The Heart of it All – Hotel Magazine

It makes sense that the nation’s largest hotel is located in the heart of the largest city. Surrounded by fashionable boutiques, quaint cafes and designer galleries waiting to be explored, the Cordis Auckland offers a premium experience in the heart of it all. 

Franz Mascarenhas is the hotel’s Managing Director. With over 35 years of experience working across three global luxury brands, he had assignments in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Shanghai before taking his role at the Cordis Auckland in 2013. 

Upgrades to the hotel, or more specifically, the addition of the Pinnacle Tower, started in August 2019 and finished in November 2021. Construction of a massive tower in such close proximity to an operating hotel, all the while navigating a global pandemic, was a challenging task but one the team took in their stride.

The Heart of it All – Hotel Magazine

“We worked with a number of contractors, including construction company Hawkins, New Zealand architects Jasmax, interior designers Space Studio, Rider Levett Bucknall, Auercon and many more,” said Mascarenhas.

The Pinnacle Tower brings the hotel’s room count to 640. The 17-floor tower added 244 premium rooms and signature Cordis suites, totalling the country’s largest room count. This addition followed the extensive renovation of the existing hotel rooms in 2018. The Pinnacle Tower offers breathtaking 360-degree views of iconic Auckland landmarks from its upper floors, while the top floor hosts the luxurious 252.6 square metre Chairman Suite. The rest of the rooms are highly versatile, with interconnecting options that are ideal for families and groups. The tower is functional, flexible and full of style.

The Club Lounge is located on Level 14 of the Pinnacle Tower, and guests who book a Suite or Executive Room are automatically entitled to Club privileges. It is the biggest in any New Zealand hotel and is the ideal retreat for afternoon drinks and canapes or made-to-order breakfasts for the early risers. 

Art is a significant feature of the hotel’s upgrades. It is now home to one of New Zealand’s largest commercially curated and commissioned art collections. The Maori concepts of Te Whai Ao (light before the dawn), Kaitiakitanga (guardianship of the natural world) and the Manawa Line are behind the Pinnacle Tower’s new art collection, featuring some of New Zealand’s most prominent contemporary artists. This cultural influence is experienced from the moment guests walk into reception. The specifically designed promenade connects the original hotel to the new tower and features an impressive abstract walk through nature. Guests can explore the hotel’s art independently or organise a guided tour. 

Eighteen meeting spaces, from the Boardroom to the Ballroom, are available at the hotel. The two newest event space additions are the Jade Room and the state-of-the-art board room in the Pinnacle tower, alongside a new space on the tenth floor of the existing hotel. 

With more rooms comes more guests, so the Cordis Auckland had to prepare its other offerings.

“We have expanded the hotel’s Eight Restaurant, taking the total capacity from 180 to 250. We also added a new destination bar called Our Land is Alive, showcasing only New Zealand sourced food and beverages with a local twist. Supporting local has never been more important, so we are raising a glass to New Zealand’s hard-working producers.”

Nikau Hindin Tātai Arorangi III Kōkōwai (red ochre), ngārahu (soot pigment), pukepoto (blue earth pigment) and yellow kōkōwai on aute, (Māori barkcloth) Photographer: Sam Hartnett.

While the premium level of service at the Cordis Auckland hasn’t changed since its upgrades, guests are given a greater variety of options and breathtaking views. 

There are, however, several new features that Mascarenhas is particularly proud of. The nine new Executive Suites all have outdoor balconies, all the rooms have Cordis Dream Beds, and the Chairman Suite has an impressive list of features on its own. Curated artwork with an exclusive piece by Nikau Hindin, a butler’s pantry, a gigantic round bath, a balcony fire pit and a fully equipped kitchen.

The interior of the Pinnacle Tower rooms reflects the natural environment. The tiles are reminiscent of native birdlife, and patterns on the blinds speak to the ripples of water. Each room has a Paper Nautilus (Pūpū terakihi) shell, a symbol that speaks directly to the settlement of Auckland city. Each carving also features a Manawa line through its centre, which can also be seen on the façade of the Pinnacle Tower at the corner of City Road and Symonds Street.

“Cordis is Latin for heart, the Manawa line is the central artery, and represents balance and strength. Manawa can also mean “heart-warming”, and Manawa is also a greeting – symbolic of Cordis Auckland’s hospitality.”

The team at the hotel currently sits at around 440 employees, but Mascarenhas is looking at ways to expand during recurring current staff shortages – “If anyone is reading this and wants to work with us, please do get in contact!”

Traveller levels remain much lower than they were pre-Covid for the hotel. Airlines are still only operating at 71 percent, so while the focus is currently on Trans-Tasman and Domestic travellers for the hotel, Mascarenhas hopes to see more travellers soon after a tough few years.

The Cordis Auckland has received several excellent accolades. It was named on the Forbes Recommended Rating list for 2020 and 2022, and is the only hotel in NZ to receive this Recommended Rating. It was named in the Top 10 Hotels in Australasia in the Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, the Best New Zealand MICE Hotel in the World MICE Awards for 2022 and was listed in the CNBC’s Best Hotels for Business Travellers. It also reached the EarthCheck sustainability status in 2022 for its ongoing commitment to the environment and is only one of 15 hotels globally with the certification.

“These awards wouldn’t be possible without our team’s five-star service and their willingness to deliver above and beyond for our guests every day.”

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