When I took the Delta inaugural flight down to Auckland I didn't just want to visit the big city but I wanted to go somewhere that has been on my bucket list for years. Not only are the approaches into Queenstown airport stunning, but the small town is absolutely beautiful.
I had a chance to stay there for a few days and explore, with such a small town I wanted somewhere centrally located and easy to walk to nearby attractions. I landed on the Crowne Plaza Queenstown, and I must say I think I made the right choice.
For this trip I ended up using points, I may not have gotten the best value for the points but this trip was very fluid when it came to planning that I wanted an easy way to cancel if I missed a flight or plans changed at the last moment.
Normally standard rooms at this Crown Plaza are pretty expensive, ranging from the low season for $250NZD per night all the way up to over $400NZD per night during peak season. The cash price for the time of year I visited was just over the $250NZD per night figure. Late October is when Queenstown is still going from cold to warm, nights got pretty chilly at 40F but during the day warmed up to the 70s and I was happily walking around with shorts and a t-shirt on.
In Queenstown there are two clusters of hotels to choose from, the first is up by the airport. There's a nice looking Hilton and two golf courses nearby, however it's pretty secluded from proper downtown Queenstown and if you wanted to visit you'd have to rent a car or take about a 20 minute Uber ride around the bay. The second is downtown Queenstown, this is where you want to be.
The town is pretty small and if you pick a hotel near the downtown area everything is about a 5-10 walk wherever you need it. The Crowne Plaza is right at the south end of the town, but it's great walking distances from shopping and activities. The bus pickup for many tours is right across the street from the hotel and if you take any lake cruises they depart just across from the hotel as well.
Everything from the gondola to shopping is also within a 10 minute walk, the central location is worth the premium.
The lobby area is nice, there's a small seating area to hang out and have drinks with the bar available right next to it, there's an in-house concierge in the lobby right next to the check-in, and a restaurant offering both table service as well as room service.
While I booked a standard room I was upgraded to a water view standard room, and wow were the views stunning. I was also the "guest of the day" which meant they gave me a free bottle of wine with the upgrade. Maybe because it was right about my birthday or I was one of the few Platinum members checking in that day but it was very tasteful and welcoming.
There was nothing overly special about the room, the bathroom was of decent sized and had a tub if you care for a soak, the king bed was very comfy and I may have dozed off after arriving because I was so tired from all the flying. But the highlight was the balcony, the views of the water and mountains were amazing and during my time there I couldn't help but stare out the window for hours on end seeing the world go by.
One special offer that you usually find in high end hotels is a pillow menu. The Crowne Plaza has three different types of pillows you can order from synthetic pillows in varying hardness, U-shaped pillows, and even ergonomic contour pillows. I was quite surprised that this would be offered at this tier of hotel.
If you do book I would highly recommend that you get a water view room as it makes the sunrises and sunsets look amazing.
The lobby bar was very busy on evenings, lots of people milling about and talking. While I didn't have any food I did have some drinks and talked with some visitors from all over the world. I even ran into some people who were on the same Delta inaugural flight as me that was staying at my hotel.
We got to talking and they too wanted not to just visit Auckland but use the inaugural flight as a way to visit Queenstown since it's extremely hard to travel to.
However with so many local food options I would highly recommend that you skip room service or the lobby bar and head out on the town. There's a nearby burger shop called FergBurger which has some astounding burgers, and loads of bakeries and shops up and down the main town you can find something better to eat.
All the staff I talked to were wondering. It might be the Kiwi accent or the genuine hospitality of the locals but everyone I met either at the airport or around Queenstown were extremely lovely to talk to. I even struck up quite the conversation with my Uber driver from the airport who was very eager to point around all the sights as we drove into town.
Queenstown is all about staying near downtown to get the most out of this wonderful little city. Being one of the best centrally located hotels the Crown Plaza is perfect for anyone wanting to experience the city or catch a tour. The easy walking distance to the Skyline gondola and activities makes it a desirable location and one that you don't even need to worry about renting a car. I think it's critical that you get a water view room as the others simply don't do this beautiful picturesque town justice.
I absolutely want to go back and when I do the Crowne Plaza will be on my list again to consider.