I found this hotel to be rather disappointing and does not deserve consideration as a five-star hotel.. Bottom line is the SkiCity Grand Hotel is better suited for convention attendees or business people who are comfortable staying in Marriott or Sheraton business style hotel.
To me the components of a great hotel are quality of service, the facilities, and attitude of its staff. In my experience this hotel failed on both service and staff attitude. With hardly an exception much of the hotel’s staff came across as unwelcoming and lacked genuine hospitality.
This is the first hotel I have ever stayed at where a housekeeper and the mini-bar attendant could use their electronic keycard to override a deadbolt when the guest has locked the door. In all my experience such an override is limited to a hotel’s security staff or management in the case of an emergency. Neither a housekeeper or a minibar attendant should have be granted such access and this seriously brings into question a guest’s privacy when staying at this hotel. Fortunately I was not caught is some kind of undress or compromising situation.
In this hotel if you desire a daily newspaper, the hotel has a special card you hang on your outer door knob. While this works well in controlling the needless distribution of unwanted morning papers, the morning delivery person will knock on your door in the early morning hours to announce the arrival of your paper. The knocking is startling and annoying all at the same time. Perhaps the knocking is a clever way to discourage people from requesting any additional newspaper delivery? I much prefer my wake-up coming from a phone call at the time I select and not at the convenience of a bellman delivering the paper.
On the third day of my stay, as the minibar attendant was already entering my room before I could answer the knock at the door, I questioned her as to why a bottle of wine had been placed on top of the minibar. She explained that it was a replacement for the partially consumed bottle in the refrigerator. It never dawned on me to conduct an inventory of my mini-bar and I assured the attendant I had not opened the bottle. She explained that she had already charged me for it and would check to see if the charge could be removed. I do not understand why this was not caught when the last guest had checked out of my room several days earlier and, unfortunately, resulted in a rather uncomfortable interaction with the mini-bar attendant.
Equally troubling was the fact a light bulb in my bathroom had burned out and though I had brought it to my housekeeper’s attention, it remained unaddressed. The next day this still had not been repaired.
Upon going out of the hotel in the morning, I approached the front desk to inquire about a late check-out since I had a late afternoon departure the next day. I told the young lady I had read a 50% day rate would apply up until 5:00 pm and I was interested in this service. I was immediately corrected, rather sternly, I was in error and that there would be a $35 per charge per hour for a late departure. The fact I had spent five nights at this hotel was of no concern to this autocratic desk agent; but, she suggested she might be able to arrange an additional one hour use of the room.
Following my request for a late check-out, I requested to speak with the hotel manager to bring to his or her attention the lapse in privacy, my minibar charge, the maintenance failure to fix the light, and a threadbare bathrobe with holes. I was directed to a young man also at the front desk. When I shared my concerns to this “manager”, he became flustered and ill trained in dealing with such simple complaints. At no time did he make an effort to make notation of the issues I had expressed.
Upon returning to my room nearly six hours later, I discovered the bathroom light had not been repaired which further annoyed me about the lack of attention to service in this hotel. When I phoned down to speak with another manager, he stated there was no record of such a complaint and asked if a maintenance person could be dispatched to my room. I accepted his offer and the light was repaired within fifteen minutes.
To be completely fair, I did experience a positive level of service on my morning of arrival when the front desk called me a couple of hours of my arrival to ensure the power adapter for my computer was in my room as I had requested via email several days prior to my arrival. The desk agent mentioned I would find it in the minibar drawer, which it was. The only negative to this bit of service was being awoke from a deep sleep after having just arrived about two hours earlier around 6:30 am.
Another plus in this hotel are its guest rooms. They are large and the bed is extremely comfortable. The housekeeping and condition of the furnishings were excellent. The rooms feature very relaxing earth tone colors and have a hot water cooker for tea and instant coffee. There is a small wooden box containing a nice arrangement of teas; but, a word of caution to coffee lovers - the instant coffee is not very good. Not to worry, there are a number of coffee stores within a easy walking distance of the hotel as is a small convenience store in the event you want to save 50% of more for the high minibar costs for soda, water or snacks.
The bathroom is nicely equipped with a glass enclosed shower and a large soaking tub. The bath towels are generously sized and thick.
For older travelers such as myself, I would suggest having a bellman escort you to your room so that you can be trained in the operation of your room lights as well as the heating and cooling systems. The windows in the rooms do not open to allow in fresh air, so proper operation of the heating and cooling system can be important for your comfort. I found myself technically challenged with learning how your key card has to be inserted into a master control unit next to your door enabling the guest to take control of their room.
Without you room key card inserted into this unit, you cannot control lighting of your air handling system. Equally as unusual for American travelers is the fact the electric outlets all have on/off control switches, too. The only lights that will work independently of the master light switch are the two nightstand lamps. It is unfortunate the desk lamp cannot operate independently like the bedside lamps.
Equally as challenging for us Yankees, is the absence of a Fahrenheit setting on the thermostat. Because the room temperature is automatically reset to a maintenance level when your key card is removed from the control unit, it becomes somewhat challenging to calibrate the comfort level of your room. Fortunately I traveled with my net-book and used it to convert my preferred temperature level to Celsius. “Set it and forget it” does not apply to the comfort level in these hotel rooms.
My comments may seem petty to some; but, such petty service issues do not make a five star hotel in my honest opinion. It is my sincerest hope these remarks will find their way to Skycity Grand Hotel management and they can use them to better their hotel and strive for a true five star classification, as well as a flawless guest experience. As my experience has shown me, just because the hotel calls itself grand only serves to differentiate itself from its sister hotel across the street.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover an oasis of luxury in the heart of Auckland’s vibrant city. Beautifully appointed, modern and spacious rooms are just the start of this 5-star experience. Stunning views, award-winning dining, the iconic Sky Tower and the tranquil East Day Spa await you. Wi-Fi is complimentary. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sky City Hotel
- Skycity Grand Auckland
- Hotel Skycity Grand
- SKYCITY Grand Hotel Auckland, New Zealand