Hamilton's historic, yet modern hotel
REVIEW: There are several good reasons to stay at Quest Hamilton on a business trip, but probably the main one is you won't lose the will to live because you have to stay more than one night in a pokey soul-less hotel room.
Yes, Quest is a hotel, but it is a historic refurbished building which means high studs, warm red bricks, plenty of natural light and room to swing a whole family of cats.
Auckland developer Safari Group won high praise from the Historic Places Trust for its sensitive and painstaking $10 million makeover this year of the attractive old Anchor building on the corner of London and Victoria streets in the CBD.
The nearly 100-year-old building, once the bustling administrative centre of the Waikato dairy industry, has been converted into serviced apartments which have been snapped up by mainly overseas investors and leased to Quest.
For the record, it's a Category II registered historic building and A-listed on the Hamilton City Council district plan heritage schedule.
The Historic Places Trust says Safari went above and beyond in its restoration of a derelict and vandalised property.
You could stay a week or more without getting cabin fever thanks to the sheer space and restful decor. The apartments are completely self-contained, immaculate and bigger than some Auckland apartments I have visited.
Furnishings and appliances are modern but carefully chosen to complement, rather than compete with, the olde worlde feel engendered by the wonderful big “crittle” windows that are the building's main feature.
My one bedroom apartment had a separate master bedroom with a comfortable bed, a full kitchen, dining table, lounge, and modern bathroom with laundry facilities.
There was a heat pump, plenty of pillows and blankets and a good shower. The corporate rate per night for that apartment was $153.
Broadband internet was available for a cost, along with business administration services and breakfast options.
The building's heritage is underlined by interesting old photos of Hamilton in the rooms and corridors which make for happy browsing.
Another good reason to stay at Quest is that the Domaine Eatery is just a short stroll away in Victoria St.
Quest has a charge-back arrangement with Domaine, as well as several other local restaurants.
I dined at Domaine some years ago and was prepared to be underwhelmed again, not realising the restaurant is under new ownership.
Jeff Dunstan, a co-owner of the Phoenix Group, runs the cutter these days and his chefs served up a glorious meal. The service was smart and friendly, the wine advice spot on, the plates warm as they should be, and the food - while mains at $35 to $38 might cause the company accountant to gulp a bit if you ate there every night - were worth every cent.
A memorable dining experience in a restaurant of which Hamilton can be proud.
Andrea Fox is business editor of the Waikato Times. Her stay at Quest Hamilton was hosted by Quest and her meal by Domaine.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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