Queenstown was really Plan B after the Bluff Oyster Festival was cancelled due to bad weather, so we decided to salvage whatever that was left from our holiday and made the 2 hour drive from Invercargill. Some rain and only a possibility of snow was forecasted for Queenstown. I decided on Hilton because of the word "Resort & Spa" suggesting there were at least some activities we could take refuge from the weather. Also, I happened to have my Hilton Honours number with me which made reservations over the phone very easy.
First impressions on the resort were very good as we drove past the various buildings leading up to the front desk. This was further reinforced by the pleasant smell we were greeted with when we entered the hallway from the bottom covered carpark.
The rooms were also very well appointed and tastefully decorated and had a balcony with jawdropping lakefront views. The 2 bedroom was a twin and a double. The residence had TV with Sky (PaidTV), lounge with gas fireplace, kitchen and dining. It is also equipped with wash and dryer which turned out to be handy. Magazines on the table is always a good indication of a luxury resort.
We then checked out the pool which was nice enough to make us drive to Billabong in town just to buy some swimwear. The changing rooms are also well appointed with showers, toilet and a steam room + sauna. I thought the pool seemed a little cold temperature wise and would be a bit of a shock if you got in immediately from the hot spa. But the area was very tastefully decorated.
I know many here complain about the cost of water taxis and the infrequent free shuttle. Although we had a car, we wanted to take the water taxi just for the experience of the ride via a lake, but our trip was just too short.
There is also a theatre which screens at 3pm and 8:30pm daily. I wanted to just have a look but it was not in use and I could not access it without advance booking.
The only dining I got to try was Stacks which was OK. Lunch for 3 was about $100. An ice cream at the snack shop was $6.50. The prices were not cheap as many have already pointed out, but Queenstown as a whole, is not a cheap place for a holiday, so I did not think it was too bad. The noodle place and Wakatipu Grill was closed during my stay otherwise I would have tried them too. So we drove to town and thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Captians Restaurant serving sensible portions.
Breakfast cost $40 for Continental and only an extra $10 to add a cooked breakfast. We had one $50 cooked option delivered to our room which was more than adequate for the 3 of us to share. The breakfast took a long time to be delivered and no one was answering the phone when we placed the order. When breakfast finally arrived we found out we were snowed in which also prevented some staff getting to work. We could not leave the property until about midday which meant missing our flight from Dunedin that day. The concierge was very helpful helping me to contact AVIS for snow chains which unfortunately was not possible on the Holden SV6 I rented. At the end I gave up trying to make that flight and rescheduled to depart later. We can't think of a better place to be stranded than the Hilton Queenstown.
I selfishly wanted to give this place 1 star so as to improve the probability of me getting a room at short notice when I return the next time, just in case. But decided to give you the 5 star the property and the staff deserved.
Here are some points for improvement that were minor and did little to impact my rating;
- Filters of the Dryer at the Residences needs a good vacuum and clean once in a while, there was fluff everywhere when we used it.
- I went outside in the snow on Level 2 (pictured) but could not get back in and the doors at the bottom (leading to the conference rooms) was also locked. Brrr.... fortunately someone from the pool saw me and let me in.
- Better signage. From the road, I programmed on the GPS, 79 Peninsula Rd and it took me right past the hotel. I recommend another sign about 50 - 100 metres before the entrance.
- From Level 1 of Residences after exiting carpark, there are signs pointing towards the Pool/Gym but if you follow the signs it leads to a deadend. There should be more signs pointing to the link to the main building on Level 2.
- Not too happy about the early check in fee, I arrived at about 12:30pm, (check-in 3pm), this is the first time I had to pay one.
- The TV has a setting to turn on/off without the chime. We could not access this setting. This is useful for someone to turn the TV on/off without possible waking others who are already asleep.
When I returned to work, I saw a copy of the National Business Review on my desk that headlined that the Hilton Queenstown had been sold to the Chinese. I hope this does not impact the resort in the future as I have stayed in some shockingly poor Chinese "5 star" hotels.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- From the moment you set foot inside the Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa, you'll discover a place that not only celebrates the world-renowned beauty of this region, but immerses you completely in that beauty. Welcome to a new way to experience Queenstown. Welcome to Hilton. This is an exhilarating setting, and one without compromise. The only hotel positioned directly on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa faces north, delivering full afternoon sun and showcasing panoramic views over an unspoilt terrain famed the world over. Watch the deep blue hues of the lake shimmer and glisten and savour this most intensely beautiful destination. In the heart of vibrant Kawarau Village and just 15 minutes via lake or land from Queenstown, you'll enjoy effortless access to all the excitement on offer in the region - and the closest accommodation to The Remarkables. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton Queenstown Hotel Queenstown