Snag a table by the window for views of the Te Papa Museum and the harbour.
Dress like you’ve just been featured in Wallpaper* or recently wrapped up a gallery show; it’s hard to best the hotel’s flamboyance.
Helmed by chef Laurent Loudeac, Hippopotamus Restaurant and Cocktail Bar is all about over-the-top glamour: ornate seating and a stuffed peacock stage whisper to its Gallic-inspired grandeur. On the mod-French menu you’ll find Akaroa salmon with scallops, wild venison with cherries, and a dessert selection sure to satisfy your sweet tooth; special occasions call for the extravagant Discovery Dining menu with a fleet of paired wines. At breakfast, browse the Continental or buffet offerings, or order French toast with candied bacon and banana, muesli with berries and Greek yoghurt, and citrus-poached salmon with turmeric rice.
Follow the sounds of Kiwi reggae, hip-hop and soul to the Lobby Lounge, which shares a space with the check-in area and also hosts live music events on Friday nights. Decorations range from original paintings to a colourful bull’s head wall-hanging and a parked motorcycle. This stylish bar specialises in crafted cocktails; try the sweet-and-sour Clover Club or a mint-muddled Whisky Smash. A menu of nibbles ranging from a Parisian-style croque-monsieur to a sharing portion of beef fillet with potato gratin, is also available from 12 noon to 10pm. A second bar is attached to Hippopotamus Restaurant; order a figgy Aftershow Manhattan or a peppery, rum-based Filthy Diplomat. Oenophiles can work their way through the list of largely regional wines, and whisky, gin and vodka drinkers will find an impressively international range of spirits.
Hippopotamus is open for breakfast from 6.30am to 10.30am during the week, 7am to 11am on weekends and holidays; lunch is served from 12 noon to 2pm Monday to Friday, dinner from 6pm to 10pm every day. The cocktail bar is open daily from 2pm until late.
Order drinks, nibbles and full meals to your door at any time of the day or night. Your minibar is loaded with sweet and savoury snacks, all manner of drinks, and games both fun and flirty.