While in town researching why Wellington is the Capital of Cool, I had the opportunity to stay at the Museum Art Hotel. Little did I know at the time of booking that this hotel was as much a reason to call this a cool capital as any. Here’s why:
Unique from the Beginning
It all started with Chris Parkin. The former owner of the Museum Art Hotel is an art lover with the massive collection and eye for the unique. Walking through the lobby of the Museum Art Hotel you can clearly see this. In one corner a large and colourful decorative bowl. In another vintage motorcycle. At the desk upon checking in I spied my favourite piece, a set of rabbits that are half taxidermy, half metal. “I really wanted one” said Judy, our Zest Food Tour guide. She went on to explain that while at a local art auction she was eyeing the pair – then Mr. Parkin swooped in and sniped them. “He could’ve left me one”
That just isn’t Mr. Parkin’s nature. Had he, the pair would not be on display in his hotel for all to enjoy.
I toured the property to get a better look at the art pieces found throughout – something anyone is free to do. Mr. Parkin’s, after all, is a former public servant. The former city councillors collection is eclectic, quirky, and downright eye catching. In the Hippopotamus, the Museum Art Hotel award-winning restaurant, you will find bright peacocks. In the hallways you will find paintings, sculptures, and interactive pieces. All of it is as daring as the man himself. In 1993 the Museum Art Hotel became the largest building in the southern hemisphere to move locations. To make way for the tape Papa museum, rails were put in place and the entire Museum Art Hotel was relocated across the street – all the without the contents inside being locked down or put away. Why? Because he could.
The fact that the Museum Art Hotel was uprooted and rolled across the street is more than enough reason to qualify it as a unique Wellington property. I could stop with that, but we haven’t even got to the rooms, or the famous folks that I have stayed in them. Not surprisingly, rooms and suites at the Museum Art Hotel are high-end and comfortable. Each room includes different decorative art pieces that make each unique – something the clientele truly enjoy.
With Wellington being the Capital of Cool, the famous guests that have stayed at the Museum Art Hotel have ranged from worldwide politicians to movie stars. With the world premiere of The Hobbit being held in Wellington, the Museum Art Hotel housed every major actor from that film. With the trilogy being shot around the island, the Museum Art Hotel also became a long-term residence for some of the movies biggest stars. Most notably (for myself at least) was Billy Connolly who, although not a major character in the hobbit, stayed at the Museum Art Hotel for three months… and played this ukulele.
To say that Wellington is a cool city is an understatement when you don’t even have to leave your hotel to realize it. But don’t just take my word for it. Even if you are not a guest at the Museum Art Hotel you are free to check it out for yourself.
Museum Art Hotel Good to Know
What say you?
Thoughts on the unique Museum Art Hotel in Wellington?
Let’s hear it!
Although I was provided a complimentary stay at the Museum Art Hotel,
the experience, opinions, and artsy stay was my own.