Location: On the corner of Karangahape Rd and Symonds Street on the fringe of the Auckland CBD, overlooking the historic Symonds Street Cemetery and the forested slopes of Grafton Gully.
What’s new at the Cordis? An entire 17-storey tower, that’s what! The just opened, 244 room Pinnacle Tower now sees the Cordis with a whopping 640 rooms and suites in total, giving it the title of the biggest hotel in New Zealand (and among the largest in the Southern Hemisphere). The tower comes complete with a new Club Lounge on level 14 of the Pinnacle Tower, plus one of Auckland’s premier accommodation options, the 252.6-sqm, rock-star-worthy Chairman Suite.
Tell us more about the Chairman Suite: Well, it’s big, as 252.6-sqm attests. But, as we know, size isn’t everything and there are several other features to the Chairman Suite that really make it stand out. For starters, being it’s the penthouse of a 17-storey tower that sits on a ridge-line, the views are sensational, especially the picture you get of Rangitoto Island as you first open the door. Then there’s Mt Eden as seen from the bathroom, and the Auckland city skyline from the bedroom and living room.
Other than the views, what else sets the Chairman Suite apart? There’s a huge walk-in wardrobe to satisfy even the most Imelda Marcos-tendencies, an outdoor fire-pit on the balcony, a large living and dining area complete with butler’s kitchen, a bedroom with floor-to-ceiling windows, and a marble bathroom with a standalone circular tub. There’s a modern, minimalist vibe to the suite that complements the art works and furnishings, and yes, a distinct rock-star chic to the place.
Isn’t there some kind of secret entrance? Yes indeed, if you’re the type of guest who might encourage a screaming fan or two, you can avoid the main lobby of the Cordis, drive down a sunken driveway and shoot your way up to the Chairman Suite, leaving the hordes of fans and paparazzi none the wiser. Unfortunately this wasn’t necessary for me.
What about the other rooms and suites? With 640 rooms to choose from, the Cordis is large enough that it can have a really good price spread. As in, if I was booking a room at the time of writing, I could get the following:
- 28-sqm Superior Room starting from $289
- 28-sqm Deluxe Room starting from $309
- 33-sqm Premier Room in the Pinnacle Tower starting from $319
- 31-sqm Premier Skyline in the Pinnacle Tower starting from $359
- 33-sqm Executive Room in the Pinnacle Tower starting from $585
- 55-sqm Junior Suite from $609
- 54-sqm Junior Suite in the Pinnacle Tower starting from $709
- 83-sqm One Bedroom Suite from $785
- 73-83-sqm Executive Suite in the Pinnacle Tower from $985
- And yes indeed, that glorious 252.6-sqm Chairman Suite in the Pinnacle Tower from $4635 (Prices are seasonal and subject to change).
The new artwork: Whether it’s the sculptures in the Chairman Suite, or the images that adorn the lift-lobbies of every floor of the Pinnacle Tower, the Cordis takes its art very seriously. I particularly loved the lift-lobby works of Korean-born, New Zealand artist Jae Hoon Lee whose giant light-box photographs look like 3D paintings until you get up close. All his pictures are of New Zealand, and just as the image on the ground floor is of a tangle of tree roots, the image on level 17 has you up in the clouds.
The Maori art at the Cordis tells a story: Beyond the sculptures and light-box images, there’s also traditional weaving and aute (Māori barkcloth) throughout the hotel, with the art collection curated by the acclaimed Coupland Cormack. No less than 46 works were commissioned, covering the themes behind the Māori concepts of Te Whai Ao (light before the dawn), The Manawa Line (a heartfelt connection) and Kaitiakitanga (guardianship of the natural world).
Does the Pinnacle Tower link to the original part of the hotel? Yes it does, and via a new walkway with art work from Lonnie Hutchinson that references the natural world of Aotearoa, namely the volcanoes and the sea.
How’s the original hotel looking? Terrific! The Cordis always had – and still has – one of the more striking lobbies of any New Zealand hotel. Those enormous chandeliers, the gold ceiling, the marble floor, that famous citrusy Cordis scent that subtly wafts through every one of their properties around the world (an orange, grapefruit, lemon concoction officially called “Sparkling Mint”); this is what a big 5-star hotel is meant to look like.
The swimming pool and spa: The Cordis still has an edge over many of its rivals with its heated rooftop pool and the always first class Chuan Spa. The fact you can access the sauna, steam room and the seriously cool walk-in, wraparound snail shower without paying for a treatment is also a bonus. Add to the package a new poolside bar and the whole notion of the Cordis as a genuine staycation alternative to overseas travel starts to make a whole lot of sense.
The neighbourhood: whereas a while back Karangahape Rd may have been a drawback for a hotel like the Cordis, what was once slightly seedy is now firmly in funky, bohemian territory. Fresh from a multi-million dollar makeover, Karangahape Rd is one of Auckland’s key cultural meeting points with everything from secondhand boutiques to international restaurants to live music venues.
Restaurants and bars: If you’re not dining at one of the countless eateries on Karangahape Rd, there’s plenty to choose from at the Cordis. Eight Restaurant earns its name from having eight international kitchens and has been a destination in and of itself for many years. Our Land Is Alive is a brand new, New Zealand-themed bar by the main lobby, the Chandelier Lounge is the perfect setting for either cocktails or a high tea, and there’s also the Club Lounge on level 14 of the Pinnacle Tower for views, and the new rooftop poolside bar to make you feel you’re really on holiday.
Would I recommend? I would! The range of rooms and suites at the Cordis is one of its major selling points because whether your room is $289 or $4635, it’s the same grandiose lobby, the same outstanding restaurants and bars, and the same international-feeling rooftop pool.