It was a conference that took me on an unlikely trip to Auckland. You only need to look at the pictures of the Bed and Breakfast to see that it was a visit where I was able to enjoy a bit of local hospitality. I was delighted to find rooms at the historic Braemar on Parliament within budget.
The late Victorian townhouse was built in 1901 as a home, turned into apartments in 1917 and more recently lovingly restored and turned into a bed and breakfast. I loved the Braemar. It was full of historic charm and within walking distance of Auckland University, the museum and the city centre. In fact I am grateful to John and Susan for all their work in restoring the house to its former glory and their generosity in sharing it with their guests.
I arrived off the plane to be greeted by John who asked me to sign the guest book and led me into the grand entrance hall. He took me up the stairs to settle me into my room first.
He showed me to Jenny's Room which has been booked for me. It was cosy with a television and a little sink in the corner. It had an en suite bathroom that was just beautiful. It had both an old fashioned a claw foot bath and a modern shower. John proudly showed me that they still used the original sink.
Yet before unpacking I saw that the grand Victoria Room was empty. So I boldly asked to be upgraded and my wish was graciously granted. I like to think it was the green decor that attracted me. Truth be told I don't think I have ever stayed anywhere with with a claw foot bath in my bedroom before. It was just gorgeous.
The attention to detail was a joy to behold. The lace curtains at the window, the framed mirror above the open fireplace, the white dressing gown hanging behind the door, the lavendar bath salts. I walked around the room in delight.
I then returned to the Yellow Room where John kindly showed me a map to help me get my bearings before I headed out to look around Auckland. It was a short walk downhill to the city centre. Even returning after being on my feet most of the afternoon, it didn't seem far to walk.
The Yellow Room is hung with many historic photos. In there you will find an elegant old phone on a retro radio. Yet for all the historic touches, the Braemar is bang up to date with modern technology. WiFi is available and a computer is available to those who don't bring their own. In addition, I was astonished to see that John could set up a projector on the wall of the Guest Lounge to provide a big screen for the television or movies.
After walking all afternoon, it was lovely to relax in the Guest Lounge. I watched a little television and read a little. There were so many beautiful rooms to relax in that I was sorry my trip was short and didn't allow me much time to just to sit back and enjoy the ambiance.
I didn't stay in the Guest Lounge for too long. I had me a date with a book and a clawfoot bath. No distractions. No rush. Luxury!
In the morning, I had the continental breakfast. Home made yoghurt, fruit salad and toasted muesli. Followed by toast with peanut butter. Washed down with kiwi juice. What so many hotels do in a cynical jaded way, the Braemar did with style. The fruit was fresh and full of flavour (rather than just melons). The muesli had a pleasing aroma of honey and the toast was a hearty mutligrain. The kiwi fruit juice was unusual and not quite as tart as I expected but brought a nice sense of place to the meal.
And of course breakfast was served in yet another room that was beautifully furnished and decorated. The sunlight streamed in the windows, I was offered the morning's paper and felt more on holiday than off to work. I hope that some day I might have the opportunity to visit Auckland for pleasure and stay once again at the Braemar.