1. A wild welcome
A 2.5m-high cage filled with colourful live canaries introduces guests of the Naumi hotel to a world where birds play the leading role. The main star is the tui – unique to New Zealand, with dark iridescent feathers and the vocal range of an opera singer. Throughout the hotel, specially commissioned art reflects the tui and its habitat. Auckland artist Judi Bagust’s ink painting depicting the tui’s song adorns the wall of Paksa restaurant, while Australian painter Belynda Henry’s abstract portrayal of the New Zealand bush is reinterpreted as a print for rugs.
2. A playful personality
Each Naumi hotel is embodies a distinct character, and the property at Auckland Airport is flirtatious, with a magpie’s eye for shiny things. It has quirky interests – you can bring small pets to stay, flick through large-format design books in the lounge and leave the kids in a rumpus room with giant Jenga and other games. There’s a celebratory feel to Paksa bar and restaurant – where crowd-pleasers such as New Zealand lamb sit alongside flavours from the Pacific – which offers 24-hour room service. Twenty chandeliers in the shape of bursting fireworks give the space a celebratory feel. The scent of popcorn also floats in the air from a cart by the bar.
3. A portal to the outdoors
“Close to nature” isn’t something that can be said about most airport hotels, but Naumi’s 193 rooms are arranged around two green inner courtyards, one with a swimming pool and tiny putting green, and the second containing an English garden with broad-leaf deciduous trees taller than the hotel’s two stories. Less than a 10-minute drive away, Ambury Regional Park and the Mangere Domain offer walking trails and views of Manukau Harbour.
4. Style havens
Bold colour is the order of the day – most rooms at the Naumi hotel are teal and duck-egg blue – along with a focus on texture, such as decorative panels of overlaid wooden hexagons (feathers interpreted geometrically) and rugs which reference natural forms in their irregular shape. The focus on graphic silhouettes continues in the hotel’s two suites, one inspired by the zigzags of Italian fashion house Missoni, and the other by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s polka dots. A handful of rooms, named Blush, are designed with solo female travellers in mind, but welcome anyone who enjoys vibrant pink walls and uses hair straighteners. Complimentary snacks in all rooms include two retro New Zealand childhood classics: Bluebird potato chips and Cadbury chocolate fish.
5. A place to rest and rejuvenate
Jetlag is a serious side effect of travel to New Zealand from most places, so Naumi’s lounges offer comfortable nooks to rest. Thanks to Auckland interiors firm Material Creative, outsize elements in the common areas, such as giant Anglepoise lamps, convey an Alice-in-Wonderland feel, echoed by red-velvet wingbacked armchairs. In another corner, royal-blue sofas sit alongside shelves filled with curios, such as wooden bird sculptures and bell jars containing eggs. Throw in patterns and textures like sheepskin throws, plaid cushions, bronze planters and glass sculptures, and you have a chic eclectic home away from home.
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This article was originally published in the August 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine