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Hotel Highlights

  • DeBrett is an art deco lover’s delight.
  • The light-filled Atrium is the hotel's artistic heart and hearth (with a great fireplace), and its curvy, come-hither bar is the best in town.
  • The 24-hour guests-only Drawing Room, a friendly place to savour a drink from the honesty bar.

Overview

With its bright pops of colour and vibrant décor, Hotel Debrett is an art deco outpost ideally situated near central Auckland's trendy shops and cutting-edge art galleries. This stylish retreat attracts locals with its sultry bar and sunny courtyard, while a sprinkling of native collectables gives the sassy city hideaway a distinguished Kiwi touch.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Hotel DeBrett with us:

A complimentary cocktail for two, after 12pm

Facilities

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Need To Know

Rooms

25, including 15 suites.

Check–out

10am, but flexible subject to a half-rate charge until 12pm (full rate after that). Check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $211.66 (NZD270), excluding tax at 15 per cent.

More details

Rates include continental breakfast, pre-dinner drink, internet access and local phone calls.

Also

If you feel inspired by the art and collectables around you, pick up your own to take home from the Lobby Gallery, which features artists such as Christine Cathie. Or consider a Judy Darragh chandelier or a silk throw by Frontroom Fabrics.

At the hotel

Complimentary WiFi throughout, drawing room, private dining and meeting rooms, DVD and book library, off-site gym. In rooms: flatscreen TV and DVD player, minibar stocked with local products, Sans bath products by Lucy Vincent-Marr.

Our favourite rooms

Each room has its own configuration as well as artworks, antiques, collectables, retro and custom-made furniture, and Kiwi kitsch to guarantee individuality. For even more unique appeal, O’Connell Room 2.17 has an intimate mid-century bar – quite the conversation starter for a drinks gathering. Loft rooms 2.3 and 2.4 sport spiral staircases just begging for a flirty cocktail dress and heels to swish down them. Room 1.7, flanking the atrium, is sexy and snug for young, party-going couples.

Packing tips

If your wardrobe is in need of a makeover, bring an extra bag for the fashion booty you’ll be buying in the surrounding streets and laneways. Some of NZ's most cutting-edge labels are yours for the taking.

Also

Just off the restaurant, the 24-hour guests-only Drawing Room is a laid-back spot to read, retrieve emails (there’s a laptop for guests’ use) or relax while enjoying a drink from the honesty bar.

Children

A ready supply of free cribs and extra sofa-beds for under-12s, baby monitors, toys, PS3s and a kids’ menu mean children are very welcome here. A babysitter can be arranged for NZ$20 an hour, with a day's notice.

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Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

L-shaped ground-floor restaurant DeBretts Kitchen shares space with the lounge in the light-filled Atrium and the kitchen itself, which is more casual with a banquette and tables. The atrium space features an inviting fireplace and pendulous chandeliers by artist Judy Darragh dripping with vintage lamps. The kitchen dining area includes a wall decorated with old lights from the hotel, a collection of retro plates and vibrant orange glass vases lining a window ledge. The domain of creative chef Mark Harman, the regular NZ-meets-European menu changes to reflect the best local, seasonal produce, with dishes such as snapper fillet and spiced lamb tagine.

Hotel Bar

During its big-hair Eighties heyday, small but sassy Housebar became a local icon. It has since dropped the shoulder pads and red lipstick and is now dressed in slick, cool-blue hues – and it’s still smoking as the city’s best. The wine list is a superb compilation of some of the country finest accessible drops. For aromatics lovers, the Johanneshof Gewurztraminer from Marlborough is a must. Beer lovers should try the Moa fermented-in-the-bottle range from Blenheim. For guests, there's also a 24-hour honesty bar in the Drawing Room.

Last orders

The kitchen closes at 10pm.

Room service

Contemporary cuisine and updated classics, such as hand-cut fries with aioli and champagne ham and cheddar toasted sandwiches, are available 24 hours a day.

Smith Insider

Dress code

When staying in High Street, wear something from this fashion precinct – a charming number from Karen Walker or Kate Sylvester, perhaps, or a vintage dress from Tango.

Top table

For maximum romantic glam, book the table beneath the chandelier. Private dining can be arranged in one of the atrium suites for groups of six to 10.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

New Zealand finest fashion is well represented in the Britomart area, a two-minute walk away. International NZ names include Zambesi (www.zambesi.co.nz), Karen Walker (www.karenwalker.com), Kate Sylvester (www.katesylvester.com) and World (www.worldbrand.co.nz), which has strikingly designed separate women's, men's and beauty stores. Lesser known but definitely worth visiting are Helen Cherry (www.workshop.co.nz), TK Store (www.tk.net.nz), Moochi (moochi.co.nz) and, for the very young at heart, Ruby (rubyboutique.co.nz). There’s also a host of shops selling kooky clothes imported from Asia. Gentlemen are also serviced by Zambesi and outfitters including Crane Brothers (www.crane-brothers.com) and 3 Wise Men (www.3wisemen.co.nz), near the hotel. There are plenty of casual, streetwear options as well. Untouched World (www.untouchedworld.com) is loved by international travellers for its luxurious range of organic cotton and merino casual wear.

If you're in need of a good read Unity Books, at 19 High Street, is a sussed local store (www.unitybooks.co.nz), or for 'terrific Pacific' gifts, quirky Kiwiana and local crafts pieces, don't miss Pauanesia at 35 High Street (www.pauanesia.co.nz).

For its modest population, New Zealand has a considerable output of quality art. There’s a concentration of galleries within easy walking distance of the hotel – download the map to Auckland City Walk of Art from www.biglittlecity.co.nz. If you feel like window shopping only, visit the Auckland Art Gallery (www.aucklandartgallery.com), which includes a small but stylish café.

Fancy some fresh air? You're just a short stroll from Auckland Harbour, hub for ferry rides to nearby islands including vineyard-strewn Waiheke and volcano-toting Rangitoto. Take in the view from the city's iconic Sky Tower (www.skycityauckland.co.nz), also a quick hop from the hotel.

 

Local restaurants

Just across the road, O’Connell Street Bistro at 3 O’Connell Street (+64 (0)9 377 1884; www.oconnellstbistro.com) is a local dining institution and has won awards for good reason – it delivers smart dining every time. The Grove, on Saint Patrick’s Square, Wyndham Street (+64 (0)9 368 5129; www.thegroverestaurant.co.nz), a former winner of the Audi Metro Restaurant awards, is a 10-minute walk away. Owner/sommelier Michael Dearth is a perfectionist who will talk you through selections to match Benjamin Bayly’s very contemporary cuisine. Masu’s flawless Japanese food earned the restaurant the Metro’s top spot in 2014: station yourself at the robata grill and order some barbecued deliciousness (along with sea-fresh sashimi , punchy dumplings and whisper-light tempura) to see why. The restaurant is at 90 Federal Street, housed in the SkyCity casino complex (www.skycityauckland.co.nz/restaurants/masu; +64 (0)9 363 6278). 

Local bars

Like dumplings? Like cocktails? You'll love Xuxu (+64 (0)9 309 5529; www.xuxu.co.nz), on Galway Street & Commerce Street, Britomart.

Local cafés

Mezze Bar at 9 Durham Street East (+64 (0)9 307 2029; www.mezzebar.co.nz) occupies an appealing space in an old building (there aren’t many left in Auckland) with generous windows. It’s the kind of place you can drop into for a drink, dessert, coffee or a meal. For heartfelt Mediterranean food at any time of day, visit Ima & Ibn at 57 Fort Street (+64 (0)9 370 7272; ima-ibn.co.nz), where the menu revolves around dishes from the owner/chef’s homeland of Israel.

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High Street's fashion hub

Hotel DeBrett

2 High St, Auckland, New Zealand, 1010

Hotel DeBrett is located in central Auckland, within easy walking distance of Viaduct Harbour, the city’s fashion precinct and Auckland Art Gallery.

Planes

Auckland Airport (www.aucklandairport.co.nz) is serviced by many major global airlines including Air New Zealand, Qantas, British Airways, Emirates, Pacific Blue, American Airlines and United Air Lines.

Trains

The Britomart Train Station is located just 200m from Hotel DeBrett, with services connecting Auckland and Wellington. Check out Rail New Zealand for trains to and from Auckland (www.railnewzealand.com) or for local travel options consult Auckland Regional Transport (www.maxx.co.nz).

Automobiles

The drive from Auckland Airport to the city centre takes approximately 45 minutes. A taxi will cost in the vicinity of NZ$70. There are also various shuttle services and the Airbus Express, which leaves the terminal every 15 minutes for the Auckland CBD.

Reviews

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Anonymous review

by Kirsten Marx , Marketing maven

Albert Einstein said, ‘things should be made simpler, but not simple’. The new owners of the historic Hotel DeBrett have taken Einstein’s wise words and applied them to this revamped art deco haven in downtown Auckland’s glitziest shopping quarter. I’m immediately struck by a stripy custom-made carpet that is as colourful as a candy bar, yet is toned down by its mini…
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Hotel DeBrett

Anonymous review by Kirsten Marx, Marketing maven

Albert Einstein said, ‘things should be made simpler, but not simple’. The new owners of the historic Hotel DeBrett have taken Einstein’s wise words and applied them to this revamped art deco haven in downtown Auckland’s glitziest shopping quarter.

I’m immediately struck by a stripy custom-made carpet that is as colourful as a candy bar, yet is toned down by its minimalist surroundings. A spectacular and inventive chandelier crowning the central atrium is fashioned from vintage light fittings recycled from the DeBrett’s previous incarnations and sums up the hotel’s bold old-meets-new aesthetic.

Climb two flights of stairs, or take the copper-domed lift if you prefer, and the designer touches continue as we’re swiped into room 2.7, as if accessing a safe in a sci-fi movie. As we enter our top-tier Loft Suite it occurs to me that it’s bigger than our former London apartment. I am taken aback by the glamorous wardrobes – his and hers – panelled on four sides with antique glass. Mr Smith, on the other hand, is much more impressed by the two televisions, one in the dining area and the other in the bedroom. All his Christmases have come at once. While the lamp-lit bedroom and its wrinkle-free bed are inviting, hunger takes over and within minutes we change from work to dinner attire with a relieved sigh, as heels convert to flats and the weekend begins.

Cool yet cosy, the Kitchen Restaurant is a winning feature of Hotel DeBrett. Its L-shaped eating area consumes a New York loft-style atrium with a rustic, brick interior, an open kitchen and an inviting fireplace in an adjoining sofa-strewn space (ideal for an apéritif). At an affordable NZ$15, why not start with a glass of Moët on a Friday night? A striking Russian waitress pours our bubbly, before a friendly Spanish waiter interrupts our appreciative murmurs to take our food order. As a vegetarian, usually it’s an uninspiring choice between risotto or ravioli. But the DeBrett’s seasonal menu seduces with shiitake mushroom custard surrounded by lemon gnocchi, artichokes and caramelised chestnuts: a mouth-watering flavour to savour.

Feeling slightly oversized and very much in need of a lie down, our prayers are answered when we discover the guests-only Drawing Room. I laze on a 1970s two-seater, pop an old vinyl LP onto the retro record player, pour a drink from the honesty bar and use the free Apple computer to do some research for tomorrow’s adventures.

The DeBrett boasts an enviable location in the heart of Auckland. You might think that being so central the noise would be chronic but no, sirens outside are merely mute flashing lights. A stone’s throw from the waters of Waitemata Harbour, the theatre is only a minute’s walk away and the hotel nestles among chic cafés, galleries and fashion shops (including Kiwi stars Karen Walker and Kate Sylvester).

So, predictably, tomorrow brings a whole lot of trouble: one too many shopping bags, a few too many flat white coffees, and a whole lot less left in the pocket. ‘What else can a girl do when surrounded by such designer talent?’ I ask Mr Smith, who diplomatically doesn’t attempt an answer. We top off the day with a cocktail in the DeBrett’s intimate, wood-lined Housebar, another spot we love, before Mr Smith and I retire to the bedroom to explore the theory of relativity.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Hotel DeBrett from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Cool, fun, hip, funky. Perfect for adult getaways.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

A great location if you need to be near CBD. I had a good, functional room.

Rating: 7/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

This is a beautiful small hotel excellently located in the centre of Auckland. There's an excellent restaurant.

Don’t expect

Rooms are not large but it's perfect for a city stay.

Rating: 10/10 stars