Value Score Poor Value
Good For Solo
Sooo quiet, sooo nice and so close to everything
The name in the VT database and therefore in the title is wrong, it is the Grand Chancellor and not the Grand. I have notified VT staff and hope for a speedy correction.
James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor
I was pleasantly surprised by the Wotif rates of the Grand Chancellor, so booked in for several nights at this 4.5 star hotel. I paid NZ$ 119 for most of the nights and NZ$ 169 for a bed and buffet breakfast deal on a night when Wellington was fully booked due to the Football World Cup decider of the All Whites against Bahrain.
I enjoyed the stay in this hotel very much. It started with super friendly staff at the reception. The room was incredibly quiet. The walls even nearly swallowed the hot sex of a permanently horny couple in the room next door. Probably I only heard it because I had to work (write stories) until after 4am, and nobody but me and those two were awake ;-)))
We were on the 25th floor of a 26 storey building. Only minus: We did not have views of Wellington Harbour which would have made the stay perfect but only of the hills behind the hotel and other high-rise buildings of downtown Wellington. You had the views from the hallways.
I found the breakfast buffet ok but not overwhelming, given the fact that it cost NZ$ 25pp. For my taste there was too much tinned fruit, no natural yogurt, no great muesli choice on offer, and a very poor selection of bread and rolls. Was there even cake? But the omelette made to order right on site was delicious. The staff served coffee and tea in a very attentive and friendly way.
The refurbished room was spacious and fitted with high quality furniture, including super king size bed, very wide desk and a smaller second desk next to the bed, plus a sofa. The bathroom was big, with the shower over bathtub and plenty of storage space on the vanity top. Unless so many modern bathrooms this one was not fitted with plastic panels but porcelain tiles. If I wanted to nit-pick I would criticise the silicon seals which did not look their best.
You could request daily newspapers which were delivered to your door free of charge. When once our paper was missing (they said they get stolen from time to time by guests who have not requested any) another one was delivered within very short time.
The good service did not stop there. I forgot my gym clothes in the wardrobe, they were mailed after I called and arrived in Lyttelton (Christchurch) per fast post within two days.
As you can now suspect, we also worked out in the hotel gym. This was a bit disappointing – but I think they know themselves that this very small gym is not attractive, so they offer complimentary use of a gym just a minute’s walk away. The hotel gym has only several cardio machines and a small set of dumbells – all of which had weights not suitable for my training although I work out with three different weights. I did not test the out-of-house gym, so cannot say anything about it. But for cardio workout the hotel gym was sufficient for me.
The location on The Terrace, an elevated street above Lambton Quay, is great, and even greater because the hotel is directly accessible from Lambton Quay via an elevator in James Cook Arcade. This arcade, however, is closed after 1am, so you have to walk up to The Terrace entrance, either through Boulcott Street if you come from drinking at Courtenay Place, or via the Plimmer Steps or Bolton Street if you come from the parliamentary zone or the railway station.
Internet use and charges were very strange.
For a start let me give out a warning:
Do under no circumstances connect your laptop/netbook to the network cable on the desk. I did not do it because it could have meant that I would have had to pay NZ$ 33 and some cents for 24 hours with a usage limit of 100 MB.
I had been informed about different rates at the business centre. Those rates were also available in the room when we used our wireless connection. You could choose between various plans, ranging from short-term use to two worryingly different 24 hour plans. One was the NZ$ 33 plan for 1 day and 100 MB, the other one was for 24 hours and 100 MB – and cost NZ$ 15. Please explain the difference… But the mysteries went on. Long after the end of the 24 hours I was still working on the same plan and the same access code. On day three the system told me that my time was over. I signed up for another 24 hours but could sign in with the old access code, never had to sign up another credit card charge, and the countdown started again. Mysterious but very cost-effective. Best you do not tell them, or somebody gets the idea and tries to remedy the charging system ;-)
Room rates range from NZ$ 119 to 300. Always check package deals and offers on Wotif, and compare with the rates on the hotel’s website, especially Earlybird Saver rates.
You can also dine in the hotel. Whitby’s restaurant does not have à la carte menu but also an extensive buffet at relatively affordable rates.
If you arrive at the airport, take the Airport Flyer (bus) and leave it at the stop Cable Car/Capital on the Quay. This journey should not take longer than 20 to 25 minutes. The stops are announced and indicated in this bus. The single trip costs NZ$ 8. If you plan further bus trips on the same day get yourself a Star (day) Pass for NZ$ 12.
From the bus stop it is just about 20 to 30 metres back in the direction where you came from. You cannot miss the yellow sign “James Cook Arcade”. Walk through this arcade, past several shops and food outlets. Take the elevator on the left and press the hotel exit of the Grand Chancellor (level 8). Turn to the left and walk to the Grand Chancellor reception.
A taxi from the airport would cost about NZ$ 40.
Cost for a taxi ride from the Interislander ferry comes to about NZ$ 12, from the railway station NZ$ 7. Or take the bus (NZ$ 1.50), it is just two or three stops. Lots of buses departing at the railway station drive through Lambton Quay, headed for the airport, Courtenay Place, Island Bay, etc.
Photo 2 shows the room from a different angle.
Photo 3 shows the vanity side of the bathroom, photo 4 the bathtub/shower.
On photo 5 you see the fabulous downtown and harbour view from the hallway. Try to get a room with such a view!
The James Cook is sited up on The Terrace and is a good place to stay. It is central to shopping and facilities on Lambton Quay and not too far from the central train station. Access to the hotel can also be gained through the James Cook Archade on Lambton Quay directly across from the Esprit shop.
The rooms are standard in size with good sized beds. Last time I was here my room was a bit on the warm side but good nonetheless. I stay here when on Business depending which office I need to be at (if it's the one on Willis St then I stay here).
Unique Quality: There is a resonable gym on L16 and restaurant facilities if you don't want to go out to eat. Room service breakfast is good and hotel service of a high standard.
Central and good quality accommodation
This is where my parents in law stayed when they came to Wellington. I had a look at their room, and it was of high quality, but it was also pretty expensive. If you've got the money though, it's comfortable, and also central to everything.
James Cook Hotel
My room was a comfortable room but nothing special. Had a queen bed, TV, couch, table, mini bar and bathroom (shower over bath).
I ate at Sojourn's which is the hotel's in-house bar and restaurant. The service and food were both good.
Internet Access is available in the business centre. Cost is $5 for 15mins on the computer which is a bit expensive.
Unique Quality: No Pool or Spa facilities but it does have a special massage/ beauty treatment service.
Central and comfortable.
This is not the most modern nor uptodate hotel in the city. However it is very centrally placed, very easy to find from the motorway, has underground valet parking and really is a very convenient place to stay if you want to be in the heart of the city.
Unique Quality: Freephone from within New Zealand: 0800 275 337.
There are two buildings, and the higher levels, are the better rooms. However they are also more expensive.
These rooms also have a nice view over the city and harbour if you are on the right side.
Conference rooms available, and it's possible to host a function and have it all under one roof, including accommodation.
You are right in the heart of the main city shops, and no need to take taxi rides to get to them. Although it is walking distance, you may like to take a cab to the Te Papa Museum, for around $10 NZD.
Directions: The Terrace, Downtown Wellington City.
James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor
The James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor was just called the James Cook when I last stayed there. It is a 5* and very centrally located in the business district, opposite the shopping district. Its also just a short walk to the cable car and botanical gardens. There is a restaurant and piano bar.
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