“ Address: 2-6 Gilmer Terrace / Wellington 6011 / New Zealand / Tel: (04) 499 9911 „
I have spent a number of my adult years living in "windy" Wellington, the capital of Aotearoa (Maori for the land of the long white cloud) or its more common name, New Zealand. I lived there between June 2000 - June 2001 as part of my university course. I really enjoyed this experience in Wellington, so I grabbed the opportunity to work there permanently after I graduated in 2002. I returned back to Wellington in August 2002 and lived there until January 2008, when my partner (now fiancée) and I decided to move back to the UK to pursue a career opportunity. It was nearly 2 years after we left, that we returned to Wellington as part of a well earned 4 week Xmas holiday in New Zealand. We stayed in the Travelodge Wellington for 8 nights between Sunday 13th - Monday 21st December.
BACKGROUND ON TRAVELODGE WELLINGTON
This hotel was formerly known as the Copthorne Plimmer Towers Hotel, but since I left Wellington, the hotel became a Travelodge on 19th April 2008. The Travelodge Wellington underwent a major refurbishment between October 2008 and was only re-opened just a few months ago, in August 2009. The hotel has been completely revamped with each of the 132 accommodation rooms containing new light fittings and new LCD televisions. The hotel conference facilities, as described by Travelodge, have been given a "face lift", and the hotel foyer has been "transformed". Whilst we had no need to check out the conference facilities, the hotel foyer is certainly very modern looking and clean, which makes for a good first impression.
WHY DID WE BOOK THIS HOTEL?
We were very tempted to throw our money at the more grander and renowned Wellington hotels such as the James Cook or Intercontinental. However we decided that the money would be better spent on meals and evenings out whilst we were in the capital. The main drivers for choosing the right hotel to meet our needs were a central location at an affordable price. The Travelodge certainly ticked both of these boxes. We booked this hotel through Expedia, which gave a good range of hotels from the most expensive (mentioned above), to the more cheaper hotels, which included the Travelodge. The 8 nights came to a total of £345.76 which works out to be a very competitive £43.22 per night. In local currency this is approximately NZ $95 per night, based on an approximate exchange rate of NZ $2.2 for every £1. For all of those budding Money Saving Experts out there, Expedia can be found on cashback websites such as as TopCashback at a very favourable rate of 7.25%. This meant that after booking this hotel at a decent price, we also earned £25.08 cashback, which was quickly tracked. A payment is now on its way as I write this review.
The hotel is vary conveniently located by Plimmer steps, which is just off Lambton Quay, the major shopping street and a very central location in Wellington. From the hotel you are only a few minutes walk away from locations such as the Cable car, Te Papa Museum of New Zealand and the harbour. As we were meeting up with a number of ex-workmates and friends at various times over the 8 days, we wanted somewhere where we would only be a 5-10 minute walk away from meeting up for coffee or a drink. The Travelodge fitted the bill, especially as we did not hire a rental car. The one drawback with the access to the hotel via Plimmer steps is that you have to climb a few steps (approximately 12 steps) before you can reach the glass door entrance which lead up to the lifts. You can avoid these steps during the working day through a small shopping precinct (AMI Plaza) which runs adjacent to the entrance. However out of working hours this precinct is closed. We did not find these steps a problem, but for anyone with limited mobility, you may find this a major drawback. The main entrance to the hotel is at Gilmer Terrace but this is a fair walk away, by walking all the way up Plimmer steps - even more steps to climb, or by walking up the hilly Boulcott Street.
GENERAL HOTEL FACILITIES
If you access the hotel via Plimmer Steps the reception is located on Level 6 from the lifts. The lift facilities are spacious, speedy and modern. The reception area, as mentioned above, is modern and clean, and the staff are very friendly and welcoming. There were no problems with our Expedia pre-booking which was smoothly processed at check-in. There are car parking facilities at the Gilmer Terrace main entrance but these are limited and charges apply.
There is a bar and restaurant available at the hotel, but we did not use them as the hotel location is in the heart of Wellington, where there are a plethora of great bars, restaurants and cafes. There are also internet facilities available, at a cost of $2 for 20 minutes, but the time counters idea of a second seemed a lot shorter than mine!
If you feel that you have over-indulged there is a very basic gym in the hotel containing a treadmill, machine weights, cycling machine and a rowing machine. However, as long as the weather is playing nicely, there is a far more attractive "gym" by running along the picturesque Wellington harbour. The harbour is only a 5 minute walk (or 2 minute jog) away from Lambton Quay.
THE ROOM AND ITS FACILITIES
We were located on the 16th floor, in room 1609, for those of you who were curious. The facilities of our room were far superior to any Travelodge that I have stayed at in the UK. The room was spacious with a comfortable generic grey carpet, with 2 large windows on either side of the Samsung LCD Television. The view was not anything spectacular, mostly of other buildings in the CBD and a car park, but this view was softened by a number of gorgeous sunny days.
Whilst we were staying at the Travelodge, our room was serviced in the mid afternoon, which rarely posed a problem as we usually out. There were also enough basic facilities to allow for self caterers, to a certain extent. This included a dining table with 2 chairs, a couple of bowls and plates, and also a small amount of cutlery. There was also enough space in the minibar fridge to store milk for your cereal in the morning, plus some chocolate biscuits if you have a sweet tooth like us. The ability to buy a cheap bag of Skippies Cornflakes and eat them for breakfast, meant that we could save more money for catching up with friends later on. The room also has a microwave, but we did not need to use this whilst we were there - there are plenty of tastier cheap eating options in Wellington rather that eating a ready meal!
The bed in the room was a standard double size and was very comfortable - it was neither too soft or firm, just right. We had absolutely no problems getting a decent nights sleep, and thankfully the curtains had no problems blocking out the early morning New Zealand sunlight. This allowed us to get over the jetlag in a couple of days or so. At one side of the room tucked away to the side was a 2 person red sofa, which seemed to be positioned there for lack of anywhere else to put it.
The storage facilities were fairly standard, the room contained an open wardrobe with 8 coat hangers. Thankfully the room also had its own iron and ironing board which allowed me to iron out the creases of my shirts before we went out to dinner. There was also a sturdy luggage storage cabinet which kept my suitcase out of harms way. The room also contains an in room safe to secure away those essential "must not lose" travel items.
For all of those telly addicts out there, there are enough TV channels to briefly fight away boredom before bedtime or on a rainy day, but be warned - New Zealand TV can be especially dull, particularly in Summer! However if you are a fan of re-runs of Heartbeat and a number of other UK or US shows, then you'll be in luck. The full channels available are TV1, TV2, TV3, C4, Discovery, TV6, Sky Sports 1, Sky News NZ and Movies on Demand.
The bathroom was nicely tiled containing a toilet, sink and a large shower cubicle. The mirror was large with no escape for the reflection looking back at you! There was plently of storage area for toiletries. The shower was a large open plan shower, with the shower head behind a fixed glass wall, with the other half of the cubicle open so that you could get in and out. The shower was a refreshing and awakening power shower, leaving you with no excuse not to be ready for the day ahead. However, the absence of a bath was a bit of a downer, particularly after a hard day walking around the city.
I was generally very impressed with this hotel and its facilities when considering the price and the excellent location in the heart of Wellington. I think that the Travelodge sometimes carries a certain stigma in the hotel world as a very basic but admittedly affordable hotel brand, but the facilities at this hotel are much better than any other Travelodge that I have stayed at in the UK. The comfortable bed and room facilities really helped with beating the jetlag and also allowed us to make our own breakfast in the morning. I found the staff friendly and welcoming, and they always seemed happy to help. The only slight drawbacks which brings the overall rating to 4 stars, are that access via Plimmer steps could be problematic for those with limited mobility. Also the lack of a bath was a bit of a disappointment after walking around the city on a hot Summers day.
2-6 Gilmer Terrace, Wellington
(+64 4) 499 9911
© CJG, 2010