I’ve been on a mission lately to check out as many accessible hotel rooms as I can within Central Auckland. Not the easiest task when the hotels are often booked out in advance due to so many packed out events. Central Auckland is bustling with a wonderful variety of tourist attractions, high-end shops and top restaurants.
However, at present, the city centre does look and feel more like a construction site. Auckland’s new underground Central Rail Link is being built right through the centre of things. There are huge new skyscrapers being built and the waterfront is getting another makeover. Development is happening and this City is moving forward to keep up with it’s popularity.
“The Central Rail Link is going to totally transform Auckland – completion year in 2024”
If you are looking for the closest hotel to the heart of Auckland’s transport network then this is the location for you. The Grand Mercure is a 5-Star hotel, and direct neighbours to the Britomart Transport Centre. It is also just around the corner from the downtown ferry terminal. The Viaduct is a walk or wheel away with it’s bars and restaurants. In the opposite direction, a short 10-minute walk will take you to the event venue, Spark Arena.
Just around the corner from Queens Street on Customs Road you will find the entrance to the hotel. The large double automatic glass doors open up to welcome you in with step-free access.
Reception and Lobby
We found the reception very warm, beautifully decorated and friendly. It offers great light, polished tiled floors and plenty of room to manoeuvre. The reception desks although a bit high for wheelchair users have space either side of them, making them feel more accessible. The staff were really lovely, I had just appeared off the street on the off chance of viewing their accessible rooms. They were more than happy to show me around.
There are three elevators servicing each floor with Braille on each option button to help those with vision impairments select which floor. On check-in you will be given a swipe key which can be used to access the floors by placing it on the reader inside the elevators.
The Grand Mercure hotel has two accessible king studio rooms, one of these rooms has an optional inter-connecting room. These rooms are always popular for extended family or if travelling with a caregiver. The accessible room I checked out on this occasion has the inter-connecting room.
The king bed can be split into two singles if preferred. Under the bed there is a 10cm clearance gap, and plenty of room on the left side of the bed to perform a wheelchair transfer. All furniture is moveable.
Stylish bedside lamps are located close at hand allowing them to be switched on and off whilst in bed. The window to the room is directly in front of the bed and the flat screen TV is located on the wall to the side. This configuration makes watching TV awkward once you’re tucked up nicely in bed. Although, our own device screens seem to be our natural preference these days. So as long as the hotel supplies free wifi it keeps us entertained.
Incidentally, this hotel does have free wifi throughout and a wall charging station in the room that can accommodate international plugs and USB.
This bathroom is large and completely open plan. Access is through a sliding door with a width of 78cm. The shower is missing a bench that folds down to sit on, but there is a shower chair available on request. It may pay to enquire first to find out what type they have on offer. If you don’t wish to travel with your own, there is an option of hiring something more supportive from Invacare Rentals. They have an extensive range of equipment for hire and can also arrange items to be dropped and picked up from any hotel around Auckland. The cost is generally a week’s hire at a minimal cost.
Along the shower wall and beside the toilet you will find the usual standard grab rails. The towels and soaps are at easy reach from sitting. The sink has an easy to use lever tap with good clearance underneath for a wheelchair. You will also find plenty of transfer space on one side of the toilet.
On most levels of the hotel you will find an accessible toilet. This is perfect if you are just visiting someone who is staying here. It is also useful if you are here for a conference or meeting, but don’t actually have a room for the night in the hotel.
They have several conference and board rooms, all wheelchair accessible. I was unable to take photo’s of them on this occasion as they were very busy and in use. On this level they have no accessible toilets. To find them you will have to go via the lift to access another level where they are located. Perfect planning would have had them servicing this level.
Bar Attica & Lounges
The restaurant, bar and lounges along with the amazing Vue Restaurant on the top floor all have wheelchair access. The views from each are spectacular over the City and across the harbour to Auckland’s North Shore and neighbouring islands.
Custom Cafe is a trendy street level Cafe with barrier free access and plenty of space to manoeuvre in. The tables have wheels which allow them to be moved around easily to accommodate groups and individual needs. The menu offer’s gluten free and vegetarian options.
What is Nearby?
- The Spark Arena – Event Centre
- Downtown Ferry Terminal
- Britomart, Central Train Station
- The Viaduct, Heart of the City
- Queens Street, Auckland’s High Street
- Plus plenty more!
For more information check out their website