SO/: a playful new hotel in Auckland

This story first appeared in Vacations & Travel magazine, autumn 2019, issue 110

This impressive new 130-room property in downtown Auckland boasts numerous playful touches. 

Occasionally you stumble across something in a hotel that makes you wonder how you ever lived without it. Not only does SO/ Auckland have a freestanding bathtub in every room, but they’re all fitted with a wooden bath caddy that can hold two wine glasses. Genius.

This is just one of the innovative elements here. Enter the sexy, black marble lobby and you’ll find seats fashioned out of up-ended sofas, a $170,000 ‘mega chandelier’ containing 68 separate lights and staff kitted out in bright red pants and plum jackets.

SO/ Auckland
SO/ Auckland

This is the first SO/ property in the Pacific region but it continues the brand’s ethos of showcasing the work of a well-known local designer, in this case avant-garde Kiwi fashion house World. It created the staff uniforms, the artwork and the swirling emblem that appears throughout the property.

The hotel’s entry-level ‘So Cosy’ rooms are spacious with bathtubs, rain showers and lots of natural light. Upgrade to a suite and you’ll get a separate sitting room, a balcony and access to Club Signature – a two-level lounge that serves breakfast, afternoon tea and evening canapes.

Overseeing Harbour Society, the property’s 15th-floor restaurant, is Michelin-starred chef Marc de Passorio, who once cooked for Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin. He’s producing spectacular dishes such as vodka-infused crayfish and Merino lamb with harissa and rosemary.

SO/ Auckland
SO/ Auckland

You’ll find similar attention to detail in the Mixo lobby bar and the soon-to-be-opened spa, which will offer treatments including chakra balancing and Tibetan sound healing.

While the hotel is steps from the boutiques of Britomart and the bars and restaurants of Wynyard Quarter and the Viaduct, I suspect many guests will find it hard to escape the welcoming embrace of Hi-So, the property’s 16th-floor rooftop bar. Order a signature JAFE martini, grab a front-row seat on the terrace and enjoy the sweeping views over the city and Waitemata Harbour.

Prices start from $NZ469 (around A$448) per room, per night.

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