I should have known it would be a mistake to stay in Wellington. After three weeks in places like Picton, Kaikoura, Glenorchy and Wanaka, being back in a city was a most unpleasant experience. And, wonderful as New Zealand is, its cities are not exactly interesting; the nicest things about Wellington (as with Auckland) are its suburbs - a pretty damning thing to say.
The Mercure is a 1960s (1970s?) hotel with the architecture of that age which has dated very quickly, and a fabric that looks under constant attack. It is squeezed on to a very hilly site in a run-down residential area (though perhaps an improving one). Because of its lofty position, many of the rooms on one side of the hotel have broad views (over the suburbs), though we had a room on the other side. This room was - shall we say - compact, and almost completely filled by the two double beds. The bathroom was tiny and had been the object of a number of attempts at mending, especially the gap between the bath and the tiles which was crudely filled by that white mastic gunk.
The car was parked, for NZ$10 a night, in the lower guts of the hotel, and to see anything of the city we would have needed it, or to pay for a taxi, as the hotel is not exactly at the hub of interesting things. Dinner was good, and all the staff we met were friendly and helpful. Breakfast was okay, although I was a bit taken aback to be asked if I wanted a "gourmet coffee" for only NZ$4 a head. If I was paying (NZ$20 I think it was) for breakfast, why should I have to pay extra for a decent cup of coffee? I declined, and was able to confirm that the standard buffet coffee was stale and virtually undrinkable - a very rare experience in this country of splendid coffee.
Not being able to face another night in my cramped room, I sacrificed the NZ$140 I had pre-paid for the second night's accommodation (memo to myself - stop the habit of buying non-refundable accommodation for it always costs more in the end) and checked out. The staff were good, and I think Accor have probably done the best they can with the building. In the interests of protecting the integrity of the Mercure brand, though, I think they should probably sell the hotel.
- Also Known As:
- Mercure Wellington Hotel Wellington
- Mercure Wellington Hotel
- Accor Wellington
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Mercure Wellington enjoys a prime location at the top of the Terrace with spectacular views over the city and harbour. This charming hotel is an easy walk to the Cuba Quarter, funky boutiques, shops and famous Wellington attractions such as TePapa, Waterfront, Westpac Stadium, Courtenay Place and the theatre district. If you are looking for an ideal holiday destination with your family, the Mercure Wellington is a perfect place for you to stay and explore the Wellington area. ... more less
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