Review: Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
I have stayed in many nice hotels around the world, and the Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa would have to be one of the best - great shame it was only a one-night stay.
As a Hilton Diamond Member, I am entitled to a range of privileges that aren't usually on offer for non-members or even those who are Blue, Silver or Gold. We booked a Deluxe Lake View Room, and got upgraded to the Lake Wakatipu Suite. The one bedroom suites offer unobscured lake views enjoyed from higher levels of the building, and is beautiful to look out over late in the evening with a nice glass of wine.
It's an interesting journey between the check in area and the room (1115), where you have to go down an elevator, walk through two hallways, and then go up another elevator, where you enter a landing area with access to four rooms. Some people that have reviewed the hotel have mentioned staff offering to help show them to their room, but this was not offered to us in this instance. This was alright, as we managed to find the room ourselves reasonably easily. Soon after we arrived, a staff member brought to our room a plate of baked goods, fruit and nuts, two free bottles of OnePure water, and a signed welcome letter from the hotel manager, Chris Ehmann.
The rooms have alpine décor, a gas fireplace (that looks like it has wood in it) and a lounge room separate from the bedroom. You can adjust the temperature of the heated floors in the bathroom, the heat intensity of the fireplace, or put on air-conditioning in summer. A private balcony contains two seats and a small table, which is lovely to enjoy with a cup of coffee in the morning. There is an abundance of natural lighting, with at least three windows to the lounge, one to the bedroom, and one for the bathroom. It is surprising how natural lighting can really open up a hotel room and make it feel much more spacious.
The bathroom offers two basins, separate bath and walk in shower with rain head shower, and Peter Thomas Roth amenities (a standard feature of Hilton Hotels).
The bedroom has a king-sized Hilton Serenity bed. There were small stains on the sheets which made me feel that they possibly hadn't washed them, but the bed otherwise seemed clean so perhaps it was left over post-washing. The bed was very comfortable and we had a good night sleep. We had a turndown service whilst we were out for dinner, which included another two free bottles of water, all the blinds being shut, the sheets pulled back, and a couple of small Whittaker's Chocolates.
We were offered full buffet breakfast for two people, which is usually valued at $39 per person, and this was one of the best breakfast buffets I have had, with a beautiful enclosed, heated 'outside' table overlooking the lake from the Wakatipu Grill. Only thing that was disappointing was that the cafe styled coffee cost extra, whereas other hotels (including the Queenstown Crowne Plaza Hotel where we stayed the earlier two nights of our stay) often include this for free, and usually would be free should this Hilton have had an Executive Lounge. The hotel could look at making this a small additional benefit for their Hilton Diamond HHonors Guests to make up for the lack of a Lounge.
A range of other bars and restaurants are on offer at the hotel.
As a guest to the Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa, you have access to a beautifully laid out and designed heated indoor swimming pool, hot tub spa, and steam and sauna rooms. We tried these facilities out, and they were very nice. There were a few issues - when we visited (around 9pm), there were not many towels left, and the rooms (including the shower rooms and changing rooms) were an absolute mess. There was only one locker available, but there was no key to lock it - so I was concerned as to where I should put my valuables whilst I shower before using the facilities. And I wasn't sure why there was only one locker, seeing as there was only two other people in the swimming pool at the time. I am guessing that other hotels guests use them for the duration of their stay and take the keys with them.
If you want some exercise, there are some good trails around the hotel along the waterfront, and to an old bridge which is currently one way and causing traffic delays (so leave a little earlier if you're staying at this hotel hoping to not have to leave for the airport until close to your departure time). The hotel has a well equipped Fitness Centre featuring Precor cardio equipment including elliptical fitness cross trainers, stationary bikes, treadmills and free weights, plus a dedicated room for Yoga, Pilates and Stretching
As a Diamond member, I get access to premium free w-fi. Everyone who stays at this hotel can have access to free standard wi-fi. They simply need to join up online as a HHonors member, and even the most basic member who has never stayed at a Hilton before can get access for free, providing their member number is against their booking (and this can still be quoted to the staff member at check in). So don't complain about the cost! Just join up for free - you don't even need a physical membership card, just use their mobile app.
The hotel is best accessed via car. Many people on TripAdvisor have rated this hotel lower because of the location - they are not claiming to be located in the centre of Queenstown. It is the guest's responsibility to make sure they are aware of the location where they are staying. Kawarau Village Jetty delivers guests by water taxi to the town centre for $10 one way, which takes about 8 minutes. The Queenstown Cycle Trail runs directly in front of the Village, bringing visitors by foot and by bike. Valet car parking and complimentary self parking are available for day and overnight guests - which we used for our hire car (the free parking that is). There is also the hotel shuttle bus (which you must book), and the public bus service. The hotel is in a lovely quiet area and is nice for those wanting to tour the region and not just do town based activities. I have uploaded the information sheets that the hotel give you at check in which include shuttle times, so please check them out here.
According to the welcome letter I was provided with, I was supposed to receive a free newspaper. I asked for this at the front desk and was told I could buy one from the convenience store. I told them it was supposed to be a benefit, and they said they would have one delivered to the room, which never happened. Small issue, but could perhaps be reflective of some of the issues this hotel has in terms of customer service (as commented on by reviewers on other sites).
We were given a late check out until 2.30pm, which I highly appreciated as our flight back to Auckland was at 3.30pm. Small hiccup with our room keys not letting us back in the room at 12.30pm after we got back from a morning drive, but someone came from the front desk to let us back into our room, which we then didn't leave until we checked out.
All up, we were very happy with our stay and will definitely come back to the Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa the next time we are in the region.