An extraordinary hotel experience has officially opened its doors to guests in Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour. QT Auckland was developed in partnership with Russell Property Group and Lockwood Property Group and is the tenth QT Hotel and the third in New Zealand, joining QT Wellington and QT Queenstown.
QT Auckland is now welcoming guests to stay over in one of their distinctively designed 150 rooms, eat at their signature restaurant Esther in collaboration with Chef Sean Connolly, and have a drink in their sixth-floor bar Rooftop at QT, while enjoying the sweeping views across the harbour.
QT Auckland offers a luxurious but unconventional escape that reflects its harbourside locale.
QT Auckland General Manager Doron Whaite says, “From fashion to art and music, no detail was spared in bringing QT’s signature service to life here in Auckland. Throughout the hotel, including Esther and Rooftop at QT, there are so many carefully considered components to discover, all pointing to a central narrative of unearthing hidden treasure.”
From the outset guests discover that the hotel is a little bit different, at the doors of QT Auckland, the “Director of Chaos” greets guests and helps them navigate the City of Sails. Dressed in an ensemble by local fashion label Maggie Marilyn and a custom makeup look by Alpeh, the Directors of Chaos and the front-of-house team are the starting point of the experience to come.
In the lobby there is a hanging sculpture – a statement piece by New South Wales artist Minka Gillian and a beautiful composition by NYC-based digital artist Jennifer Steinkamp plays slowly on a large-scale LED screen. Guests also experience visual stories of the mythical sea come to life in the lift cars and bathrooms, with bold bespoke wallpaper created by graphics collaborator, Toben.
Works by local artists such as Ilya Volykhine, Louise McRrae and Max Patté are featured throughout the hotel’s public spaces, as well as a collection of quirky and unexpected pieces by Auckland creative agency, Misterwolf. The collaboration for custom ‘salon hang’ art on each floor’s lift lobby resulted in 90 individual bespoke works delivered in the iconic QT style – a mixed match of customised prints and artworks inspired by local history and culture.
Alongside QT Hotels’ design team, collaborator Nic Graham has delivered on the design concept: “We always try to deliver a contemporary story that has vintage influences across building design, graphic design, accessories, art and furniture.”
In the guest rooms, Graham and the QT team created a cocoon-like experience, with bold colour blocking, concrete wallpaper and oak floors complemented by bespoke New Zealand-made oyster print carpets. Graham explains, “Two standout local elements are stunning blown-glass lamps and bathroom accessories made for us by Lava Glass, which I found on a holiday in Taupo, and resin soap dishes by Auckland-based Chan Andreassend.”
Esther’s light and airy marina-side bar and restaurant is reminiscent of the Mediterranean and chef Sean Connolly’s influence shines through not only the menu but ambience.
The country-style kitchen allows for the theatrical preparation of produce and seafood, with an open hearth, gold Marana Forni discoball wood-fired oven, and a Molteni oven in a custom hue of green. With a mix of traditional techniques and New Zealand ingredients, standouts include the custom lamb tomahawk, the vibrant Te Anau saffron linguine, barrel-aged feta at the centre of a Greek salad, an ever-changing selection of freshly caught daily seafood, and to finish the feast six farmhouse puddings.
Esther displays a host of vintage found objects as mindful decoration to evoke memory and conversation. A casual collection of vintage metal work benches, vases, urns and ceramic kitchenware are inspired by Chef Sean Connolly’s grandmother and how she used to bring joy to the family dining table.
Guests will walk away with a seed packet by Clevedon-based tomato growers, Curious Croppers, to remember their dining experience.
Perched above it all on the sixth floor, Rooftop at QT offers a peak drink and dine experience flowing from laid back afternoons to lavish late nights. Open Wednesday through Sunday, the stylish scene is set with dark and moody finishes to allow the eye to focus on the harbour and city views. Skylights, greenery, wire mesh, and a Bloody Mary-red ceiling are all an extension of the oyster narrative, with custom wallpaper adding octopus, pearls and golden barnacles to the story.
Taking cues from Esther’s Mediterranean-inspired menu, mezze snacks mix in Middle Eastern and Spanish flavours, from flatbread pizzas packed with local vegetables to rosemary-marinated lamb souvlaki, plus croquetas, falafel, and borek.
Featuring 12 cocktails by renowned bar manager Roberto Giampaolo, signature tipples will include watermelon frosé and two custom-made tap selections, starting with a nitro espresso martini. A focus on sustainability, Aquafaba replaces egg whites in cocktail recipes, and spirit selections are delivered in refillable bottles to reduce waste.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights feature rotating DJ sets by Auckland’s top talent, with early evening hours mixing in instrumentals like Matt Bizzle’s saxophone and Pixie Lane’s percussion, and transitioning to the sounds from Thommy, Andy JV and Paris is Burning for a more electric vibe.