Destination Guide


Unknown Image

With twice the land mass of London, Auckland is a seemingly never-ending sprawl that’s often treated as a fly-over destination by travelers eager to get into New Zealand’s wild landscapes. But within the concrete mess, there are treasures to be found – and the locals are as nice as anyone you will meet in the country.


We only feature hotels that we can vouch for first-hand. With Indagare Plus,members receive special amenities.

View All Hotels

Suite at Sofitel Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Sofitel Auckland

Surprisingly, New Zealand’s largest city doesn’t have a real winner in the luxury hotel scene (where is the Eichardt’s of Auckland?). Currently, the Sofitel, located at the entrance of the Viaduct Harbour and in walking distance to most major sights, jostles for the top position with the Hilton (the Langham is tired and in dire need of a make over). The French-run hotel has a lot going for it – redone entirely in 2012, it feels fresh and modern, with its 172 rooms and suites done in a chocolate-beige-white color scheme, with comfortable king-sized beds, floor-to-ceiling windows and large bathrooms, with separate tubs and showers.

You yearn for a little more personality in the somewhat confusingly laid-out common spaces, including a lobby lounge that overlooks interior pools and courtyards but doesn’t really come together in the Zen way the architect presumably had in mind. The staff, however, including a plugged-in and speedy concierge team, is extremely friendly and works hard to keep guests – many of who are passing through town on business – happy. In the evening, the property’s Sabrage Bar on the ground floor has a surprisingly good mix of locals and visitors and a nice menu of local wines. It’s a nice spot for a cocktail or glass of wine before heading out to the trendy Wynyard Quarter to dinner. The fact that many Auckland sights and restaurants are within walking distance is the property’s greatest draw.

Unknown image

The Boatshed

The casual-cool Boatshed, on Waiheke Island, is set on a hillside above Little Oneroa Beach and has views of the bay, always dotted by boats. Its suites are tucked into different wooden structures, including a boat shed (of course), as well as an incredibly romantic lighthouse-style tower (complete with wooden deck) and two freestanding clapboard bungalows.

Interiors are designer friendly and boast a nautical theme, with blue and white color schemes, overstuffed couches like the ones found in New England summer cottages and sailing memorabilia. Floors are reclaimed, stripped wood, and some rooms come with fireplaces and freestanding bathtubs. Best of all, the lovely team behind this cute lodge – there are just five suites and the two bungalows – has put a lot of thought into the amenities, which include beach bags, sun tan lotion, umbrellas and sun hats.

As with all properties belonging to the Luxury Lodges of New Zealand group, the Boatshed places a firm emphasis on food and wine – meals are a multi-course affair here, and some of the fruit and vegetables are grown in a lovely kitchen garden on property. (Another highlight is the Waiheke Island–roasted coffee for breakfast.)

Waiheke has touches of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket – on a much smaller scale. Guests can rent bikes to explore (though be aware that the island is quite hilly, so it's a work out) or walk to Oneroa and Little Oneroa beaches, both of which are excellent for swimming during the summertime. You can also stroll into Oneroa village, one of the few places in all of New Zealand that manages a collection of some cute shops with locally made treasures, as well as arts and craft studios. And then, of course, there are the wineries: Waiheke is known for a few terrific vineyards and olive groves that can be sampled (read more about the wineries here). At the end of the day, guests return to a sumptuous four-course meal in a candle-lit, seaside ambience that's supremely romantic.

Ready to go and in need of expert trip planning? Contact us today.

Start My Trip

Welcome back,
log in to Indagare

Not a member?

Forgot Password

Enter your email and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.

Type the first 3 letters to begin