Arriving on Friday night, I was definitely ready for cocktails and conviviality, and the Cordis Lobby Lounge didn't disappoint. Contemporary elegance combined seamlessly with Kiwi hospitality and in no time I was sipping a delicious aperitif made with a locally-distilled rhubarb gin. Later, hungry, and not sure what I fancied, I headed to Eight restaurant, with its signature Eight "interactive dining" – eight specialist kitchens offer grill, seafood, salads, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Italian and delectable desserts, all under one roof. Under the guidance of Chef Volker, the emphasis on locally sourced, sustainable and seasonal products was evident. Cordis kitchens produce very low waste, too, a fact of which staff are justifiably proud.
After my chosen octopus and oysters, it was time for meltingly tender lamb and coriander naan, fresh from the tandoor ovens, followed by a thorough examination of the dessert buffet. Since I really love a leisurely hotel breakfast, in the morning I opted for the Executive Club which, if you can tear yourself away from the view, serves crisp – yes, crisp – bacon, along with eggs, warm pastries, a continental selection and a daily fresh smoothie. Club privileges also include complimentary snacks and beverages all day or, like me, you can indulge in drinks and canapes.
No visit to Cordis is complete without experiencing High Tea by Cordis, and the resident tea sommelier ensures you don't confuse your Assam with your Oolong. When it comes to flavour-matching, I always take advantage of expert advice and the staff were both charming and knowledgeable. The food is outstanding, witty and intricate, but the highlight was a house-blended tea of camomile and butterfly pea flowers. Bright blue when poured, turning to violet when lemon was added, this liquid magic concluded a marvellous meal.
By now a soak in the jacuzzi was calling, followed by a delicious dinner in the quiet comfort of my room. Morning found me enjoying excellent coffee and a delectable porridge that was almost too pretty to eat – almost. The Cordis free shuttle will drop you within an easy stroll of the CBD eateries, and ethnic dining options abound in nearby in Karangahape Rd and in Newmarket but Cordis provides such a comprehensive range of offerings I found I simply had no reason to leave.