The Glam Guide to Auckland

New Zealand isn't exactly known for being glamorous. Good weather, yes. Full of insanely kind people, yes. Home to jaw dropping scenery, yes. Oozing glamour and chic-ness, not quiet. But Auckland is different. Auckland IS oozing with class and style. It's full of high end shopping boutiques that are unique to New Zealand. It's home to top hotels, incredible restaurants, spas, and cafes. It's one of my favorite places to enjoy a laid back week in the middle of summer while treating myself to a bit of glamour.

Baduzzi

22 Jellicoe St, Auckland, New Zealand

One of the most delicious Italian restaurants in the city. The staff are so knowledgable about the menu, which changed frequently, and the food is melt in your mouth good. All the meat is so tender, the flavors unique, and the wine list is pretty superb as well. Their homemade pasta is dynamite and their different styles of meatballs are spectacular.

Bracu

49 Main Road, Bombay, New Zealand

If you're looking for a place with something a little bit different on the menu, Bracu is your place. With meats like quail, venison, rabbit, and whitebait, it has foods you won't find in most other restaurants in the city. The quail is my absolute favorite - so full of flavor and so tender! The staff are so friendly and the setting of the restaurant itself, tucked amongst the trees, is a really nice addition.

Cable Bay Vineyard

12 Nick Johnston Drive, Oneroa, Auckland 1840, New Zealand

Head out to Waiheke Island for one seriously spectacular meal at Cable Bay Vineyard. It's a perfect spot for lunch so you can see how beautiful it is in the daylight. My boyfriend had the angus beef and I kept asking for more pieces of it to try, so delicious. We had oysters as well which were so fresh. The staff are super friendly, the service was fast, but not rushed, and the setting simply cannot be beaten.

Merediths

365 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden, Auckland, New Zealand

An absolutely incredible degustation menu. The staff are amazing, they explain everything about each course and they help choose drinks to go with each course as well. They're incredibly accommodating if you have a food allergy or preference. They do vegetarian degustation menus as well, which my friend had while we were there. Hers was just as good as the regular, some dishes were even better!

Ostro Brasserie & Bar

Tyler St, Auckland, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

With a view right out over the wharf, Ostro is a great place to take in the sights and also enjoy a fabulous meal. Whenever I visit I want to order pretty much everything on the menu. Every course is delicious and I always leave feeling more than full. The ox cheek for starters, the lamb rump for main, and creme brulee (and the chocolate fondant) for dessert are usually the ones I can't live without when I head there for dinner. The staff are very friendly and help explain different items on the menu or specials list.

Rosie

82 Gladstone Road, Auckland 1052, New Zealand

I love this cafe for an afternoon sweet and flat white. The coffee itself is delicious, nice and strong. The staff are really friendly and their desserts are divine. The brownie is my favorite (it's served with chocolate ice cream). They do some incredible savory food as well, which I always mean to come and try, but am forever drawn to them for their sweet treats.

The Oyster Inn

124 Ocean View Road, Oneroa, Waiheke Island 1081, New Zealand

There aren't many bad restaurants on Waiheke Island, but the Oyster Inn is definitely one of the best. I went in for the first time because I saw the name and kind of wanted to try some local oysters. They have so many varieties, they're so fresh, the different vinegars you can top them with are amazing and the wine list is superb too. The sort of place you stop into for a small snack and accidentally stay for an evening meal.

The French Cafe

210 Symonds Street, Auckland 1001, New Zealand

This cafe is perfection. I love the location, kind of tucked into a little garden with big glass doors that let in loads of light. You kind of forget your anywhere near the biggest city in the country when you order a flat white and sit facing the outside world. Their coffee is some of the best in the city and the staff are really friendly, too.

The Sugar Club Auckland

Level 53, Sky Tower | Cnr of Federal and Victoria Streets, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Most of the restaurants in the Sky Tower are overrated in my opinion, but not the Sugar Club. It's perhaps a little bit overpriced compared to other restaurants in town, but the view will take your breath away. I love that it's mostly small plates and you can order lots of different things to sample and share. My boyfriend and I love to come here when we're in Auckland and order lots of new dishes that we haven't tried. I've never been disappointed with anything I've tried.

Cazador Restaurant

854 Dominion Rd | Auckland, Auckland 1041, New Zealand

There are so many different types of game meat here, it's an adventure every time you stop in. The confit rabbit is so tender and flavorful and the sides that come with the dishes are truly unique as well. The flavor combinations at Cazador are unlike any I've had before. It's really reasonably priced for the quality (about $35 for the mains) and the desserts are top notch as well - especially the marsala chai pecan tart.

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Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

21 Viaduct Harbour Avenue, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

The Sofitel is one of my favorite places to treat myself to when I head to Auckland for a night or two. The staff are so helpful with finding restaurants and things to do that are a bit off the beaten path. The beds are insanely comfortable and the hotel itself is sleek and beautiful. The views of the city are great from the bar as well.

Hotel DeBrett

2 High Street | CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

There aren't many boutique hotels in Auckland that are truly boutique, but Hotel Debrett remains one of them. The rooms are bright and full of natural light, the beds are comfortable, the decor is unique and colorful. The bar is a great place to chat to friends or even the bartender, who is often full of good advice about what to do in the city.

The Langham, Auckland

83 Symonds Street | Auckland, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

The Langham Auckland is utter luxury. The spa is fantastic, the restaurant is top class, the staff are friendly and the beds are the sort of beds that you stay in all day without feeling even the slightest bit guilty. The only real reason to leave those oh, so comfortable beds are to head up to the rooftop pool or out to the sauna. Staying at the Langham is a holiday within itself.

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SKYCITY Grand Hotel

90 Federal St, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

There are lots of fun things to do in Skycity, so why not stay there as well? I did it once, and would definitely consider doing it again when I next visit Auckland. From the moment you walk into the lobby, you know you're somewhere special. The high ceilings, the grand chandelier. The rooms are big and beds are plush, the breakfast is incredible and simply having such easy access to all the other restaurants and entertainment in skycity is perfect.

The Sebel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

85 - 89 Customs St W | Viaduct Harbor, Auckland 1001, New Zealand

Viaduct Harbour is a great place to base yourself when visiting Auckland. The Sebel is a gorgeous hotel with a spectacular view over the harbour. There are tons of restaurants around, you're within walking distance of the main shopping street, and there are plenty of spots to enjoy a bit of nightlife around as well. The rooms are clean and modern, the beds are firm and comfortable, and the staff are really friendly and helpful if you want to know more about things to do in the city.

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Auckland Fish Market

22 Jellicoe St, Freemans Bay, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

The Auckland Fish Market is a great spot for exploring a bit of the harbor. There's also a seafood school there if you wanted to learn more about it and take a class (check in advance on their website). Pick up some fresh seafood to take with you or head out on one of their daily tours where someone can explain it all - from start to finish - how the fish end up where they are in front of you.

NZ Yachts 4 Charter

Berths 9 & 10, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand

Whether you want to charter a fishing trip or simply a boat for your friends to enjoy the harbor while relaxing in your bikinis, this is a great charter company to use. Their sailboats are absolutely spectacular and their staff are so professional and full of knowledge and interesting stories. A great way to see the islands dotting the Auckland harbor.

Bush and Beach

Henderson, Waitakere, New Zealand

This tour company is one of the best I've tried in Auckland. They offer so many different day tours from and of the city, it's so hard to choose. I've done their Auckland City Revealed Tour and had an absolutely amazing time seeing a different side to Auckland. I also tried one of their wine tours which, as with any wine tour in New Zealand, started early and included plenty of food and wine throughout the day. The staff are professional, knowledgable and full of the famous kiwi kindness. I would highly recommend using them if you only have a few days in the region and you want to see and learn as much as you can.

Forme Spa - 7 Auckland Day Spas

5 O'Connell St, Auckland, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Such a great place to relax and unwind, this spa is a chain all over the city, but this location is the one I keep coming back to. Their facials are spectacular, the facialist being incredibly knowledgable and gentle with my sensitive skin. The massages are top class as well and I love trying the different types every time I come back.

Chuan Spa at The Langham Auckland

83 Symonds St, Grafton, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

This spa is utter luxury. Inside the Langham hotel, but of course you don't need to be a guest to visit the spa. As soon as you walk into their spa, you already feel relaxed. Enjoy the calming tea as you wait in your robe for your turn in the massage rooms. The warmth of the whole place, the calming music and the incredible masseurs make this perhaps one of the most relaxing places I've ever been to.

East Day Spa

123 Albert Street, Skycity Grand Hotel, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

A friend of mine gifted my boyfriend and I a couples massage here when we were last in New Zealand, and I cannot wait to get back to Auckland and have another. The whole spa is really small and intimate. You definitely want to make an appointment before visiting. The staff are so friendly, so good at what they do. I went for the back, neck and shoulder massage and left without any tension, feeling so loose and relaxed.

Northern Steamship Co Macs Brewbar

122 Quay St, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

This is such a great bar to start the night. Mac's brewery bars have such a great selection, no matter what people in your group like to drink, they'll find it here. It's a really big open bar with plenty of seating, making it a great place to meet up with everyone before heading on for the night. They do some really great food platters to have while you're eating - we always go for the meat tray with charcuterie, smoked salmon and plenty of bread for mopping up all the butter and garlic sauce.

BCC Britomart Country Club

31 Galway St, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

This is one of the best spots for a fun night out in Auckland. They have great food if you want to start the night here, a really good cocktail menu, lots of outdoor seating and a bar that gets busier as the night goes on. I love coming here after dinner and meeting new people around the bar area.

The Quadrant Hotel and Suites Auckland

10 Waterloo Quadrant, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

This is a great hotel to base yourself for exploring the best of Auckland. It's elegant, modern, clean. The rooms are big enough, not huge, but the beds are SO comfortable (although I really love a firm bed). It's on the edge of the city center, so you don't get the traffic noise like other centrally located hotels, but it's still easily walkable for exploring.

United Cellars

130 Khyber Pass Rd, Grafton, Auckland 1023, New Zealand

The best thing about this wine shop, besides its friendly and knowledgable staff, are it's wine tasting events. They introduce wines from all over New Zealand and internationally, depending on the theme of the event. There are experts there to discuss the wine, explain each one you are sampling, and plenty of snacks to keep you on track. It's one of my favorite things to do whenever I'm in town and I've learned so much about different wine thanks to these events!

Last updated at Mar 20, 2016