A stay at the InterContinental Wellington
I recently posted some details on the InterContinental Wellington in my recent article titled My first InterContinental experience.
Since then I decided to post a more detailed review of my stay that took place between Friday November 26th and Monday November 29th 2010.
My trip to Wellington was planned quite a few months ago, but I wasn’t sure which hotel I would stay at and ended up changing my hotel between the Novotel, Holiday Inn and InterContinental before deciding on the InterContinental.
I was a bit concerned as some of the reviews weren’t fantastic, but eventually made up my mind and on the day before my stay I booked at King Bed Club InterContinental Room. I often book Club rooms when travelling overseas, as the extra benefits such as the lounge make travelling that bit more enjoyable.
As it turns out, I was glad I chose the InterContinental and it will be my hotel of choice for future trips to Wellington.
I used my Entertainment Gold Card to book the room and secured a very reasonable rate of NZD$824 (AUD$624) including tax or NZD$274 (AUD$207) per night including taxes.
The booking was made through the Priority Club web site to ensure that it was associated with my InterContinental Ambassador membership.
Before leaving home I did what I always do and checked that my reservation was still intact on the Priority Club site. Everything was fine, and I noticed that my room had changed to a King Bed Spa Club InterContinental Room (the highest non-suite room, and one category up from what I had booked).
That’s tick one; my guaranteed upgrade (benefit of InterContinental Ambassador) already taken care of.
After a very enjoyable flight across from Sydney, I arrived at the InterContinental at around 11:55pm (35 minutes from landing) and encountered the most efficient check in process that I have ever experienced.
Instead of filling out, checking and signing registration forms, handing over my credit card for the usual authorisation, etc. after a check to make sure my ID was intact and the credit card was the one on file I was given my room keys, a club letter and a quick rundown on how everything worked (including some of my Ambassador benefits such as the free in room movie during my stay).
With keys in hand I took the elevator up to the 8th floor to go to my room.
My room at the InterContinental was well appointed, clean and certainly one of the larger non suite hotel rooms I have stayed in.
Upon arrival I noticed that on the desk there was a welcome note along with two bottles of mineral water (one sparkling, one non-sparkling) and a tray of fruit with freshly cut pineapple and a mandarin. The fruit was a nice touch and made for a nice refreshment before going to bed.
The desk was an ample size and at one of two large windows that provided a view of the city and the harbour. There was also a separate sitting area with a two seater sofa and a single seat couch. The LCD television was located on a cabinet in between the bed area and the sitting area so it could be easily rotated to face the right direction.
I didn’t take many photos inside the room, but did film a quick video (unfortunately I forgot to do this before making a mess):
Other touches in the room that you don’t often see these days included the daily turn down service with chocolates, and a goodnight card placed on your pillow each day with something interesting about Wellington (the cards were different each day).
The bathroom was very well appointed, with a large corner spa bath (you can see it in the video above) and a separate shower with two independent shower heads.
Plenty of toiletries were provided and I was also pleasantly surprised to find an amenity kit that contained items such as a toothbrush with toothpaste, disposable razor with shaving cream, floss and a few other personal care items.
These items were separately sealed and replenished daily when used.
They provided some bath salts for use in the spa, and the rubber ducky was also a nice touch. The spa bath was a very enjoyable way to relax after the day.
The Next Morning
After a great sleep I woke up to get ready for the day. I did however find the pillows a bit soft, and in hindsight should have used the “pillow menu” to order one that was a bit more firm.
When leaving the room on the Saturday I found the weekend newspaper hanging in a bag on the bedroom door. I found this a nice touch.
Ready for the day, it was time to go in search of breakfast. The hotel offers several breakfast options, which I will cover.
The Club Lounge
Located on level 9 (the top floor), the Club Lounge is for club guests and provides standard club features such as an attendant who can make reservations, etc. and provides various light refreshments during the day. The lounge has a fantastic view of the harbour.
The first time I entered the Club Lounge was for breakfast. This is described as a deluxe continental breakfast and featured the standard assorted items including bircher muesli, fresh fruit, a platter of meats such as salmon, etc. plus bakery including pastries and breads. Fresh juice was also on offer, and there was a small refrigerator containing bottled drinks such as water and more juice.
The second time I entered the lounge was for the pre-dinner drinks service. I decided to have a few glasses of New Zealand sparkling wine and try some of the canapes on offer (these included various chips, dips and cheeses).
I had a full itinerary during the days I was in Wellington so these were the only two times I entered the lounge.
The Lobby Restaurant (full Breakfast)
If you do not want to have the breakfast in the club lounge, the hotel offers the full hotel breakfast for club guests at NZD$10 (discounted from the standard rate which is NZ$35 from memory).
Breakfast was fantastic with a variety of hot food including bacon, eggs, sausages, pancakes, etc. There was also a lot of cold food including fruit and the other typical continental items.
I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food, and I was also very pleased to see short cut bacon (canadian bacon) on offer instead of the usual long fatty strips of middle bacon.
Fresh espresso coffee is offered (included in the rate), and there was also an assortment of juices. The themed daily juice blends were a nice touch - the juice on the Sunday morning was an appropriately themed “refreshing hangover cure”.
On my final evening I didn’t have dinner due to a late lunch and instead decided to get room service and watch the included movie.
I ordered my traditional club sandwich, and it was delivered a short time after. No complaints with the room service, although it’s a pity that the same couldn’t be said about the movie - “Killers” a movie starring Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl was quite bad.
Gym / Pool
The hotel has a fully equipped gym and swimming pool. I did not use these facilities during my stay.
The location is an important of a hotel is just as important as the facilities within. The InterContinental is located adjacent to the harbour, and right in the middle of Wellington. It’s a comfortable 10 minute walk to Courtenay Place; the bar and restaurant district.
Alas, it was finally time to leave Wellington and check out of the hotel.
I used some of my late checkout benefit included with Ambassador status, and checked out at around 12:30pm (my flight back to Australia was at 3pm).
After checking out I asked one of the staff to organise a car to the airport but instead he offered to take me in the hotel car (a new Holden Caprice or similar, I can’t remember) - for $35. As that was the same as what I paid in the taxi from the airport to the hotel, I happily accepted.
Observations and conclusion
The staff at the InterContinental were fantastic and very friendly. The extra touches such as the welcome note, the ample supply of complimentary spring and sparkling water, the newspaper in the bag right through to the rubber ducky and the ride in the hotel car made for a very pleasant stay.
I’ll certainly be coming back again.