The Dominion Post

Inside Wellington’s new hotel escape

- Brook Sabin

It is the best way to wake up: the smell of coffee wafting into your room. The chemicals in my brain are like hungry wolves, with the first scent of prey.

The capital’s newest hotel, which has its launch party today and opens on Saturday, has an edgy New York industrial vibe – it feels like I could be in The Big Apple. But, as my confused brain becomes fully conscious, I realise, yes, I’m still in Wellington.

The Intrepid Hotel is co-owned by Sean Golding, who is behind the city’s craft beer bar Golding’s Free Dive and neighbouri­ng restaurant Shepherd. And just like everything Golding touches, The Intrepid is set to become another stellar destinatio­n.

Stuff Travel was given a sneak peek of the hotel before it opened, with free rein of the place for 24 hours. Here’s what we found.

THE PLACE

The hotel is in the former Cadbury Chocolate warehouse on Ghuznee St, opposite Glover Park. It’s ideally located for those who want to eat out and shop while visiting the capital and has just undergone extensive earthquake strengthen­ing.

THE SPACE

The hotel has 18 luxury industrial-style rooms, but this space is unlike any you will find in the city.

Inside, the hotel has been stripped back to its raw brick beauty. In true industrial style, pipes deliver wiring around the room, and sizeable swing lamps hover over the bed. Your bedside table is a tree stump.

In a nod to Wellington’s alternativ­e side, the uber-comfy dressing gowns have hoods – and look like those that boxers wear before a match. But, all you have to wrestle with here is selfcontro­l: with fresh coffee and pastries waiting outside your room each morning.

It takes a lot of design dexterity to blend industrial luxury with a touch of grunge culture – but it all works together effortless­ly.

THE FACILITIES

If you’re staying here, the city is the main attraction. So don’t expect a gym or a big buffet breakfast. However, your room does have a fridge full of compliment­ary local beverages, alongside snacks.

The hotel building is also home to The Puffin – run by the hotel’s other co-owner Hannah Wells. The chic bar, full of plush booths, specialise­s in organic wine and is tucked away at the back of the hotel.

Each night, your turn down service includes a Pinky Bar on the pillow – a little reminder of the building’s Cadbury heritage.

THE FOOD

Expect freshly brewed coffee (or tea, if you’re in the enviable position of not being ruled by caffeine) ready to drink outside your room in the morning. There will also be some fresh pastries from Leeds Street Bakery, which is just around the corner.

The Puffin also has small plates in the evening, but given the hotel is surrounded by one of the country’s highest concentrat­ions of eateries, you’ll want to venture out.

WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR

Hannahs Laneway is just around the corner. There you will find one of Golding’s other ventures, the excellent restaurant Shepherd. The laneway also has Pomodoro Pizza (traditiona­l Neapolitan wood-fired pizza), the

Wellington Chocolate Factory and Lashings, home to delectable brownies.

THE VERDICT

Finally, the city has a hotel that reflects the soul of the city. A bit hipster, a bit grungy, a bit flash; everything I love about the capital.

THE HIGHLIGHT

A hotel with attitude. Wellington has plenty of bland hotels; this certainly isn’t one of them.

THE LOWLIGHT

A tiny bit dark, owing to the brick bones of the building. But, all can be forgiven; it was originally designed to house chocolate, not people. And we all know what happens if chocolate gets too much sun.

MORE INFORMATIO­N

A night at The Intrepid starts from $280. See theintrepi­dhotel. com

The author’s trip was supported by Wellington­NZ

 ??  ??
 ?? BROOK SABIN/STUFF ?? The Intrepid Hotel’s lobby sets the scene.
BROOK SABIN/STUFF The Intrepid Hotel’s lobby sets the scene.
 ??  ?? The hotel has three room categories.
The hotel has three room categories.
 ??  ?? The hotel opens on Saturday.
The hotel opens on Saturday.

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