Westin Auckland Lighter Quay

21 Viaduct Harbour Avenue, Lighter Quay, Auckland, North Island, 1010, New Zealand

More about Westin Auckland Lighter Quay

Sleek and Sophisticated - The Westin Auckland, Lighter Quay

by TripAdvisor Member TCinSF

This hotel opened in June 2007, and we hoped the kinks would be all worked out by the time we arrived six months later. To my delight, all worries were unfounded. Here are my highlights:

- The service was a standout, which started with an upgraded to the deluxe room upon our arrival. The bellhop not only took our bags, but when asked to recommend a local dining experience, he suggested Iguacu (worth it) and booked our cab ride to the restaurant. Checkout was easy and quick.
- The hotel and interior rooms are stylishly modern with a nice balance of dark woods, windows to let in lots of light, furniture in warm neutral tones and the water sculpture.
- We especially love the heavenly shower and bed.
- It is in an excellent location near shopping, museums, restaurants and the waterfront.
- High speed internet connection is a great deal at $NZ5/hr.

However, we do have a couple of suggestions:
- The gym is a little small, albeit efficient. Mirrors by the weight area would be helpful for people working out and give the illusion of a larger space.
- TV channels are limited to a few local and 3-4 news stations all covering the same thing at the same time. It would be great to see a larger, more varied selection.

Overall, we were very impressed and will definitely stay there again.

Beyond Our Expectations!

by TripAdvisor Member SuzanneDawn

The Westin Auckland Lighter Quay was the perfect place to start our three week trip to New Zealand. We arrived exhausted from Chicago and were greeted by helpful, friendly staff. Our room was comfortable, elegant, spacious, and spotless. The hotel is beautifully decorated with original artwork that is New Zealand and Maori influenced. There's a great breakfast/lunch place at the hotel that was perfect for a quick breakfast before we started our day. Also, the concierge(s) gave us great advice for days trips, including a wonderful "Urban Maori" experience by Potiki Adventures. We also took a day trip to Waiheke Island via ferry. The ferry terminal is only minutes away, along with restaurants and shopping. Finally, the spa at the hotel was fantastic....I had one of the best massages I've had in years. We couldn't have been any happier with our choice to stay here.

Poor views generally, over-priced, good restaurant, impractical room design

by TripAdvisor Member GoodWineGoodFriends

My wife and I visited the Westin Auckland for a 3-night stay at the beginning of a 16 day tour of New Zealand's north island. It was our "grand entrance" to the country before utilising more economically-priced accommodation at locations outside New Zealand's largest city and business centre.

I had intended to make our reservation for a Harbour View room via the Starwood website at the quoted price of NZ$465/night but after consulting wotif.com, I discovered that the wotif price was $410 for the same room type. I decided to test the Starwood "Best Rate Guarantee" whereby any cheaper verifiable third party web offer will be matched and discounted a further 10% by Starwood. I completed the Starwood online form and within 5 hours received email from Starwood confirming that my claim had been approved. A reservation number accompanied this communication. I then emailed the hotel and received a very prompt reply stating that the room had been reserved at the discounted rate of NZ$369/night. The rate was subsequently honoured by the hotel without any hassle. The Harbour View room rate includes access to the Executive Club.

The hotel is well located on the fringe of the CBD and an approximate ten-minute walk from Auckland's lively harbour-front restaurants. A ten minute walk in the opposite direction is also well worthwhile, revealing Auckland's excellent fresh fish market. This is truly a secret and not well documented in tourist literature. The fish market's low-profile restaurant serves wonderfully prepared and very fresh dishes at lunch time and is well patronised by the locals - arrive early at say midday to secure a table. But I digress.

The Westin is a low-profile 5-floor torroidal (square donut) structure. Much of the enclosed 'courtyard' is taken up by a very large, shallow pond of water filled with grey pebbles. While the architects had a field day, we found the overall grey colours of the building and ponds to be uninspiring.

We arrived at 20:00 on a Tuesday but there was no doorman to greet us. However, the reception staff was young and enthusiastic. Impressively, they knew my name before I had given it. Perhaps I was the only guest expected to arrive that evening? The receptionist issued two key cards and we proceeded to the elevator, which required the key cards for activation. Unfortunately neither of our cards would activate the elevator. We returned to the reception desk and the cards were re-cut. This time, we could use the elevator but we could not open our room door with either card. Back to reception again to get a card re-cut and we could now operate the elevator as well as enter our room. However, neither card would allow elevator access to the floor where the Executive Club is located. A third card recut excercise was need and at last we had access to the elevator, room and Club.

Our first impression of the room was of modern elegance. Large ceiling to floor windows with sliding glass doors to a tiny balcony gave excellent views across a small yacht harbour to modern low-rise buildings, mostly apartments, with office towers and the city's dominant SkyTower behind.

We noted that unless a guest requests, and pays for, a Harbour View room, it is almost inevitable that the view will be poor. Rooms on the inside of the hotel 'donut' all stare at each other while only one side of the four external sides of the hotel faces the yacht harbour. Guests in non-Harbour external rooms will be treated to excellent views of either the Vodafone New Zealand headquarters, a run-down light industrial zone (mostly warehouses) or a modern apartment building (very close by - too close for adequate privacy.)

The bathroom is large, with a 'Fergie' bath and separate shower cubicle. We soon discovered the lack of a soap holder in the latter - peculiar and impractical, as others have noted. However, we enjoyed the large flat-panel 'rainforest' showerhead on the ceiling as well as the excellent conventional showerhead on the wall. We were disappointed with the tiny wardrobe, the tiniest we have ever seen in a hotel room. Incomprehensibly, the coathanger bar extends from the front to the back of the wardrobe rather than from left to right, making the identification, removal and hanging of clothing awkward. The safe in the wardrobe consumes additional scarce space and operates differently to most of the hotel safes that we have used. It was locked on arrival and there were no operating instructions. We called for help, which arrived promptly. However, we were somewhat uncomfortable to note that the low-level maintenance man who serviced us could crack the combination on the safe within 5 seconds.

The Westin Heavenly Bed was superb. Linen was fresh, crisp and very comfortable.

A 32" Samsung LCD TV is placed such that there's no-where to sit with a full-frontal view of the screen - unless the screen is rotated 90 degrees and dangerously perpendicular to the wall. The usual cable channels are available, although CNBC is absent from the line-up. Unusual for a business hotel in a business city.

Broadband internet access was provided in the room via ethernet cable at a price of NZ$5/hour or part thereof (so two short 5-minute sessions will cost $10) but there is a maximum charge of NZ$25/day. Most of the far cheaper hotels at which we subsequently stayed provided Broadband Wireless facilities free of charge.

We enjoyed the Q restaurant on our first night. It is stunningly decorated with Mexican marble, illuminated from behind to emphasise the marble's orange grain. We found the menu to be quite innovative and the kitchen executed well. Service was good. Our three-course meal for two, including a bottle of local wine, cost NZ$180. The iced juniper apple soup with mini gravlax and sour cream blini and the roasted Hapuka (fish) with paprika squid were excellent, fresh and innovative after a long flight.

Not so the Executive Club, which we attended the following morning. Breakfast was a rather basic affair (included in the room rate) and compared poorly with Club deals in other hotels that we have experienced around the world. Our gold standard in this regard is the InterContinental Sydney, where the Club is on the rooftop with stunning views and an excellent breakfast buffet. Alas, the Westin Auckland Executive Club is located on the inside of the hotel 'donut,' although on the top floor. The window shadings are drawn because the view simply presents a study of the roof over a ground-floor function room at the hotel - and views into guest rooms.

Later we again attended the Club for complimentary drinks and canapes in the evening, just after Club opening time. Once again this was disappointing. Only one bottle of local sparkling white wine had been chilled and was rapidly emptied by the guests. There was a reasonable range of other drinks on hand. The butler pleaded for a half-hour of time to allow the next bottle to chill. The canapes were inadequate. Only two choices and not enough to supply everyone. The Westin is under-resourcing its Club operation. There was just one attendant who, to his credit, did well in the circumstances. He could remember the names of all guests and was pleasant and enthusiastic. Wireless Broadband is supposedly available free in the Club but I could not get it to work with my notebook (I am experienced with using this technology).

Our subsequent time at the hotel was somewhat disappointing, given its high price by New Zealand standards. Our room was poorly serviced and basic items such as bathroom supplies and coffee/tea were not replenished. We requested these and they were promptly brought to the room but having to place calls to get our room re-stocked because the service personnel had not done their job was annoying.

Checkout, which was at 06:30 on a Friday morning, proceeded smoothly and very pleasantly. Unfortunately the Club was not open at this hour for breakfast.

Would we stay at the Westin Auckland again? Definitely not - the views from regular rooms are poor, while the price of Harbour View rooms with complimentary Club access is not justified due to the unattractive location of the Club and the under-resourcing of its food and beverage service. Earlier TA reviews suggest that the hotel had teething problems in its early days. However, it has now been open for almost 6 months and these problems should have all been addressed by now. Unfortunately this is not the case.

Excellent Experience

by TripAdvisor Member travels21

We stayed at this hotel after arriving in Auckland from a 13 hour flight form San Francisco. We had booked the Corner Harbor View Room. We stayed for 1 night. We were traveling on our Honeymoon.

The room itself was well appointed with good views of the harbor. The location is outstanding - easy walks to the ferry, sailing cruises, restaurants, etc). The staff easily exceeded our expectations for our 1 day stay.

*Please note, we are rating the overall experience based on what one would expect for a hotel of this class. So this hotel was certainly above average, but not excellent for it's class range.

Has potential but disspointing

by TripAdvisor Member RMEIKLEJ

We arrived very late at night and were treated to a prompt and efficient checkin. Well designed building, great interiors.

There were a few issues though.
*One room had a blocked toilet at the time of our checkin that stank out the room;
*another had to endure the road noise
*the air conditioning didn't work in two of the three rooms.
*The buffet breakfast was more suited to a Travel Inn rather than a hotel with this number of stars.
*The few niggles in room design mentioned by other reviewers were evident.

On the positive side the hotel was calm and well located, the staff helpful (an item left in a room was duely kept and tagged - although the guest wasn't contacted about it and had to call the hotel)

Overall: If you get one of the rooms facing over the atrium with working air conditioning it'd be a great base to eat in the fantastic restaurants just around the corner

Delightful Experience

by TripAdvisor Member brooks42

We arrived at abut 6:30 a.m. after the 13+ hour flight from San Francisco and were extremly grateful that the hospitable reception staff permitted us a "very early" check-in. From that point forward our three day stay was delightful. The Harbour View room offered a perfect site for people watching and yacth gazing with waterfront restaurants, the exceptional Maritime Museum and the city center an easy walk from the hotel. It would be difficult to beat this location if you have only a couple of days to explore Auckland proper. The hotel is contemporary with tasteful decor and a peaceful ambiance.

The young man hosting the Executive Club was exceptional. A gracious host, he was always ready with recommendations, reservations, a cheerful smile and an unobtrusive friendliness. I'm not sure what other reviewers who criticized the Club expected, but as frequent world travelers, we found the continental breakfast and the afternoon wine and canapes to be perfectly acceptable.

All in all, a great visit and we would recommend it to anyone who appreciates professional service in a location that favors a sailing and maritime atmosphere.

Good but not great

by TripAdvisor Member Sydneyboys

This is a high quality 5 star hotel, location is good with nice water views, you are 10 min walk to town. Our room was large and the bathroom had a large bath and separate shower.

Very comfy bed and great flat screen TV. Though nice the room had no soul, everything is hotel beige , However they are very comfortable and the beds truly are heavenly.

One odd thing was there are no power points in the bathroom and no area in the bedroom to use the hair dryer that is hidden in the wardrobe?

Check in is at three pm and even then we were made to wait another hour.

Staff were great and the restaurant was very good though not cheap.

Great location and lovely hotel

by TripAdvisor Member TravelBug1SF

Our 2 night stay at the Westin was perfect. We arrived on an early 5AM flight and went straight to the hotel to check-in. When we arrived at 6AM the hotel was sold out the night before but they quickly cleaned a room that had already checked out and served us tea in the really cool and contemporary lobby full of comfy couches. So we had a room by 6:45 AM....after a wonderful shower (the bathrooms are amazing) and a nap in the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in we headed out to see the town. I've stayed in hundreds of hotels around the world and thought the Westin was really nice and the staff were excellent. I'd highly recommend it and it's worth the extra few dollars to get a check in so early and be so conveniently located. The concierge also sent us to great restaurants in the the area. The hotel is very chic and right on the waterfront in a quiet location.

Over and above the normal Westin

by TripAdvisor Member cariad422

A great location at the water's edge, close to all the ferries, water activites and downtown, but far enough away to be restful and charming, the Westin provides a wonderful base to explore Auckland.
The hotel exceeded our expectations. On arrival we were immediately asked about a late-check out (membership required). We explained that we had a rental car that we needed to return ASAP, and it was immediately taken care of - the concierge called the rental company and somebody picked it up - thank you!
The room was great, very typical of a Westin, clean and well maintained. with a pretty harbour view. It was well sound-proofed, or else everyone staying there was very quiet.
The restaurant however knocked our socks off - was this really a a Westin? Amazing food. Why didn't we eat there earlier? Tthis is not your usual Westin fare. Listen to the waiter - they are more than happy to tell you about the dishes. The bar also had a knowledgeable friendly staff.
The pool may be small but the chances are you will be the only person in there., and it is warm. The gym area was seldom used but a great amenity
On check-out we were asked if we wanted a taxi booked, dinner reservations and invited to the Lounge to while away the hours before our very late flight. Excellent customer service continued to the Lounge, along with complimentary tea/coffee or soft drinks and biscuits. This is how all Westin hotel should be.

Nice Hotel

by TripAdvisor Member Shastar

Very modern hotel, beautiful interior design, room was of decent size (and I haven't got a problem with a view overlooking Vodafone's headquarters). Would definitely stay there again


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Forum Posts

Where to stay in Auckland, Roturoa, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown?

by franas

Hello, I'm visiting in May. Need recommendation for a reasonable priced and centrally-located motel-type (drive-up!) accommodation which is clean and safe for a family? I will be renting a car for the duration of the vacation.

Re: Where to stay in Auckland, Roturoa, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown?

by vtveen

You could take a look on the website of AA with a lot of information about New Zealand. For accommodation see: http://www.aatravel.co.nz/accommodation-newzealand/

happy travels

Where to stay in Auckland, Roturoa, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown?

by kiwi

Don't forget to read member pages written right here at VT:
and NZ Tourism's official site:

Jaap's AA link is really good too.
Where are you coming from??

Re: Where to stay in Auckland, Roturoa, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown?

by franas

Thanks for the quick response, vtveen and kiwi. I'm from the US. I stayed for a while in Christchurch and Wellington back in the 70's. First time coming back and imagine that everything must be so different and strange again.

Where to stay in Auckland, Roturoa, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown?

by kiwi

Yep we've sort of changed a bit since then :-)
Well have fun on this visit, let's know if you need any more help. Hard to give opinions though, without knowing your likes etc. We all like different things :-)

Re: Where to stay in Auckland, Roturoa, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown?

by franas

Is Empire Apartment Hotel in Auckland a good place to stay? The address is 21 Whitaker. The price is right and there's free internet!


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