Stay Amongst Art
Surround yourself with art in the prestigious and much loved Museum Hotel in Wellington
Review by Victoria Kerly & Matthew Banks
This hotel is everything you would expect. And more… As the premier hotel in Wellington it has more than simply a role as somewhere to stay. You inherently get the impression it is part of the city, and an important one at that. In Wellington there is a vivid arts and cultural scene. We were lucky enough to be staying during the International Arts Festival and the role of the hotel within the festival was apparent, as both a sponsor and as part of the festival – with the hotel playing a key role as part an immersive audio/visual theatre experience.
The Museum Art Hotel prides itself as a part of the city and with ownership changing hands to the AHL Group, who manage QT Hotels and Resorts, the emphasis is firmly on ensuring that link remains. The previous owner and curator of the artwork is to maintain an important role in keeping the unique art museum feel.
The hotel feels like a beloved institution and has the backstory to match. Previously in a different location it now sits in a prime location near the harbour having made way for the building of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. But as opposed to just relocating to another existing site it was transported via tracks in order that it could remain exactly as is.
The hotel has a dramatic feel on entrance, the art clearly being the main feature and it is all-captivating, but with a sense of humour. A trip to the lobby is a trip to a gallery and we spent a long time happily wandering around with much to see. By comparison I have spent money visiting galleries with collections that were not a patch on this establishment’s.
As a straightforward top-end hotel it most certainly maintains its standards. The service is slick, polite and accommodating. Yes, it is exclusive and there is a luxury feel, one that however, doesn’t ever descend into an air of snobbery. There is a friendly relaxed atmosphere with a sense of belonging. This is probably down to its strong ties to the city and its focus as a social and artistic meeting point.
Given the exceptional surroundings it is easy to forget the accommodation, something which the hotel has not. We stayed in one of the apartments; a self-contained studio where as you would expect a high standard of furnishings and décor carried through from the public areas. What was unexpected was the level of detail in providing everything you could need, should you so wish. The kitchen equipment, crockery and glasses for example meant that you were fully provided for. If you were a long-term visitor to the city, this would certainly be the place you would wish to stay. With a full spa and gym on site, you really have everything catered for.
Not forgetting one of the best restaurants in the city also housed within the hotel, with great views over the harbour. For a capital city hotel, the rooms provided far more space than you would normally expect and the attention to detail was impressive. Yet unlike numerous city hotels this one provides an experience, an insight into the city in which you are visiting. And a very enchanting one at that.