I’m usually pretty generous when it comes to hotel reviews – honest while acknowledging the good things – because I recognise our experience is only one moment in time and as a general rule, people are trying their best. This is especially true in a post-COVID era when global tourism is struggling to get back on its feet.
However, our recent stay at the Grand Millennium Auckland was overall disappointing, and I wouldn’t be a travel blogger worth the salt if I wasn’t honest about the experience! There were definitely positives to the hotel too, however overall, I wouldn’t stay here again and would advise others to find somewhere else (there are plenty of options). Keep reading to find out why.
Where is the Auckland Grand Millennium?
The Grand Millennium is located on Mayoral Drive (on the corner of Vincent Street) in Auckland’s CBD. This was a fairly convenient location to get to, and there were plenty of places to eat nearby.
However, Auckland’s CBD can feel quite dreary – it had a quiet, almost eerie Cold War vibe even in the height of summer. It’s for that reason that we didn’t love the location. We did feel that a family holiday feel would be more easily found around the Viaduct/Wynyard Quarter. However, for business travel, this would be a good location.
Grand millennium Auckland hotel rates
In early January 2023, we paid $772 NZD for three nights in a Superior Family Room (that’s $257 per night). This equates to around $720 AUD / $486 USD.
Looking on Booking.com, current mid-week rates are approximately $210-220 NZD per night for the same room (around $200 AUD / $135 USD).
Check in and parking
The check in process was somewhat disorganised. We pulled up in the loading bay, as you usually would, and were told we had to move our car out a few metres into the rain. Then we came in to try and check in again.
We were told we had to wait 5-10 minutes to check in because there was a problem with our room (a wheel had broken off one of the beds and was being fixed). Not a huge issue, but we definitely weren’t checking in bang on time – it was around dinner time.
We then had to go back outside into the rain to unload our luggage – which seems to defeat the purpose of having an undercover loading bay!
One disappointing thing we noticed was that, even though I had booked the room (so the reservation was under my name) and it was my credit card that was attached to the booking, staff went out of their way to address Mr. Winter instead. This made us both feel pretty uncomfortable. I guess I would expect this in some countries, but was surprised to encounter this in Auckland.
The highlight of our stay was that two cheese platters were thoughtfully left for us in the fridge upon check-in. We’re not sure why (was this done for everyone, or was it because if the issue with the bed?) but we were very appreciative. The crackers went a bit soggy in the fridge but we were starving so we didn’t care.
We ordered room service the first night as we were tired from a day of driving. It took us ages to find the menu – turns out there’s a QR code in the sleeve where your key is kept, but no one told us this at check-in. Our food took over two hours (and multiple phone calls) to arrive – we’re guessing because a lot of people would have been ordering room service on a rainy night. However, with two starving children who didn’t get dinner until well after 9pm, this was difficult. When our food arrived it was stone cold, meaning it had been sitting out somewhere in the kitchen for a long time.
Our room did not include breakfast, but on the first morning we decided to try the hotel buffet breakfast. First we had to find it, as again no one had given us any information upon check-in. Breakfast cost around $30 NZD per person (!) There were quite a few options which was great (especially for the kids) but a lot of it was very bland. They had a lot of trouble keeping items stocked. Barista-made coffee came with an extra charge (I guess this is not completely unusual, but something to note).
I had made contact with the hotel prior to departure to discuss our dates of travel and taking photos of the hotel. We had also had a conversation about Katsura, the on-site Japanese restaurant. I had said specifically that I was keen to create some content for the restaurant and queried whether it would be suitable for the kids. I was told that was fine. So I was pretty surprised to arrive and find the restaurant closed for the duration of our stay! Suffice to say, we can’t review it for you.
We stayed in a Superior Family Room. The room was spacious, with adequate storage for our belongings. There was a table and two chairs by the window, though the view wasn’t much to look at.
The room featured a flat-screen TV with Sky channels which came in handy on the rainy nights. The beds were comfortable, but do note they are a Double rather than a Queen size. Pillows were thin.
The bathroom had plenty of space which was good. Having a bath was really handy for the kids, and we were extra grateful that the shower was separate.
Pool, sauna, and gym
Welcome to the coldest hotel pool I’ve ever experienced. I honestly wondered if they had pumped water straight out of the ocean into the pool (which was indoors) it was so cold. But if you fancy a very refreshing dip, the pool is a great size for swimming laps.
However, in each changing room was a lovely heated sauna, with extra towels set up nicely for convenience.
The gym was also spacious and well-equipped for a hotel gym.
The Final Verdict
Well, unfortunately we don’t recommend this one. In terms of what you’re paying for, the Grand Millennium Auckland doesn’t deliver. However, we would also say that, unless truly necessary, skip staying in Auckland’s CBD entirely and opt for the Viaduct. See our Auckland guide for more options!