A stay at the Bolton

Friday, June 05, 2015

I recently took my grandmother for a girls' trip to Wellington, a city which — despite several visits to New Zealand — she has never visited. It was only a couple of nights stay and a day of exploring Te Papa, the national museum.

Having recently turned eighty, my Lola has definitely slowed down from the pace of our trip around Europe back when I was fourteen. I have to remind myself constantly to slow down so she can keep up. Recently she has been less inclined to accompany us on shopping or cafe outings, preferring to stay at home in the warm. It's probably the last real chance to wander round a hill city like Wellington by foot and on this trip she tired quickly and was experiencing discomfort. Her knee's been playing up in the wintry cold.

For that reason I was pretty glad to have splashed out for a two bedroom, five star apartment in the heart of the city. With her waking at 4AM and 5AM on our two mornings there, sharing a room, no matter how nice, would have done neither of us any good. And with inclement weather the option of staying in with room service and then an onsite restaurant also made a lot of difference. As much as my grandmother insisted that she was game to walk from the Terrace to Lambton Quay for dinner, in the dark, cold and wet I think we'd have been inviting trouble. Her relief at staying put was almost palpable.

I'd stayed at the Bolton Hotel before so knew what to expect. The hotel facilities are excellent: 24 hour reception and room service, a concierge and porters, house-keeping to give a tidy every day, well-equipped kitchenette — complete with clothes washer/dryer — master room with ensuite and bath, respectable open-plan lounge and dining area. Both rooms had king beds, Samsung smart TVs and iPad Minis. The Artisan restaurant is fine dining and there's a small cafe in the foyer. The gym is small but decent, the pool is narrow but proper lap length, there's a great spa and good sauna. Basically, if you're taking it slow and need plenty of quiet rest time, or simply the weather isn't great for exploring outdoors, it's a great place to be stuck.

We definitely made good use of the facilities: baths the first night and spa and sauna after dinner on the second evening.

My advice if you're travelling with someone elderly or not in the best of health is to consider the benefits of facilities that can be found in something as well-rounded as the Bolton. By the time you count the cost of taxis or car hire and parking to get around the city, and weigh the benefits of having facilities and services to hand, it may pay to upgrade your accommodation and have great sleep and peace of mind.

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