Auckland, New Zealand

Hotel Grand Windsor

Rates per night from$103.66

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (NZD173.04), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Roaring Twenties redux

Setting

Walk to the waterfront

The longtime resident of Auckland’s first skyscraper, Hotel Grand Windsor is an art deco landmark with roaring twenties-style interiors. Built in 1928, the building marked the arrival of a new architectural age – one that arrived hand in hand with decadence and indulgence. Now completely refurbished, the hotel is as decorative as ever, with marble floors, velvet furnishings and golden chandeliers making it seem like you’ve walked into a jazz-age jewellery box. Upstairs, this theme is given a further turn of the screw: each room is inspired by Wallis Simpson’s infamously expensive jewellery collection, reborn in the gem-coloured velvets, gold-toned lights and bathrooms clad in pearlescent tiles. These interiors were made for loafing, but the hotel’s location also puts a world of diversions on the doorstep, including some of New Zealand’s best modern art galleries and homegrown fashion boutiques.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A signature mocktail and plate of seasonal sweets for two

Facilities

Photos Hotel Grand Windsor facilities

Need to know

Rooms

79, including 12 suites.

Check–Out

11am. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from £96.49 (NZ$199), including tax at 15 per cent.

More details

Rates don’t include breakfast. Go Continental (NZ$22) with fresh bread and pastries; kefir yoghurt; muesli and chia jars; fruit salad; cold cut and cheese. The Full English (NZ$32) includes all of the above and a hot dish from the à la carte menu.

Also

Art deco aficionados should keep an eye out for the Vulcan Building, Smith and Caughey's department store and the Civic Theatre, all of which are within walking distance of the hotel.

At the hotel

A compact gym, free Wifi throughout and laundry. In rooms: flatscreen TV with Sky; minibar; Bose Bluetooth speaker; Nespresso coffee machine; T2 tea set; free bottled water and Floris bath products.

Our favourite rooms

We’d go for one of the junior suites, which have a seperate living room with a velvet sofa and armchairs – the perfect spot to sip your T2 tea. The Classic and Superior Rooms are equally stylish but are quite compact; if you’re a stickler for space, you’ll probably want to go for a Luxury Room or larger.

Poolside

There’s no full-size pool, but you can book a private session in the plunge pool.

Packing tips

Leave room for a purchase or two – Auckland is New Zealand’s fashion capital.

Also

All the common areas are wheelchair accessible, as are three of the guest rooms.

Children

All ages are welcome, but the hotel is best suited for adults. There are no extra beds, so children would have to share the bed or have a room of their own.

Food and Drink

Photos Hotel Grand Windsor food and drink

Top Table

Take your pick from a lustrous silver sofa or golden armchair – the tables themselves are all fairly equal.

Dress Code

Sleek shapes and geometric prints are the order of the day.

Hotel restaurant

Cooke’s takes its name from the the original Windsor House restaurant, which opened its doors in 1928. The days of the flapper may be behind us, but the decor captures the decadence of that era with its polished parquet floors, marble-topped tables, velvet chairs and gilt-framed mirrors. The food, too, has roots in the Golden Age, with many of the dishes riffing off original Cooke’s favourites, particularly the crumbed pork shoulder, served with scotch and apple sauce, crackling and potato pave. Executive chef Jinu Abraham is big on organic wholefoods and vegetarian cuisine, too, so there’s no shortage of healthy options.

Hotel bar

Part of the restaurant, the bar channels Twenties glamour with plenty of marble, gold-toned metal and glossy velvet. Go for a cocktail that was popular at the time – an old fashioned, corpse reviver or mint julep, for instance.

Last orders

Breakfast is served form 6.30am to 10.30am; lunch from noon to 2pm; dinner from 5.30pm to 10pm.

Room service

Room service is available around the clock; the full menu is available until 10.30pm, when an overnight menu of light bites, snacks and desserts comes into play.

Location

Photos Hotel Grand Windsor location
Address
Hotel Grand Windsor
58-60 Queen St
Auckland
1001
New Zealand

Hotel Grand Windsor is on Queen Street, smack-bang in the middle of downtown Auckland.

Planes

Auckland Airport is closest, around 40 minutes by car. Flying from the UK involves a stopover, often in Singapore, Hong Kong or Los Angeles. From London Heathrow, the trip usually takes around 27 hours.

Automobiles

You won’t need your own set of wheels in the city – the hotel’s in the heart of the central business district (CBD), putting you within walking distance of the best boutiques, bars and restaurants, including those on the waterfront. Auckland Transport buses, trains and ferries have you covered when you want to venture further afield. If you still want to hire a car, the Smith24 team can arrange it.

Worth getting out of bed for

Chef Jinu Abraham’s wholesome breakfasts are reason enough to throw off the covers. His preference for organic and free-range produce makes the hot dishes shine, paired with zesty tisanes or speciality coffee. If you’ve been out sightseeing all day, swing back to hotel for their high tea, a tradition that’s been going since the 1930s, when the building was home to Cooke’s Tearoom. Beyond the hotel, all the diversions of downtown await. Wellington may be the country’s official culture capital, but no city in the country has a bigger art scene than Auckland. Te Tuhi, Gow Langsford and the Auckland Art Gallery are brimming with the work of national artists, both established and emerging. Another creative industry that’s booming in Auckland is fashion – check out Zambesi, Maggie Marilyn and Deadly Ponies for a taste of the local talent. But while Auckland is the only city in the country approaching anything like a metropolis, its immediate surroundings include wide beaches, moss-green cliffs and snow-capped volcanoes, putting natural splendour within easy reach. A 40-minute ferry-ride will take you to Waiheke Island, home to almost 30 wineries producing some of the country’s best wine. At 600 years old, Rangitoto is the youngest volcano in New Zealand, and its 259-metre-high peak offers panoramic views of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf. The island’s coastal crust of jagged rock soon gives way to a lush green interior, making it a favourite among hikers.

Local restaurants

Skipped breakfast? Stylish café Major Sprout is fast becoming a local hero, with diners flocking in droves for their smoked-salmon omelettes, first-rate fry-ups and buttermilk pancakes, served with a decadent topping of almond mascarpone, butterscotch, torched marshmallows and toasted granola. Their lunch menu is just as covetable, featuring several Korean dishes – try the bibimbap or sticky fried chicken. For a waterfront lunch, try Buoy on the Westhaven Marina, the heart of Auckland’s yachting scene. Sliding glass doors lead to a terrace on the water’s edge, where you can sit and survey the bobbing boats. The beer-battered fish and seafood chowder are both winners, particularly on a breezy day. Owned by celebrity chef Al Brown, Depot is perfect for a relaxed dinner. This lively, industrial-style eatery is famed for its plates of plump oysters and succulent meat dishes – think racks of ribs, beef brisket and lamb neck – all cooked over a hardwood or charcoal grill. Pair with jugs of craft beer or a bottle of New Zealand wine – the list is full of Al’s favourites. For all-out fine-dining, book the Grove, a stylish but un-snooty restaurant next to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The kitchen's produce is drawn from some of New Zealand’s best small suppliers, cooked with as much precision and flair as the best Parisian restaurants.

Local bars

It might be in Auckland’s fashionable Britomart development, but Caretaker feels more like a slice of 1920s New York, complete with a ‘hidden’ entrance, brick walls and barmen filleting ice by hand. Its prohibition-era looks make it a louche counterpart to the hotel’s polished elegance. You won’t find any watered-down hooch, however: no corners are cut when it comes to their craft cocktails, many of which are based on drinks that were popular in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Reviews

Photos Hotel Grand Windsor reviews
Elizabeth Rhodes

Anonymous review

By Elizabeth Rhodes, PR pro

Fresh air is good for you. A lack of fresh air…isn’t. A lack of fresh air and being wedged into a small seat for sitting, sleeping and eating, for 30 solid hours, really isn’t either. But it’s a means to an end; and when the end is the inviting city of Auckland, the beauty of New Zealand’s vast open country beyond, and the more immediate appeal of cosy hideaway Hotel Grand Windsor, a lack of fresh air and an awkward journey in a small seat is absolutely 100 per cent fine by me – in fact, I’d do it all over again.

After 30 hours in-flight, I step out of the taxi blinking in the daylight and lock eyes on my final destination. The prospect of a cool shower and a fresh pair of pants is very alluring – and necessary: the reality is that I look like I’d be lucky to get a room in the grimiest of hostels and definitely don’t exude the air of a luxury-hotel guest. I’m aware that the best hotels are schooled in treating everyone who steps over the threshold with the same impeccable attention, however unwashed the guest’s hair may be; still, my expectations aren’t high for my reception.

And yet, the warmth of the welcome gets me every time. I think our Antipodean friends are particularly good at it. You can return from riding bareback across an outback station for five hours, and, instead of retreating at the sight of your dust-covered limbs, the doorman metaphorically embraces you, taking the sort of unfeigned interest in you and your journey that makes you think you don’t look so terrible. All the while magically summoning a deliciously chilled iced tea and whisking you through to reception. It’s the sort of heroic hosting Hotel Grand Windsor showed me. And it was heavenly. The hotel, I should note here, smells amazing. Scent is something I only seem to notice if it’s either extremely good or face-crumpling-ly bad. I don’t know how hotels manage it, but this place smells subtly expensive, in a way that’s carefully considered, so as not to overpower you but to invoke something subconsciously pleasurable. Nice. 

Stepping into a boutique hotel bedroom is one of my all-time favourite things. It’s an incredibly indulgent experience. You know that time and care has gone into preparing for your arrival, and – if I’m perfectly honest – as soon as I shut the door behind me I get a rush of excitement. I whip around every corner, opening the cupboards, taking in the view, ducking into the bathroom, touching the towels, delighting over the dressing gowns and so on. Hotel rooms like this one – with its elegant Art Deco-inspired interior, classic crisp white sheets, enormous bed and extremely spacious shower – promise a heavenly stay. 

With Commercial Harbour and Bay just a five-minute walk away, this hotel couldn’t be better placed for strolling around the city. We find a waterfront spot for lunch and, as we sit there, along comes a man to fire a cannon. No, we weren’t expecting it either. A small cannon, but a cannon nonetheless. It turns out to be an attraction run by the New Zealand Maritime Museum; the cannon firing dates back to the 19th century, when it was used to regulate the ships’ timepieces, and each day at noon it attracts a small but jolly crowd. I’ve included this here because if you’re in the vicinity at the relevant hour and need to stave off jet-lag, this little jolt will do the trick. 

Winding our way back to the Windsor after a full first day in Auckland (that we filled with a walk up to Ponsonby Road, followed by crisp glasses of local Sauvignon, while we basked in the first rays of sunshine we’d seen in far too many months), we set our sights on dinner. The half-open kitchen runs along one side of hotel restaurant Cooke’s – near enough to see the chefs theatrically preparing dishes, but not so near that you need worry about your new wide-leg trousers going up in flames should you absentmindedly brush up against a grill. With a menu that’s full of New Zealand produce, both organic and locally sourced, and an ambience that inspires a slower pace than that which dictates my dining habits in a wild working week, dinner here is a delight. Naturally, the wine menu has a variety of home-grown grapes, including a Pinot Noir my palate still desires. And, if you arrive here and find yourself wavering over the dessert list, don’t: you’ll have the divine pumpkin-and-ginger pudding with lemon and lavender custard.

Grand Hotel Windsor is housed in a heritage building that has served a variety of purposes since it was built in 1928: tea house, china shop, now a history-laden hotel, which – with its welcoming staff, elegant interiors and delectable dining – stands tall as the ultimate traveller’s treat and a worthy Smith hotel, indeed.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Hotel Grand Windsor’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Don't be fooled by the unassuming facade of this hotel – it has hidden depths. Being frequent travelers, we like a good moan about the increasing rarity of impeccable service and so it is only right that we celebrate it when we do find it. From the moment we dragged our tired-selves and heavy bags out of the taxi, the staff were on hand to help.By the time we were sitting at the check in desk sipping our ice-tea, we almost felt like our 30-something hour flight was a distant memory. The room itself was perhaps small compared to some hotels in the city but we didn't feel cramped at all - there was plenty of room for both of our ginormous suitcases on the luggage racks and we happily kicked back with the complimentary pot of T2 and bowls of nibbles in a pair of wingback armchairs at the end of the bed. The bed itself was the stuff of dreams. The quality of bedding and linen was such that I wanted to ask them where I could find a set of the sheets for myself. Needless to say, we slept like logs!

Don’t expect

A massive room.

Rating

Stayed on 12 Jan 2019