed with antiques fit for royalty, and crowned by gilded dome ceilings and chandeliers. It’s a popular meeting place for the corporate elite, featuring a striking ballroom that can accommodate up to 900 people, banquet style. High-tech conferencing equipment including in-house audio-visual staff create a seamless experience, and eco-conscious catering and operations have helped the hotel earn Earth Check Gold certification. When work is complete, there are ample options for unwinding, from the silver-and-teal Palm Court lounge—a more delicate version of the London lobby—and the Chuan Spa, which specializes in traditional Chinese medicine.
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Surrounded by parks in the epicenter of downtown Auckland, the Langham is a convenient springboard for city, nature, and island excursions. The Auckland Domain is just a few blocks away and encompasses the Auckland History Museum and the Auckland War Memorial Museum; the latter is a spiraling beauty of wood and glass with exhibits on art, photography, natural science, and Maori culture, in addition to military history. A short walk farther takes travelers to the chic shopping district of Newmarket, while the eclectic Ponsonby precinct is equidistant from the hotel in the opposite direction. The Langham operates a complimentary shuttle to and from the waterfront as well as a luxury car service for a fee. No trip to Auckland is complete without a decadent meal at the French Café or Orbit Revolving Restaurant—which makes a slow rotation over the city and harbor from atop the Sky Tower.
Need to Know
Rooms: 393 rooms, 16 suites. From $195. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options:Eight is a unique dining concept where guests can choose between eight international cuisines, from just-rolled sushi to authentic Indian curry, and watch it prepared to order at one of eight open kitchens. Two bars, the Winery and SPE Bar and Restaurant, cater to different crowds—the Winery is an elegant place to indulge in fine wine or a classic cocktail, while SPE is a more casual spot for after-work pizza and beer. In 2014, Langham’s signature Palm Court lounge opened, offering à la carte breakfast, light meals, top-shelf drinks, and the lavish Langham afternoon tea experience, all served under a giant crystal chandelier. Spa and gym details:A 24-hour Health Club with Techno Gym equipment and a heated outdoor infinity pool are available along with the Chuan Spa, which draws on traditional Chinese medicine, particularly with regard to balancing the five elements: metal, wood, fire, earth, and water. Before their treatment, guests can indulge in a “tri-bathing ritual” that begins with a warm rinse in a “snail shower” and continues with an ice experience to open pores and increase circulation and then a final relaxation in an herbal steam room. The Five Elements Rebalance includes a stone massage and a foot scrub and massage infused with lemon, peppermint, and cypress.
Who's it best for: Discerning leisure and business travelers who appreciate the finer things in life. Our favorite rooms: Guests staying in a Club room or suite not only get an elegant accommodation adorned with antique-style furnishings in rich reds, greens, and golds. They also have complimentary access to the 10th-floor club lounge, which offers a daily continental breakfast; evening drinks and canapés; ironing and shoe shining; free Internet, printing, faxing, and scanning; and a butler for the duration of their stay. The upper-level suites are all swathed in silk and crushed velvet and offer the same club benefits. The Chuan Haven Suites have the best feng shui. Good to know:Frequent Langham guests should consider joining the Langham Supper Club, a member-based rewards program that offers discounts on rooms, meals, spa services, and special packages at Langham properties around the world.