The Sebel Hotel

Continuing his skill for seeing a gap in the market and filling it, in 2000 McKenna delivered the latest in his venture into hotel development. The four-star Sebel Hotel is part of the wider Viaduct Precinct, which transformed Auckland’s waterfront into a destination that has endured since it was conceived and developed decades ago. The redevelopment in 1998-2000 of the industrial site into the Sebel Hotel and Quays Apartments established an important milestone for the later regeneration of the Viaduct harbour precinct.

McKenna converted the land from a fishing port into an urban magnet for living and leisure on prime Auckland waterfrontage. Undertaken at the turn of the millennium and inspired by the waterfront developments in European cities, it introduced a quality residential and hotel environment merged with restaurants and bars on Auckland’s doorstep. It was both visionary and bold then and stays so today.


The hotel and its surrounds are a part of our remarkable history, with the immediate promenades being the site of the America’s Cup presentation to Team New Zealand– and the activity around the area has not slowed down since.

Catering to both business travellers and tourists, the Sebel offers business travellers quick proximity to the CBD, while tourists have the Maritime Museum, jet boat tours, fishing charters and whale and dolphin safaris at their doorstep, as well as a collection of world class restaurants. It’s become an established and thriving hotel and apartment complex that offers guests the convenience of a city hotel with the privacy and amenities of a luxury apartment.

A sister project to the neighbouring Quays Apartments, the Sebel was the recipient of extensive planning and engineering. One of the challenges was how to keep noise levels to a minimum when you have residential apartments and hotel suites in the middle of the city’s most lively entertainment area. Through bringing onboard acoustic engineers, planners, engineers and a formidable team of architects, the development successfully integrated the hotel and hospitality venues. Consequently, the Sebel Hotel enjoys a high occupancy and strong demand, answering any doubts around the sustainability of a hotel occupation in the area.

The Sebel’s generously appointed rooms feature immaculate views and liberal spaces. A collection of both studio and one-bedroom fully serviced and furnished apartments each present a private balcony with harbour views, a fully equipped kitchen and a laundry facility. A fitness centre, a sauna and a rooftop pool cater to guests’ well-being pursuits.

The 144- room hotel quickly became a firm favourite for local and international guests looking for a premium hotel room with the city’s best restaurants, bars, walks and entertainment within immediate reach. Unsurprisingly, the Sebel has consistently traded above projections to become one of Auckland’s most popular and successful hotels.

At the base of the Sebel, restaurants were raised to maximise views over the water and wide pedestrian promenades and old planters frame the water’s edge forming a striking environment around the hotel. Overall, the project is a sleek demonstration of the innovation, research and capacity that McKenna has made a name for.