Hospitality Business Magazine

Sweeping views at peak new dine & drink experience

QT Auckland has officially opened its doors, welcoming guests to experience 150 extraordinary rooms and suites; signature restaurant Esther in collaboration with Chef Sean Connolly, and the sixth-floor bar Rooftop at QT featuring sweeping views across the Waitemata harbour.  

Nestled in Viaduct Harbour, QT Auckland promises a luxuriously quirky escape that reflects its harbourside locale. Bursting with new design-led details, the guest rooms and public spaces all tell a story, celebrating individuality in a world less conventional.

QT Auckland General Manager Doron Whaite says, “From fashion to art and music, no detail was spared in bringing QT’s signature service to life here in Auckland. Throughout the hotel, including Esther and Rooftop at QT, there are so many carefully considered components to discover, all pointing to a central narrative of unearthing hidden treasure.” 

Journey through public spaces bursting with local flair

An iconic presence at the doors of QT Auckland, guests are greeted with theatrical flair by a Director of Chaos armed with insider knowledge for guests to navigate the City of Sails. Dressed in an empowering ensemble by local fashion label Maggie Marilyn and a custom makeup look by Alpeh, Directors of Chaos and the front-of-house team are the starting point of the QT Hotel experience.

Works by local artists such as Ilya Volykhine, Louise McRrae and Max Patté are featured throughout the hotel’s public spaces, as well as a collection of quirky and unexpected pieces by Auckland creative agency, Misterwolf. The collaboration for custom ‘salon hang’ art on each floor’s lift lobby resulted in 90 individual bespoke works delivered in the iconic QT style – a mixed match of customised prints and artworks inspired by local history and culture.

Chase the food of the sun at Esther

Flow from the lobby into Esther’s light and airy marina-side bar and restaurant. Reminiscent of the Mediterranean, Esther recalls a summer spent skipping from Southern France to Sicily to Morocco. Chef Sean Connolly’s influence shines through not only the menu but ambience.

The stage is set with energetic background beats and a welcoming team dressed in Matt Nash linen for a homely, come-as-you-are vibe. A custom-made statement art installation is suspended from the restaurant’s ceiling, a nod to Auckland’s fishing industry with references to underwater orbs and kelp on hand woven metal.

Esther displays a host of vintage found objects as mindful decoration to evoke memory and conversation. A casual collection of vintage metal work benches, vases, urns and ceramic kitchenware are inspired by Chef Sean Connolly’s grandmother and how she used to bring joy to the family dining table.

The country-style kitchen allows for the theatrical preparation of produce and seafood, with an open hearth, gold Marana Forni discoball wood-fired oven, and a Molteni oven in a custom hue of green. With a mix of traditional techniques and New Zealand ingredients, standouts include the custom lamb tomahawk, the vibrant Te Anau saffron linguine, barrel-aged feta at the centre of a Greek salad, an ever-changing selection of freshly caught daily seafood, and to finish the feast six farmhouse puddings.

Guests will walk away with a seed packet by Clevedon-based tomato growers, Curious Croppers, to remember their dining experience.

Elevate the mood at Rooftop at QT

Perched above it all on the sixth floor, Rooftop at QT offers a peak drink and dine experience flowing from laid back afternoons to lavish late nights. Open Wednesday through Sunday, the stylish scene is set with dark and moody finishes to allow the eye to focus on the harbour and city views. Skylights, greenery, wire mesh, and a Bloody Mary-red ceiling are all an extension of the oyster narrative, with custom wallpaper adding octopus, pearls and golden barnacles to the story. 

Taking cues from Esther’s Mediterranean-inspired menu, mezze snacks mix in Middle Eastern and Spanish flavours, from flatbread pizzas packed with local vegetables to rosemary-marinated lamb souvlaki, plus croquetas, falafel, and borek.

Featuring 12 cocktails by renowned bar manager Roberto Giampaolo, signature tipples will include watermelon frosé and two custom-made tap selections, starting with a nitro espresso martini. A focus on sustainability, Aquafaba replaces egg whites in cocktail recipes, and spirit selections are delivered in refillable bottles to reduce waste.  

Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights feature rotating DJ sets by Auckland’s top talent, with early evening hours mixing in instrumentals like Matt Bizzle’s saxophone and Pixie Lane’s percussion, and transitioning to the sounds from Thommy, Andy JV and Paris is Burning for a more electric vibe. 

QT Auckland was developed in partnership with Russell Property Group and Lockwood Property Group. Located at 4 Viaduct Harbour Avenue, QT Auckland is the tenth QT Hotel and the third in New Zealand, joining QT Wellington and QT Queenstown.