The Langham, Auckland

Auckland is the main international gateway to New Zealand, and many travellers start their trip here. The city is situated towards the top of the North Island, and is home to a third of the country’s population (1.5 million people). The Langham Auckland is the luxury hotel of choice for the city’s most prestigious visitors, but despite its grandeur and prestige, the pretty-in-pink Langham has rooms that are indulgent and yet affordable.

I know the Langham brand well, and was looking forward to my stay here. After a stressful flight delay it was calming to know I would be well looked after at the hotel. My executive corner room on the seventh floor was spacious for city accommodation. The room was sensibly arranged, lavishly decorated with the highest quality materials. I found the bed was instantly inviting, topped with a thick duvet and plumped pillows, and had a wonderfully immersive nights sleep. The petite bathroom was stocked with Zambeli toiletries from Sydney. The small space managed to snugly fit a combined bath-shower, but here the design felt more dated.

While you are staying treat yourself to the delectable Afternoon Tea in the Palm Court. I tried the signature tea with Wedgewood crockery and blended loose teas. The occasion began with a glass of the finest Louis Roederer Rosé Vintage Champagne before the extravagant food arrived. The cake stand was filled with gourmet sandwiches, savoury delicacies and pretty patisseries. My highlights were the unique Cold vichyssoise with smoked venison, delicate Tonka bean mille feuille and the freshly baked plain and lemon scones. Each component was carefully constructed and looked beautiful, an exciting variety of tastes and textures. The food was accompanied with a pot of signature Palm Court Exotic Blend, a delicious pale pink floral tea.

When I stayed, the Langham Auckland was also home to two members of the British royal family, proving that this palatial property is even fit for a (future) King.

More information and book a room at The Langham Auckland here.

Where to Eat, Drink and Shop in Auckland

On first look Auckland is ugly and uninspiring, but discover the hidden corners of creativity and you will have a great time. I particularly loved Ponsonby, an up-and-coming hipster neighbourhood with characterful coffee shops, independent fashion boutiques and forward-thinking eateries.

To Stay

The Langham Auckland – Despite its grandeur and prestige the pretty-in-pink Langham has rooms that are affordable yet luxurious. While you are staying treat yourself to the delectable Afternoon Tea in the Palm Court.

To Eat

Coco’s Cantina – a characterful and welcoming Italian restaurant in Ponsonby. This little neighbourhood eatery was opened in 2009 by two sisters and has become one of Auckland’s most popular dinner spots. The menu offers comforting rustic pasta dishes and homely meat and fish recipes.

Burger Burger – there are two branches of this celebrated burger chain in Auckland. I visited the small outlet in Ponsonby Central, and tried a classic beef burger. Made with Savannah Grass-fed local beef, a secret patty mix, mayo, mustard, tomato jam and homemade pickles, it was a juicy and flavoursome burger, finished within minutes.

Orphan’s Kitchen – the recipient of numerous awards Orphan’s Kitchen delivers on all accounts. The décor is simple and stylish and the food is innovative and delicious. On the first Tuesday of every month they hold a ‘test kitchen’ with a four course set menu to experiment with new recipes.

Geeks on Sainsbury – A recent addition to the food scene in Auckland, GOS is already a favourite with hipsters living nearby. The coffee is supplied by Wellington Roasters Red Rabbit. I sat outside and enjoyed a seriously good brunch and can recommend the BLT ‘best ugly’ bagel with chunky bacon hock, or if you feel like something sweet order the freshly made banana and granola waffles.

To Drink

Golden Dawn – often the most inconspicuous bars serve up the best drinks. This is true of Golden Dawn, the black run down corner shop in Ponsonby… open the front door to reveal the top cocktail bar in town. Try a ‘La Traviata’ cocktail from their winter menu, made with an alluring mix of Saffron gin, lemon, homemade raspberry & rose syrup and cardamom tincture spray.

Camper Coffee – serving up, without doubt, the best coffee in Auckland this tiny hole in the wall in the Newmarket district of town is a must for coffee lovers. I tasted a delicious flat white made by Lee with Rocket beans, strong but smooth, creamy and rich.

The Return of Rad – this trendy café opened in 2014 and is great for brunch or just for a good cup of coffee (using a house blend of Flight beans). The family-run venue is found in Mt Eden Village and is always busy thanks to the friendly atmosphere.

To Shop

Deadly Ponies – perhaps the most prominent designer to come out of New Zealand in recent years, Deadly Ponies (by Liam Bowden) presents high quality leather handbags and purses. All the products are cut and sewn in the heart of New Zealand, and are made to last. The deer nappa leather is soft and durable, and the accessories come in a range of timeless styles and colours.

Miss Crabb – Kristine Crabb designs and creates beautiful and ethereal silk garments. Choose from the range in store or order a bespoke, unique piece. When in store look out for the Curio Noir scented candles in hand blown glass vessels.

Commoners – Founder and designer Jae Mills created the NZ-based label Commoners in 2009. He aims to offer a clean unbranded range of luxe wardrobe staples. 

Everyday Needs – a little boutique stocked full of homeware, stationery and other practical aesthetic items from around the world, with a particular focus on Japanese products. Carefully curated by Katie Lockhart, it is a treasure trove of goodies for collectors.

To Escape

Waiheke Island – Just 35 minutes away by ferry this idyllic region has beautiful golden sand beaches, art galleries to enjoy and plenty of excellent local wine to try.

Thoroughly Modern Milly travelled around New Zealand with the Kiwi Experience, find out information here.