Review: Hilton Auckland | Prince of Travel

During a quick trip to New Zealand, I stayed at the Hilton Auckland, which is conveniently located just minutes down the road from the Park Hyatt Auckland, where I’d stayed the previous night.

The Hilton Auckland was originally constructed in 2001, but underwent some refurbishment work that was completed in 2016. It’s regarded as one of the better Hilton properties in the world, and an example of Hilton’s strong footprint in New Zealand.

With this in mind, I was looking forward to checking out the property, especially after having enjoyed nice stays at the Hilton Queenstown and Chateau on the Park Christchurch, a DoubleTree by Hilton in the past.

Hilton Auckland – Booking

With the cash rates above $400 NZD ($245 USD, $325 CAD) per night during my chosen dates, I opted to redeem 60,000 Hilton Honors points for this stay instead. It turned out to be a somewhat worthwhile exchange, teetering on the edge of good value.

Having diligently accumulated Hilton Honors points over several years without finding too many truly enticing redemption opportunities, I now found myself with a substantial balance in my account.

Considering the considerable cash expenses incurred at other properties along this trip, I was more than happy to finally put some Hilton points to good use.

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Hilton Auckland – Location

Nestled in the vibrant core of the city, the Hilton Auckland is tucked at the very end of the picturesque (and aptly named) Princes Wharf waterfront, facing out towards the ocean.

Princes Wharf originally served as a bustling commercial wharf in the 1920s, before evolving into a versatile development comprising a blend of functions, including a cruise ship terminal.

The Hilton Auckland has a prime location for exploring the city on foot. As you step out of the hotel, you’ll be greeted by a lively promenade, where you can take a leisurely stroll and soak up the atmosphere.

Within a few minutes from the Hilton Auckland, you’ll reach the hip and very busy Viaduct Harbour. Here, you’ll have your pick of restaurants and nightlife venues to suit your mood. If you’re looking for additional water views, the Waitematā Harbour is just a stone’s throw away from the hotel.

Viaduct Harbour, Auckland

Another attraction that’s close by is the trendy Britomart precinct, which is less than 10 minutes from the hotel by foot.

You can easily head to the City Centre, which is a 10-minute walk from the hotel. Here, you can experience the hustle and bustle of Auckland’s downtown area, with its many shops, museums, and landmarks.

In this area, you’ll also find the Downtown Ferry Terminal, which can take you to other parts of the city or nearby islands. Alternatively, you could walk to the Britomart Transport Centre, which is where you can catch a train or a bus to different destinations in Auckland or other cities in New Zealand

One of the must-see attractions that’s within walking distance of the hotel is the Sky Tower. This is the tallest structure in New Zealand, and can be reached in 10 minutes by foot from the hotel.

The Hilton Auckland is about a 30-minute drive from the Auckland Airport. One of the best ways to get there is by taking a taxi or Uber.

At a lower cost, you can take the SkyBus service directly from the airport. It’s a 40-minute journey to Auckland CBD, and requires a 10-minute walk to reach the property.

Hilton Auckland – Check-in

The Hilton Auckland is housed in a long wharf-shaped building that occupies the northeastern corner of the structure. The building mirrors a neighbouring tower that accommodates upscale condominiums and apartments.

Hilton Auckland – Exterior

Its white exterior is composed of curved balconies, and it evokes the image of a cruise ship permanently anchored on the waterfront.

Hilton Auckland – Exterior
Hilton Auckland – Entrance

As you step inside, the lobby has a cozy yet airy and modern design, with light woods, leather upholstered furniture, and nautical touches set among some greenery.

There’s a circular seating area with a sleek fireplace at the back of the lobby. On the edges of this area, there’s an ample amount seating scattered all over, as well as a connected bar and lounge named the Bellini Bar.

Hilton Auckland – Lobby lounge
Hilton Auckland – Lobby lounge
Hilton Auckland – Lobby lounge

The check-in desk is easy to spot, as it’s fashioned like a boat and crafted entirely of wood.

Hilton Auckland – Check-in desk

During the check-in process, the front desk manager let me know that I’d enjoy complimentary breakfast on account of my Hilton Diamond status.

Additionally, since there’s no lounge at the Hilton Auckland, I was given two complimentary drink tickets as a Diamond member, which could be redeemed at the Bellini Bar.

Of course, I had attempted to “suite-talk” my way to an upgrade; however, my efforts bore no fruit due to the hotel’s high occupancy at the time.

Hilton Auckland – King Deluxe Harbour View Room

Upon entering the King Deluxe Harbour View Room at the Hilton Auckland, my initial impression was that the interiors were rather basic, featuring purple accents and uninspiring décor.

Hilton Auckland – King Deluxe Harbour View Room overview

The room layout consists of a king bed positioned against the left-hand wall, accompanied by a closet and armchair to its left and right, respectively.

Hilton Auckland – King Deluxe Harbour View Room bedroom
Hilton Auckland – King Deluxe Harbour View Room bed
Hilton Auckland – King Deluxe Harbour View Room armchair

Tucked in the room’s right-hand corner, there’s a small desk and an ergonomic chair. As a thoughtful touch, the desk was prepared with a welcome amenity of chocolates.

Hilton Auckland – King Deluxe Harbour View Room desk
Hilton Auckland – King Deluxe Harbour View Room welcome gift

Adjacent to the closet, there’s a minibar equipped with a coffee maker and a kettle for tea.

Hilton Auckland – King Deluxe Harbour View Room minibar

Moving into the bathroom, I couldn’t help but note the somewhat dated appearance of the Hilton Auckland’s rooms.

The floors and walls are adorned with grey and beige tiles, which gave off an older, less contemporary vibe.

Hilton Auckland – King Deluxe Harbour View Room bathroom
Hilton Auckland – King Deluxe Harbour View Room vanity

On the right-hand wall of the bathroom, there’s a deep bathtub, and on the opposite side, a small walk-in shower and a toilet.

Hilton Auckland – King Deluxe Harbour View Room bathtub
Hilton Auckland – King Deluxe Harbour View Room shower & toilet

The King Deluxe Harbour View Room has a pleasant balcony with impressive views. Upon check-in, the sweeping harbour views were on full display; however, they were obstructed at times by cruise ships docking in the harbour.

Hilton Auckland – King Deluxe Harbour View Room balcony
Hilton Auckland – King Deluxe Harbour View Room balcony furniture
Hilton Auckland – King Deluxe Harbour View Room balcony view

The King Deluxe Harbour View Room at the Hilton Auckland offers a comfortable bed, a spacious balcony, and attractive harbour views.

However, the room also has some drawbacks, such as the basic and outdated interiors, and the occasional cruise ship tooting its horn in the morning upon pulling into the harbour and blocking the view.

Overall, I felt that the room was adequate for my needs, but not exceptional or memorable by any means.

Hilton Auckland – Breakfast

Breakfast is hosted at FISH, the hotel’s main restaurant, which is located on the second floor. The restaurant serves breakfast on weekdays starting at 6:30am, and on weekends starting at 7am.

The restaurant is certainly on trend, with a cozy and inviting ambiance, as well as rich wood accents and a fireplace on the deck. There’s ample natural light and the stunning harbour views fill the restaurant from every angle.

Hilton Auckland – FISH seating

As a Hilton Diamond member, I enjoyed both the à la carte and buffet options during my stay. However, I was informed that starting from March 6, 2023, Diamond members only get the à la carte menu and the cold buffet for free, and they’d have to pay extra for the hot buffet.

I found this change to be rather disappointing, and I’d say that it certainly reduces the overall value of staying here as a Hilton Diamond member.

The à la carte menu offered a simple but satisfying selection of eggs, pancakes, and hot beverages.

The hot buffet catered to Western classics, with various egg dishes, grilled vegetables, and roasted potatoes, as well as bacon, sausage, and waffles.

The cold buffet had a wide and varied range of items, such as pastries, yogurt, muesli, chia pudding, fresh fruit, cheese, and cured meats.

Some novel elements available included homemade juice shots made with fresh fruits and vegetables, and an impressive fresh juice bar.

Hilton Auckland – Beverage selection
Hilton Auckland – Beverage selection

In essence, the complimentary breakfast was decent, but not necessarily outstanding. Without the hot buffet option as a Hilton Diamond member, it’d likely fall short of my expectations on future visits.

Hilton Auckland – Other Facilities

Bellini Bar is a cocktail bar and restaurant located on the ground floor of the Hilton Auckland, open from 7am to 11pm daily. It offers a lovely waterfront view and serves a range of drinks and dishes from 7am–11pm daily.

Hilton Auckland – Bellini Bar

As a Diamond member, I was given two complimentary drink tickets to be redeemed here, which I traded for a few glasses of Oyster Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in the evening.

The hotel’s fitness centre and pool are located adjacent to one another on the fourth floor of the property. The fitness centre is open 24 hours a day, whereas the pool is open from 6am–10pm daily.

Hilton Auckland – Fitness centre & pool entrance

The fitness centre is fairly standard, but it offers some pleasant views of the property. You can find a handful of cardio equipment and a free-weight station and refreshment station with towels.

Hilton Auckland – Fitness centre
Hilton Auckland – Fitness centre
Hilton Auckland – Fitness centre

Additionally, there’s a small outdoor terrace where you grab some fresh air while you stretch.

Hilton Auckland – Fitness centre outdoor balcony

Perched on the fourth floor of the hotel, the pool at the Hilton Auckland is an outdoor heated lap pool that offers a nice view of the harbour through a glass wall at the end.

Hilton Auckland – Outdoor pool
Hilton Auckland – Outdoor pool
Hilton Auckland – Outdoor pool

However, the pool is rather narrow and looks a bit rough around the edges, as if it needs some renovations. On the bright side, there are a few recliners around the pool deck where you can relax and enjoy the scenic panorama of the city and water.

Hilton Auckland – View from pool


The Hilton Auckland is adequate for a short stay, but besides the unique waterfront location, not much about it was particularly exceptional or memorable. 

I had high hopes for this property given the interesting location and design, as well as Hilton’s general strength in New Zealand. Unfortunately, I felt that the hotel’s upkeep is a bit behind, and the hotel also hinted at negative changes to the breakfast offering for Diamond members.

Upon checking out, I felt rather ambivalent about the Hilton Auckland, and I’ll likely look elsewhere upon my next visit.


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