Is this Auckland’s most fashionable new hotel?

Accor’s new Te Arikinui Pullman at Auckland Airport is a study in how global brands can adapt to the cultural nuances of a market with grace and style.

Written by FNZ Publisher Murray Bevan

Airport hotels aren’t usually somewhere you want to end up: maybe your flight’s been delayed or canceled, weather has hemmed you in, you missed your connection, or you couldn’t get the flight you wanted so you have to stay a night somewhere.  Airports can often be unfriendly and bustling hives of transport and movement, places where staying put is not exactly high on the list of priorities.  However Accor’s new Pullman at Auckland Airport is a breath of fresh air and has positioned itself beautifully as a stylish, welcoming and affordable hotel that would make any lost passenger want to stay another night.

When I say ‘fashionable’ I also don’t just mean skirts and blouses (although I’ll get to that in the next paragraph).  The fashion of the moment, driven in large part by society’s move towards listening to the masses to discover trends, and then catering to them, goes against the way brands used to think.  The old world told us to listen to the design hero, the God who sat at the top of the Atelier’s pyramid, and they would dictate what we all wore, and we would kowtow to their every whim.  This thinking then permeated how brands rolled out their footprint across the world, through a singular vision of look and feel that did nothing to adapt to its environment.

Nowadays, the strategy du jour is to respond to local nuances, whether that be materials, culture, language, season and more, and it’s this sense of fashion that I believe Accor has nailed with their new Pullman hotel.

My interest in the new Pullman Auckland Airport was piqued when I discovered that New Zealand fashion designer Kiri Nathan (Ngāti Hauā, Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Paoa, Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Hine iwi) had designed signature pieces for the women’s front office uniform, such as capes, jackets and blouses, inspired by the hotel.  Again, this is yet another example of how Accor have chosen to hyper-localise the hotel’s character in Aotearoa, rather than providing the cheapest and most homogenised version of their international identity.

And the local contextualisation doesn’t begin and end with Kiri: The interiors of the 311 guestrooms and Te Kaahu restaurant are designed by the Space Studio team to embrace understated luxury within a space that heroes simplicity, comfort, and light. Décor is refined and stylish, and features a custom designed carpet referencing the wash of the ocean as it reaches the shores of the Manukau Harbour.  The inclusion of cultural design elements carved into the stone and timber paneling, and applied to fabric wall coverings and locally made iwi-designed bed throws, provide an interior that is uniquely Aotearoa and seen in no other hotel in the world.

Helmed by esteemed chef, Nancye Pirini (Te Whanau aa Apanui, Te Rarawa) whose carefully curated menu offers a selection of Aotearoa’s finest cuisine, Te Kaahu offers relaxed fine dining with a sense of understated luxury, with views over the runway and Manukau harbour. The menu is a modern take on traditional New Zealand cuisine, elevating and celebrating the best of Aotearoa and heroes locally sourced ingredients of the highest quality and freshness. 

Te Arikinui is the third Pullman hotel to open in Aotearoa, New Zealand and is joining another eighteen Pullman hotels across Australia and the Pacific. 

Room rates start at $419 per night.  I highly recommend you pay a visit.