After a full month of exploring New Zealand in a campervan, we were booked in for an absurdly early-hour flight to Australia. I’ll be honest – we had been travelling within our home on wheels across both the South and North Islands and were feeling a little exhausted – so when the opportunity to make our next travels easier came along, I instantly agreed.
Normally, even if I have an early flight, I still book a hotel in a city centre, and then make the often-expensive/time-consuming trek to the airport the next morning. This was the first time I chose to make use of an airport hotel and, as the title suggests, I am a converted traveller. If you’re in Auckland and are booked in for a flight, here’s why I think the Holiday Inn Auckland Airport may just be the best pre-flight accommodation option.
Location, location, location
In a practical sense, this is the most important factor, as an airport hotel should, ideally, eliminate a lot of the hassle involved with catching your next flight. Thankfully, Holiday Inn Auckland Airport is located in the perfect position to get you to the airport very quickly.
Just 3km away from Auckland Airport, you’re looking at a journey time of about five minutes to the airport terminal doors. And getting to the airport is a simple affair, as there’s a shuttle bus that stops right outside the Holiday Inn’s lobby. The shuttle costs NZ$6 for a one-way trip, and it runs between 04:00 and 02:00 every day. Our departure time unfortunately fell just outside of the shuttle bus hours, but we took a quick taxi to the airport instead. To make it even more convenient, you can also keep an eye on the status of your flight in the lobby, as there are big screens here showing up-to-date information on Auckland Airport’s arrivals and departures.
While the hotel may not exactly be in the best location to make the most of central Auckland’s food and entertainment offerings, there are restaurants nearby, as well as one on site (more on this shortly). If you have a car, attractions like Butterfly Creek, Rainbow’s End theme park and Auckland Zoo are all a short drive away.
Not just an ordinary airport stay
Part of the reason why I’ve never booked an airport hotel may stem from my assumption that all airport hotels are rather drab, purely practical affairs, with no frills to speak of. As soon as we arrived at Holiday Inn Auckland Airport, I knew that my presupposition was misguided in this case. As we were being checked in (which they very kindly let us do a lot earlier than as per normal), the receptionist started referring to some of the hotel’s features. He mentioned that our room had a lovely view of the pond and inner courtyard garden. View? Pond? Garden? All of my expectations about just having a convenient bed close to the airport were steadily being proven wrong.
As we made our way to our room for the night, we caught glimpses of the features that the receptionist had mentioned. But it was only once that we got into our room that we could fully appreciate what makes this airport hotel so very special. I’ll get to the room itself in the next section, but this is the view that awaited us when we opened the door to our balcony…
Even though we were on a tight schedule to return our campervan that day, we made sure to take the time to explore the garden. While the pond is the centrepiece, this inner courtyard also includes a herb garden, a swimming pool and plenty of benches and chairs for enjoying the sunshine.
Everything you need for a peaceful night’s sleep
As mentioned earlier, we had been on the road for a full month, taking turns driving huge stretches of road every single day and often waking up early to do so. So when I saw the huge bed in our room at Holiday Inn Auckland Airport, I could hardly contain my excitement. I knew that it meant we would be getting some decent sleep before the next leg of our Big Trip.
I could spend the rest of this post championing the many positive attributes of the bed, but, in a nutshell, it was heavenly. Not only was it comfortable, but there was even a choice between what sort of pillows you prefer, with a selection between soft or firm. We were staying in a Deluxe Room, so the room itself was spacious, with sofas, a TV, coffee- and tea-making facilities, a balcony and a bathroom.
The bathroom also had everything we could wish for, with a bath, shower and eco-friendly toiletries; the shower even featured a massage-option showerhead for an extra bit of pampering. In terms of having a place to relax and unwind, we couldn’t find a single fault with our room for the night.
A splash of luxury
If my experience of Holiday Inn Auckland Airport was solely confined to the room, I would have been overwhelmingly happy already but there were other perks involved with staying at this hotel. This is most notable when looking at the facilities.
As mentioned, there’s a big outdoor pool to use during the day, along with sun loungers, but there’s also an on-site gym with cardio machines and weights (to work off any excess holiday merriment and indulgence). For those that don’t want to venture far for dinner, the hotel is home to Vapor Restaurant, as well as a bar.
In the morning, all visitors get treated to a complimentary breakfast, which includes a hot breakfast buffet, cereals and tea and coffee. Since our flight was ridiculously early, we missed out on the breakfast slot, but the receptionist surprised us with takeaway breakfast bags when we checked out. Once we were at the airport, we looked inside to discover pastries, sandwiches, fruit and juice. We thought that this was a lovely touch, and it was a great way to conclude our stay at Holiday Inn Auckland Airport.
When I plan future trips, our stay at this hotel will definitely make me check out airport accommodation over city centre options. The transport to the airport was effortless and we boarded the flight feeling like we had had a good rest the night before. Our stay at Holiday Inn Auckland Airport not only provided us with some much-needed relaxation and pampering, but it also went a long way in disproving the notion that an airport hotel can only ever be a convenient-but-no-frills experience.
If anything – and this may be an odd thing to admit about an airport hotel – I wish we had a longer stay here, as we felt like we barely got to make use of the hotel’s many features and facilities. But, the next time I’ll be travelling in or out of Auckland, I know where I’ll be staying.
Note: Our stay at Holiday Inn Auckland Airport was complimentary in return for a review but, as always, my opinion and genuine appreciation for some comfort after a month-long campervan experience, are completely my own.
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