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Auckland Is the Ideal City Mini Break in 2023

Auckland is a city on the rise


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For the longest time, Auckland didn’t enjoy a great reputation with foreign visitors (or, for that matter, other New Zealanders). 

When I first travelled here in 2017 and told locals that I’d be staying in Auckland for a while, I was met with incredulity: “Why would you want to be here?” was the general shocked response. 

Because this was the traditional path for international travellers to take: fly into Auckland Airport, recuperate from jet lag in a nondescript hotel for a few days, and hightail it to the beautiful mountains and lakes of the South Island as quickly as possible. Perhaps, if you had a penchant for Tolkien, you’d stoop into the houses of Hobbiton on the way. 

But stay in the big city? Auckland, the suggestion went, was as far removed from a bustling metropolis like London or Melbourne as it was possible to be. 

But when Australia and much of the rest of the world was swamped by pandemic lockdowns, Auckland fared a little better. Local lockdowns in the city were not as frequent or as suffocating, and the city’s creative industries benefited in unexpected ways. 

Starved of international acts, Auckland’s music scene became more close-knit, city festivals proudly hosting all-NZ lineups while the rest of the globe was shut down. Instead of fleeing to Sydney or Europe, Auckland artists stayed in their hometown, propping up its galleries and venues.

“I love Auckland. I like travelling and touring and being in other places for periods of time, but Auckland feels like home to me,” as Liz Stokes, lead singer of internationally renowned power-pop band The Beths told Rolling Stone AU/NZ last year. 

It felt like a moment of vindication, then, when Time Out named the city’s electrifying Karangahape Road as one of the world’s 33 coolest streets. Linger on the famous thoroughfare – ‘K Rd’ to locals – for just a little while and you’ll realise that it’s really Auckland in microcosm: the grit and grind remains, but there’s much more glamour and charm surrounding it. 

Opposite the iconic Las Vegas Club on K Rd is the stylish Atelier, which serves up delicious French tapas and alluring cocktails daily. A stroll along the road takes you to the cosy Madame George, a welcoming and modern Peruvian bar that’s packed out with both locals and visitors every night. 

And in the stunning interior of St Kevin’s Arcade, you’re spoiled for choice, from the mouth-watering Italian food at Pici’s to the Lebanese institution Gemmayze Street to the delectable cafe delights of Bestie.

With the days of restricted travel behind us, now is the ideal time to witness the modern Auckland, a city transformed and still transforming in 2023. 

If you’re anything like me, you’re in an era where a ‘generic hotel’ just won’t do anymore- you need to stay in a place that matches the burgeoning stylish city around it; accommodations that mirror the growing sophistication of the city. 

Primely situated in the heart of the CBD, SO/ Auckland is the ideal urban sanctuary, offering uninterrupted views of the Waitemata Harbour, the ideal vista after a long day of exploring the city. 

A truly cosmopolitan hotel, SO/ Auckland naturally resides beside the bustling Britomart, with its lively nightlife and diverse global dining options. Inside SO/ Auckland, the vibrant spirit of Britomart is mirrored in designer rooms equipped with all the expected luxuries of 2023: modern tech touches, plush bedding, well-stocked minibars, and those stunning city views.

Should you need a break from the world below, escape into the clouds at the Hi-So rooftop bar. Perched atop the SO/ and high above the city, offering panoramic views and exquisite cocktails, Hi-So is the place to be to enjoy a nightcap or a night out. 

When the time comes to depart Auckland, whether your next destination is the untamed landscape of the South or the comfort of your own home, Auckland’s main train station is just across the street. So, if you’re looking to explore a city on the rise this year, let SO/ Auckland handle the hotel search for your well-deserved escape, in style. 

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