Do Not Disturb: FQ’s digital editor recounts her solo staycation at SO/ Auckland

20 July 2023
By Louise Dunn

A little solitude goes a long way for FQ’s digital editor Louise Dunn during a staycation at SO/ Auckland.

SO/Auckland HI-SO rooftop bar.

It was 1.58pm on a crisp winter’s day when I appeared at the entrance of SO/ Auckland. I’d barely passed through the lobby’s glass doors before the hotel concierge whisked away my luggage and guided me to check-in. I was issued cards to access my suite on the 11th floor; the Club Signature lounge, where I’d later unwind over an afternoon tea; and, of course, the spa, where I was bound for a personalised treatment to commence my 18-hour staycation. 

When the elevator doors opened onto SO/ Auckland’s wellness centre, the pool sat to my left, the spa to my right and the gym down the back. I took a deep, anticipatory inhale and made my way towards the treatment rooms. Changed into a robe and slippers, I entered the space in which I was to spend 60 blissful minutes surrendering my body to a Himalayan Salt Treatment. Hot stones were guided up and down my limbs before an intense cleansing scrub of salts and essential oils rich in detoxifying minerals was applied to my skin. As I showered the remaining granules from my body, I couldn’t help but feel as though I’d left a version of myself behind. The new me was relaxed, calm and possessed buttery-soft skin from top to toe. Washed, dried and reclining in the lounge with a pot of peppermint tea, I was ready to ease into the remainder of my stay. 

Eager to unpack, I proceeded to my suite on the building’s north-west corner to find a panoramic view of the city’s quay-side architecture and the bustling energy below. The room was glamorously appointed in a contemporary-chic kind of way, with tactility a theme throughout. Beaten gold and anthracite motifs featured on the joinery, vanity and carpet, offset with accents of vibrant azure blue in the emblem artwork and décor — signature details I later learned were designed by Benny Castles, creative director of fashion label World. I synced my playlist to the Bose Revolve+ speaker and settled into my space.

Downstairs in the Club Signature lounge, I attended to a few emails with a tasty side of canapés. It was the perfect oasis to temper my work-oriented mind so I could indulge in an evening dedicated to me, guilt-free. The backdrop of avant-garde interior design kept the mood elevated and playful, while the VIP treatment definitely didn’t go amiss — and made a pleasant change of pace from earlier in the day, when I’d had to negotiate a puncture on Ponsonby Road at 7.12am. 

As the hazy glow of sunset melted into darkness, it was time to slip into something more formal and head to 15th-floor restaurant Harbour Society for a three-course degustation with an equally delectable view of the cityscape by night. The gastronomical menu, ripe with refreshing takes on international favourites, reflected the travels and techniques mastered by the restaurant’s Director of Culinary, Chef Roy Giam. Incorporating the wood-fired cooking method, intensifying the flavours and retaining the seasonal produce’s nutrients, each mouthful was as impactful as the first. The hours passed and before I knew it, I was admiring the lights reflecting off the ocean from the HI-SO rooftop bar on the 16th floor, sipping on a signature cocktail crafted by their mixologist. As I moved through SO/ Auckland, the music was sophisticated and current, tailored to each space’s mood and vibrancy, and the HI-SO rooftop was no exception. Hosting regular live DJ sets, it’s clear this is the destination for an elegant (and literally elevated) night out. Back in my room, I drew a bath and began my wind-down routine in completely, utterly undisturbed solitude. 

On rising the next morning, the city was blessed with another clear day that provided me with another breathtaking view of the harbour. I helped myself to the complimentary minibar, made myself a coffee and slipped into my outfit for the day before descending for breakfast at the Paris-inspired Javalab café on the ground floor. A flawless check-out and the summoning of an Uber later, and I was ready to return to real life recharged and revitalised.

Book your staycation at

SO/Auckland complimentary minibar.
SO/Auckland lobby.
SO/Auckland Wellness Centre.
SO/Auckland Club Signature Lounge.


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Fashion Quarterly Winter 2023 Cover
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