Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Family Guide to Copthorne Wellington






It's been 8 years since I visited Wellington, whaaaaat!  Zan and the kids had never been, so we packed in heaps of adventures to fill our stay with memories.  We were in Wellington for a total of three nights, just long enough to tick off a bunch of things from our Wellington bucket list.  I'll share our highlight reel soon, but today it's all about some pretty ace accommodation in Wellington city.    






We actually spent a long time deciding where to stay.  Without a car handy, we really wanted a central location.  We planned for a lot of walking, but didn't want to punish the kids too much :-/.  Somewhere central, hopefully pretty...  I'm gonna admit to finding Wellington suburbs a teeny bit claustrophobic at times, which ruled out the Terrace or accommodation around Lambton Quay.  

In the end we went with Copthorne Wellington, and Oriental Parade was perrrrrfect.  One of my very favourite parts of Wellington, and not far from my final (and favourite) student flat.  If we hadn't been on a tourist schedule, we could easily have spent our entire three days down by the waterfront, Oriental Bay in particular.  We seemed to gravitate naturally that way most days, once the afternoon settled...  Can't you see why?








Though we weren't in a family room (we had Superior Plus Rooms, for reference), our room arrangement felt particularly spacious and well thought out.  The kids had their own little nook, separated from our room by the bathroom, and connected via a little hallway.  With dim lighting and no TV down their end it was super easy to put them to bed, and then enjoy the rest of our evening watching the city lights appear.  

Our space was particularly warm, comfortable, and tasteful.  Slightly tired furniture, perhaps, but a lovely bed, plenty of storage space and a nice big television.  Nothing could beat the balcony view though.  We could've been in a shoebox (we weren't) and still happy.  It never grew boring, and was perhaps one of my favourite aspects of the whole trip.





Privacy:

The staff at Copthorne were very friendly and helpful, offering maps, instructions and tips for visiting Wellington.  They then left us to ourselves for the remainder of our stay, which was totally perf.

Our room was super quiet for the entire stay.  We could almost have had the entire hotel to ourselves for all we knew, a far cry from the constant noise during our stay in Auckland.  This really felt like a luxury after spending the day amidst the city hustle.  There is definitely variance when it comes to hotel noise, and this was amongst the quietest hotel stays we've experienced.






Local:

We were very lucky to have the absolute best weather during our visit, crisp blue skies and barely a touch of wind.  Perfect conditions for crocodile biking and playground hunting.  The best part of each day was waking up to that morning view - pretty, blue, temptress skies luring us outside.

Copthorne Wellington was close to everything.  We started each morning at the Waterfront, visiting Te Papa, Crocodile Biking, checking out markets and just generally being very touristy.  On our biggest walking day we got as far as the Beehive, before heading up Willis St to Le Moulin Bakery for French pastries, and then back down Cuba to see a show.  We used public transport once in order to bus the kids back along Lambton Quay, but otherwise we walked everywhere.

Because Courtenay and Cuba are so close, there are ample options for meals.  Of course you could grab a bite somewhere along Oriental Parade too.  We actually found that the hardest part was narrowing down our choices.  

There is a supermarket nearby, if you tire of restaurant meals (though no cooking facilities in the rooms). >> Tip: invest in some plastic bowls so that you can breakfast in your room and save your meal budget for lunch or dinner.









Facilities:

I'll admit we didn't use many.  We took the kids up to the pool one afternoon, but we really had to squeeze that into our tightly budgeted time.  As hotel pools go it was fairly small and not all that exciting, but room prices also include free access to Freyberg Pool (directly across the road) for guests who are keen swimmers.  On another trip, we'd make the most of this for sure.

Copthorne Wellington is also equipped with a gym and a full restaurant, though again, we didn't utilise either facility during this particular visit.





Room for improvement:

As far as family-friendly hotels go, Copthorne Wellington is right up there.  So close to being perfect.  In-room entertainment was the only downer for me.  Paid internet and limited TV channels (Sky movies and the basic freeview channels - no +one).  Not a huge deal, but there were a couple of times when it would've been so handy to put a show on for the kids, or to watch something decent ourselves, later in the evening.  It's painful to admit that I had Netflix withdrawals, but I definitely wasn't interested in paying exorbitant fees for wifi.  Yeah, call me a scrooge, but money is coffee, people!  Money is coffee!  (NB. I don't even drink coffee anymore, but that is sooooo not the point!)

But Thor... so all was not lost...




All in all we would definitely recommend Copthorne Wellington to families.  I couldn't picture a more ideal location.  Quiet, clean, and very comfortable.  If you're on a tight budget, I do suggest taking a laptop loaded with your favourite movies, and perhaps some tableware for dining in.  Otherwise, it couldn't really be more perfect!


Copthorne Wellington offered us discounted rooms in return for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own :-)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Maranui Cafe, Lyall Bay


As a finale for our midwinter roadie, we planned such a quick trip to the Wellington.  Time enough to visit some favourite spots and a few new ones.  We were fortunate enough to travel from Palmerston North with a friend, who was happy to tour the bays with us before she went home.  Such a pretty way to enter the city, bypassing all the city bits (for now) and heading straight to the water's edge.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

'Return' - Aaron Becker

'Return' - Aaron Becker


Stories without texts are automatic favourites in our house.  We love words, too, of course. In fact, we have to send Eleanor to bed with a notebook and pencil, so that she can save words to look up in the morning (parentals currently performing dictionary duty, but guess what she's getting for her birthday).

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Birdwoods, Havelock North


I tagged our midwinter holiday as a road trip, but it really wasn't.  We seriously cheated!  After a few hours in Auckland we caught a plane to Napier and spent half a week there, with my sister and her family.  Definitely a luxury, but so worth it.  

Friday, July 29, 2016

'Goodnight Everyone' - Chris Haughton

'Goodnight Everyone' - Chris Haughton


Big Bear and the other animals are sleepy and ready for bed, but Little Bear isn't tired yet.  Basically. A simple premise and a very cute little book.  The kind you would read in a really nice slow voice to make everyone feel suitably sleepy.

24 Hours in Auckland


Happy Saturday, y'all!  I'm SO happy to be here, that was one loooong week!  Getting back into the work routine is not easy, so I'm gonna take some time to reminisce about the adventure portion of our recent school break, starting with our speed-dating sesh with Auckland city...

Friday, July 22, 2016

Homeschool Field Trip: Farm Visit


A few weeks back we visited the lifestyle farm of a friend of ours.  The kids have been listening to Dick King-Smith's 'Sophie' stories, so farms, on any scale, held quite a bit of appeal.  Some of our homeschool group made the trip too, despite the gloomy weather.  Last term was pretty quiet when it came to homeschool outings (we made up for it in the holidays).  I think we'll have to up our game a little this term.