Digital Editor Izzy Brimeau recently made the trip to Wellington. She was lucky to stay in the ever-so eccentric QT Wellington. Here's her review of the stay, including an incredible degustation dinner.
In my opinion, the QT Wellington may be the capital’s coolest hotel. Quirky, fun and far from lacking in the art department, it’s an enjoyable place to stay. Each room’s interior design and décor has been carefully thought out and all of the Gallery King Rooms have been injected with artistic flair. Artists such as Miz Müller, Dr. Johnson Witehira and Sam Mitchell were given free rein, resulting in some very original rooms. You also can’t fault the hotel’s location – overlooking the waterfront and one minute’s walk from Te Papa, it’s perfect for any visitor. Not to mention the fact some of the best restaurants and cafés are within a 20-minute walk, as are most areas of central Wellington.
Prefer to dine onsite? The QT Hotel has three great dining options: The Lounge Bar, Hot Sauce Restaurant and the well-known Hippopotamus restaurant. The Lounge Bar has the usual candidates – burgers, sandwiches and brunch options. Hot Sauce is an Asian-fusion eatery (you can read my full review here). And Hippo offers fine dining, breakfast and a stellar afternoon tea.
We were in Wellington for my closest friend’s birthday, so we booked into Hippopotamus for dinner. In a ‘treat ourselves’ moment, we decided to opt for the five-course degustation menu with matching wines.
There were several highlights during the evening – the first being the incredibly well-made Negroni. Hippo’s signature dish, Le Chevreuil Sauvage, was a marriage of exceptional ingredients, including venison short loin, juniper berry jus, pink pepper meringue and wood-ear mushrooms. The sweet elements perfectly complemented the rich gamey meat and the earthy mushrooms.
Another surprising highlight was the Le Saumon – a composition of seared Ora King Salmon, soy mirin cured confit egg yolk and fennel and salmon caviar, to name a few of the many elements. I’m not a salmon fan but this was moist, flaky and each mouthful was a joy to eat.
Dessert came in the form of a deconstructed lemon meringue pie, which sadly appears to no longer be on the menu. If this is any indication of the restaurant’s sweets, I would advise ensuring you have room for something sweet to finish off with.
The service provided by the waitstaff and sommelier was impeccable and added to the overall experience. Executive Chef Jiwon Do and his team did an impressive job of ensuring the food came out promptly as well as always looking top-notch. If you’re looking for an occasion to splash some cash, then look no further.
The aforementioned Gallery Rooms are worth opting for if you’re looking for an artistic influence or something a little different. However, all of the rooms at QT Hotel are incredible. We stayed in one of the hotel’s QT Superior King rooms and it out-did our expectations. Sleek, modern and spacious – it was perfect for a girls’ night away.
The room led out to a vast waterfront-facing balcony. Many hot summer nights could be wasted away with an Aperol Spritz out there. The bed was so large that we could have easily fit a third person in and still enjoyed it in all its cloud-like glory. And the bathroom… Well, we could have had a party in that bathroom. Complete with a walk-in shower, bath and double sinks, there’s not much more you could ask for.
Each room has an impressive minibar and snack offering, Nespresso machine, Bose sound system, an array of magazines, and they all come with complete access to the gym, pool and spa.
I would stay at QT Hotel again in a heartbeat – it’s luxurious, quirky, unique and stylish. It may be at a higher price point in terms of accommodation, but trust me when I say it’s well worth the pretty penny.
Bed cloud-o-metre: 8.5/10
Bath luxury level: 8.5/10
Price range: $$$-$$$$