- Guam Review and Guam Marriott Resort vs Guam Hilton Resort
- Saipan and the Hyatt Regency Saipan
- Asiana Airlines Business Class and Lounge
- Singapore Airlines Business Class and Lounge
- Queenstown Crowne Plaza, Kawarua Queenstown and the Auckland Crowne Plaza
- New Zealand Review
- Air New Zealand Business Premier
- Rarotonga Review
- Thai Airways Business Class and Lounge
Hotels in New Zealand are cheap. Because of this, this may not be the place you want to spend your hotel points but it is a good place to collect them. I probably collected 50,000 Priority Club points in our 10 days there, which is worth about 10 nights during PointBreaks (a bi-monthly sale that lists hotels you can redeem for 5,000 points). This is the love/hate with PC: I would have rather stayed at the Hilton or Hyatt but PC hotels just have such a good program for earning free nights.
If you’re in Queenstown there are really two options for the points enthusist (not including Accor Hotels); The Crowne Plaza (a Priority Club hotel) or the Hilton. Well, turns out Hilton owns two hotels that share the same property, managment and staff. This seems needlessly confusing but they are different. The Kawarau is cheaper and has a kitchen and the Hilton is more expensive and has fireplaces. The Kawarau and Hilton are right across the lake from downtown Queenstown while the Crowne Plaza is downtown. The Kawarau was too cheap to pass up, $85 NZD! While the CP was $149. We spent 4 nights at the CP and 3 at the Kawarau.
Truth be told, the Kawarau was much nicer. It’s new, cleaner and all around nicer. Despite being across the lake from downtown, you can still take the water taxi round trip everyday and still come out saving a lot of money. There is no question about it, this hotel is much nicer and cheaper. You might feel like there is nothing around after a little while but with the money you save, you can rent a car. As a Gold member I booked the cheapest room and was upgraded to a room with a lake view.
The Crowne Plaza Queenstown had good reviews but I was disappointed mostly because of having too-high expectations. The hotel felt a little old and it was one of the more expensive hotels. Also, not all balcony rooms have a good view as they face the buildings that are blocking the view of the lake. Luckily we were upgraded not only to a balcony but one on the 5th floor that looked over the buildings. This is one of my favorite views in the area.
The reality is, it doesn’t matter where you stay in Queenstown, the view is amazing.
The Crowne Plaza Auckland was also a little over priced but I get my money back in points. I couldn’t justify spending more for a Hyatt or Hilton during their currently disappointing promotions. Over all the hotel was a little unimpressive but there was nothing wrong with the hotel and it reached it’s primary goal of being a comfortable place. There was only one restaurant open but it was a good restaurant. The rooms were very plain but also clean. The reason it is priced the way it is might be it’s central location; on a hill downtown and one block from the bus stop.
Would I stay at these hotels again? No doubt about the Kawarau assuming the prices stay so low. The Crowne Plaza hotels are the most logical for me, especially when Hyatt and Hilton are not offering killer promotions, but not my first choice.
One last note. Hotels in New Zealand are cold in the winter! They do have heaters in the room but don’t tend to heat the rest of the building. So I put on my coat before going into the hallway. I imagine 5 star hotels aren’t as cold but correct me if I’m wrong!? Guess I should go back and find out.