The hotel is located in the bohemian heart of the city and right on the doorstep of the city’s best shops, cafes and bars.
THE PLACE CQ Quality Hotel, Wellington.
LOCATION The hotel is in Cuba St, which is in the bohemian heart of Wellington’s CDB and right on the doorstep of the city’s best shops, cafes and restaurants and bars, everything you need or want is with walking distance. The harbour is about an easy 15-minute walk from the hotel as is Te Papa (tepapa.govt.nz), the national museum, and the main city beach.
THE SPACE CQ Quality Hotel adjoins Comfort Hotel, and both are owned and operated by CQ Hotels Wellington. The hotels share service areas and facilities including the front desk, lounge area, bar, restaurant, pool, gym and staff. The three-and-a-half-star CQ Quality Hotel offers 67 rooms while three-star Comfort Hotel offers 115 rooms. The downside to shared facilities such as the indoor pool and gym, even though they are in the CQ Quality Hotel, is that they get pretty packed at certain times of the day. You also might see one or two people walking across the hotel foyer dripping wet in a towel as they head back to their rooms in the Comfort Hotel.
ROOM It’s a decent size room at 38 square metres, which is on the larger end of the scale for standard hotel rooms in Wellington. The room has two queen beds; a bit roomy considering it’ll be just me. I alternate between the two beds and comfort-wise, they both get a tick. The sheets are clean and the bed is made daily. There is a kitchen with stove, microwave and mini fridge, and cutlery if you wanted to cook. There’s also a flat-screen TV and a long desk that makes for a work space with a comfy chair. But my favourite thing, other than a powerful hair dryer and the bathrobes, is the extra set of linen and the heated towel rack in the bathroom.
The service is polite, matter-of-fact but not always consistent. On checking in, I’m given two keys with a rushed explanation for each of their purpose. I work out that one is for my room and the other to access the fitness centre and pool. I overhear another staff explaining to a guest that the second key is also for after-hour access and without it you can’t get into the building after 10pm. I did find two or three guests hanging around outside the hotel on two nights; they didn’t realise they needed a second key to enter the hotel after hours.
FOOD If you don’t feel like cooking in the room, there is a bar and restaurant downstairs that’s open for lunch and dinner, and a cafe at the front where you can grab a coffee to go. Breakfast is not included in the room price but guests can pay $21 for a continental breakfast or $28 for buffet breakfast. But why eat in when there are so many wonderful and well-priced cafes, restaurant and bars close by?
The Matterhorn on Cuba Street (matterhorn.co.nz/matterhorn-wellington) is a favourite among Wellingtonians (the cocktails here are superb) and the not-to-be-missed Charley Noble (charleynoble.co.nz), an eatery and bar that is all about great produce with wood-fired influences. Bars including Hawthorn Lounge (hawthornlounge.co.nz), Crumpet (facebook.com/boonbrotherscrumpet) and The Library (thelibrary.co.nz) are worth dropping into for a drink or two. And if it’s late and not much is open, Havana Bar (havanabar.co.nz) is where most people head. As for cafes, well you can’t really go wrong because the coffee is decent everywhere. Try Olive (oliverestaurant.co.nz) for its outdoor courtyard, the Flight Coffee Hangar (flightcoffee.co.nz) for its breakfast menu, and Leeds St Bakery (leedsstbakery.co.nz) for its irresistible salted caramel cookie.
STEPPING OUT The food, the bars, the coffee… it can get so hard to choose where you want to have lunch and dinner that the concept of second lunches and dinners comes to mind. But if you need a break from eating and shopping, head to Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum, on Wellington’s harbour front – even if you’re not a museum buff it’s worth the visit. To escape the city, Zealandia (visitzealandia.com), the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary is a 10-minute taxi ride from Cuba St and perfect for a short dose of wildlife.
VERDICT The room is spacious and offers a touch of modern luxe but little things like a slow wi-fi connection, a too-small shower space and quite worn carpet don’t add up to the “modern luxe” approach. But its location and affordability makes up for these not-so-essential things.
ESSENTIALS Comfort Hotel prices start from $110 and Quality Hotel starts from $169, all prices are subject to availability and season. Prices are excluding breakfast; continental breakfast is $21 and buffet breakfast is $28.
HIGHLIGHT The location – it’s within walking distance of almost everything and there are plenty of cafes and bars around.
LOWLIGHT The shower space is so small that water overflows on to the bathroom floor.