Hilton Auckland, Auckland, North Island $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Set right at the edge of Princes Wharf overlooking Waitemata Harbour, this chic, modern property—the best large hotel in Auckland—is where jet-setting business travelers pull into port. The building itself (white, with walls of shimmering glass and twin prows jutting over the water) resembles the posh cruise ships that dock just outside; the interiors, though, are all slick, urban minimalism. The 165 guest rooms have angular, clean-lined furnishings, crisp white linens, and chocolate leather chairs—plus large desks where you can plug in a laptop. The best rooms, on the "starboard" side of the hotel, have water views. The five Bow Suites, with floor-to-ceiling windows, spacious balconies, and massive marble bathrooms, have hosted major VIPs (Bill Clinton, Al Gore); minor VIPs—well, PR types and their clients—fill the stark, aptly named White restaurant and the plush, low-lit Bellini Bar. In the gleaming fitness room and around the rooftop pool (whose fabulous underwater window frames the harbor), guests work their cell phones and PDAs. The well-pressed, efficient staff can be slightly chilly to guests who show up rumpled or gritty from a beach walk outside the city.
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