travelodgeI spent two weeks living on the 28th floor of a hotel in Tokyo when I was ten, and ever since then, I have been obsessed with hotels. As you probably know, here at the Wellingtonista, we’re also very fond of free food and drink, so when the Travelodge invited us to for Cocktails & Canapes, of course we responded enthusiastically.

The Travelodge is off Glimer Terrace, going up and down the Plimmer Steps. It used to be the Copthorne, but for the past year it’s been part of the (Australian) Toga Hospitality. The rooms have all been done up, and then their function areas, and finally Steps Restaurant, so they threw themselves a shindig to celebrate.

When we arrived, navigating a maze of escalators and lifts up from Lambton Quay, I was momentarily all atwitter with “Wine is NOT a cocktail, dammit!” but then I realised that we were drinking bubbly with strawberry liqueur in it, and that does indeed count, so I retract my tweet. The canapes, meanwhile, were delicious. Vegetable tempura was hot and amazingly crisp, lamb meatballs super flavoursome, the prawns looked good if you like that sort of thing, crostini were plentiful and the pork belly with apple sauce was a nice idea although it could have been a bit more crackled. And then after speeches, out came dessert canapes – fruit tarts, mini pavlovas and truly excellent brownies. It was a great range of food, and there was mountains of it, ferried around by lovely staff. Based on that, I would have no hesitation in recommending Steps Restaurant for a function if you are looking for a hotel environment.

It was a bit weird to be at a party in Wellington and not know anyone in the room except for Miss K and Tom, but the staff were extremely welcoming and hospitable. Miss K and I also got a guided tour of the various conference rooms available (the largest seats around 100, theatre style, and the smallest 30). These were all clean and fresh-looking, but essentially generic, which is what you would expect from most conference rooms, after all. Then we got taken up to the bedrooms. Ooh la la!

Our first stop was a standard room with a pull-out couch. The bed was king-sized, there was a kitchenette, and a good-looking shower with room for two. No bath (and readers of Hubris will be well aware of how much I love hotel baths), but apparently there’s one room with a bath on each floor, available as interconnecting rooms for families. We then went up a couple of floors to see a deluxe room, which was similar except this one had harbour views for $20 more. The harbour and streets at night do look pretty but I reckon you probably wouldn’t need the upgrade, because chances are you’re not going to spend much time in your hotel room anyway, and if you do spend a lot of time in bed, you should be concentrating on other things. Like the LCD television, perhaps. Anyway, the room interiors, like the rest of the hotel, won’t win any awards for innovation of design, but they’re not trying to either. I do question why so many places have peach-coloured bed covers, but that’s just me.

According to their site, it’s $110 to stay tonight. If you’re looking for a spacious, quiet clean room in the heart of the business district, I reckon the Travelodge could be the place for you.