20 NOV, 2018 - By Sneha Mankani, Vogue Magazine
After spending many long hours up in the air to reach a destination with a different time zone, I was relieved by my choice of stay—the one thing airport hotels give you the luxury of: short travel time to reach them. Of course, upon reaching Naumi Auckland Airport Hotel, I didn’t have to scavenge much to realise this luxury boutique hotel is the perfect contender to break airport hotel stereotypes. It isn’t dull, drab or modest—in fact, it’s everything but all that you’d bracket an airport hotel into.
As chirpy canaries serenade your arrival at the entrance, you walk into a hotel that’s mastered the balance of feeling ‘at-home’ and ‘larger-than-life’. The overarching inspiration—New Zealand’s native bird, Tui—is seen across all aspects—from a 24-carat gold-textured wall inspired by its nape, to in-room artworks by New Zealand-based artist Judi Bagust, which capture in rhythmic paint the lyrical notes of the singing Tui. But what makes the space unique is its fine balance between art, design, whim and functionality, and the little details that bust conventionality. Like the very chic bar and restaurant beyond the reception, which welcomes guests with a lit-up sign that reads “ruffle your tail feathers”—meaning, get comfortable on those oversized armchairs under chic chandeliers and socialise. Or the multi-tasking Naumi team that is styled in Topshop and Zara to suit their individuality rather than sticking to conformities like a hotel uniform. Or the English garden that could make time stop with its straight-out-of-a-Burnett-book appeal. Or the cheeky placards Naumi leaves next to its essentials like “blow me” for your hairdryer, and “swallow, it’s safe” for its sink.
What was the idea behind these elements that make Naumi unique, I asked Gaurang Jhunjhnuwala, CEO of Naumi Hotels (Australia and New Zealand). “Nothing’s going to differentiate me from the rest, so how do I create that sense of warmth in a climate that’s cold half the time? We thought of colour, we thought of bringing cosy little corners, nooks where you could have your own conversation, while being a part of something bigger,” he explains. And it’s true—exploring Naumi makes for a little adventure in itself.