Travel the world

Auckland City Hotel: A Review

One of the reasons we chose the Auckland City Hotel for our two nights in Auckland was it’s location.

From the Auckland City Hotel, there are many attractions, restaurants, and cultural events within walking distance.

The other big factors in deciding to stay at the Auckland City Hotel were:

  • Good reviews on TripAdvisor
  • The price (which we thought (from the hotel’s website) included Internet access)
  • The entire hotel is non-smoking

The room was really nice looking.  In addition to all the usual amenities (closet, desk, television (they have really nice flat-panel televisions – not that we turned ours on…)), the Auckland City Hotel room we were in had a mini-fridge, microwave, two-burner electric cooktop, kitchen sink, pots, dishes, and silverware.
Auckland City Hotel in Auckland, New Zealand
The room at the Auckland City Hotel also provided portable heaters, a portable air conditioner, a fan, a sofa, and nice comfortable king-sized bed.

This seemed like it was going to be a really nice place to stay.
Auckland City Hotel in Auckland, New Zealand
My first disappointment came after plugging the Internet into my computer and discovering, much to my disappointment, that the Internet costs NZD $30/24 hours or 100 MB.  If you go over 100 MB in 24 hours, there’s an additional charge for EACH MB downloaded.

I realize that Auckland is a big city, but even by expensive hotel standards of New York or LA, charging this much per day for the Internet is exorbitant.  The most I ever paid for Internet was at one of LA’s nicest hotels, where 72 hours of unlimited Internet use cost USD $25 (or about NZD $33 – for 3 days’ unlimited use).

However, a per meg charge, in addition to a flat rate per time period, is something I’ve never experienced in a hotel before, even though we’ve done quite a bit of travel at this point.  To me, it’s a bit insulting to be hit up with that kind of charge when I’m already an paying guest of your hotel at NZD $99/night.
Auckland City Hotel in Auckland, New Zealand
About 1 hour after we checked in, Carrie looked over at me and asked, “Do you smell smoke?”

I had been smelling cigarette smoke for about 5-10 minutes, but not wanting to say anything.  She usually spends some time searching online looking for nice places for us to stay, and I had just told her that the room was “really nice” and that she had made a “good find”.

Sure enough though, the smell of cigarette smoke was wafting around us.  As we got up to investigate where it was coming from, it got particularly strong in the bathroom.  We closed the door to the bathroom, which seemed to help some, but the smell continued wafting in to the room.
Auckland City Hotel in Auckland, New Zealand
When we called the front desk of the Auckland City Hotel, they sent someone to investigate almost immediately.  I was impressed with this great response time.

He knocked on our door and asked us if we were smoking.  When we made it clear we were the ones who had complained about the smoke smell and not the ones smoking, he went looking elsewhere.

I really appreciated the Auckland City Hotel’s quick response to trying to take care of this.

Figuring we’d let the air clear, and a bit hungry, we went for delicious middle eastern food just two blocks away at the nearby (appropriately named) “The Middle East” restaurant.

When we came back to our room, we discovered it still smelled like smoke, but not to the same degree.

Totally exhausted after traveling to Auckland, we fell asleep at 8:30PM.

At 9:00 PM, I got up because something was buzzing in our room.  Taking the keycard out of the slot inside of the room (which you have to put the card in to get the electricity to work in your room in the Auckland City Hotel), I discovered (when the sound and electricity shut off) that the buzzing was coming from the fuse box.

So we’d sleep without the card in the slot, I figured.  No big deal.  It’s better for the environment to have the electricity off anyway, and there was a red light to show me where to put the card (in the dark) to get the electricity back on.

Buzzing stopped, and I went back to bed.

Ten minutes later, all was quiet and I was drifting back to sleep when loud popping and a different kind of intermittent buzzing came from the kitchenette once again.  I got up to discover the mini-fridge having some real challenges (from the sound of things).

Agitated, I unplugged the mini-fridge, which continued it’s intermittent buzz clicking a couple more times before shutting down.  Apparently, the microwave and fridge are on a different power source (since they were still on).  Also apparently, the buzz clicks were mechanical, rather than electrical, because they continued after I unplugged the fridge.

After that, all was great at the Auckland City Hotel until about 1:30AM when I woke up, once again with the strong smell of cigarette smoke in my nose.

Carrie managed to sleep through it, but the smell was strong enough to wake me up.

SMOKERS, you RUIN people’s hotel rooms AND their reputations, by smoking in non-smoking hotels.

For the record, I don’t care if you smoke as a habit.  I sometimes chew my fingernails, but I try not to do it around other people.

If you smoke, that’s your choice.

However, if the hotel is non-smoking, and the hotel prides itself on being a non-smoking facility, why do you EVER check in to this place and choose it as your hotel?  It makes no sense.

If you’re a smoker, don’t stay in non-smoking hotels.  If there are no smoker-friendly options for staying in Auckland, be courteous and smoke outside.

Just DON’T smoke in your room.

It makes me want to start a TripAdvisor type web site JUST for smoker-friendly hotels and restaurants.

If a good site like that existed, maybe I could help other NON-smokers avoid waking up at 1:30 AM in a hotel they’ve paid good money for with the smell of smoke in their nostrils.

Those are my impressions of the Auckland City Hotel as I finish writing this our first night here at 2 AM.

I’ll be posting this review tomorrow from a café somewhere (one with free Internet), and perhaps requesting a different (and hopefully completely non-smoking) hotel room.  We’ve already pre-paid for two nights at the Auckland City Hotel, which is definitely nice.

However, the first night has been disturbed from being a welcoming experience by (what in my mind amounts to) extortionist-level Internet rates (though these rates may be normal in NZ), and some rather rude smokers.

Update from Auckland City Hotel May 17th at 10:11 PM:

Instead of trying to “be nice” and/or “make it work,” the next time I will stick to my guns and request a different room upon waking up, if staying another night in a big hotel like this one.

We bought a wireless card today for the computer to have Internet wherever we are in NZ.  I can already tell we’re going to eat through our 500MB limit very quickly, but I am happy to have wireless access from wherever.

Hotel room again smells like smoke, especially in the bathroom, the door to which is closed and covered on bottom with a towel.  It doesn’t always smell like this I’m sure, and probably Auckland City Hotel doesn’t always have problems with smokers staying here.

However, it certainly is highly offensive to the nose of a non-smoker, not to mention the damage the smoker is causing in whatever room they are staying in, which is going to need to be painted, if nowhere else, at least in the bathroom.

Better smoke detectors might be called for in the bathrooms of the hotel rooms if this hotel is to advertise that it is a non-smoking place and maintain a good reputation for being a place that doesn’t allow smoking.  That certainly has NOT been our experience.

The fridge is still making noise and will need to be unplugged again tonight.  If you get put in room (NUMBER COMING SOON) when you stay at the Auckland City Hotel, you will want to also lodge a complaint about the fridge and see if they will replace it for you or move you to a new room.  It really is quite loud.

We complained politely once, but no real results, so we just won’t be staying here again, even though we’re probably staying at least one more night in Auckland and would rather not move hotels.

It really is too bad.

It seems like the Auckland City Hotel is a nice place.  However, the smoke smell in our room is enough to get us to move hotels.

It’s clear that whatever was done yesterday did not stop the smokers from puffing away in their room, blowing their cigarette smoke stench into our room.

Update May 18 10:10 AM

From the Esquires Coffee right down the way from the Auckland City Hotel

I feel pretty bad for the tone of this review.

We just checked out of the hotel.  I called the front desk at 9:05 AM to ask if we could store the bags at the front desk until the afternoon when we would come back to pick them up.

No problem to store the bags.

Not more than 2 minutes later, the bellhop knocked on our door to take our bags downstairs and store them for the day.  We didn’t even know someone was coming to pick up the bags, but this was a really nice service for them to just show up at the door.

Also, the front desk people were so nice when checking us out.

I’ve also since learned that the situation on using the Internet in New Zealand is that it is just generally expensive.

Auckland City Hotel does charge a lot for their Internet in the rooms, but comparatively speaking, it’s not as expensive as I thought it was.

So, final word on the Auckland City Hotel:

If your room smells like smoke, or your fridge is loud, just ask to move rooms.  I’m sure they will be happy to move you.

The Auckland City Hotel is nice, and even though a bit more expensive than the hostels around, it’s likely quite a bit nicer and definitely worth a stay.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *