Millbrook Resort starts work on $50million development

Four years of planning, appeals, hearings and zone changes have finally come to fruition for Queenstown’s Millbrook Resort.

The multi-award-winning resort has been granted resource consent for a $50m development that will see it develop a neighbouring farm into a new golf course interspersed with 42 sections for high-end residential homes.

The development will add nine new golf holes to Millbrook’s current world-class 27-hole offering, enabling the resort to operate two full 18-hole courses.

Initial site clearance is underway and, under a separate consent, work has almost been completed on shifting the Arrow Irrigation Pipe to a new location to make way for the development.

Groundworks include a raft of ecological and landscape enhancements, the first land titles should go live in late 2020, and once the new golf course is constructed and ‘grown-in’ it should be playable by 2021.

Millbrook Director of Property and Development Ben O’Malley says the net was cast “far and wide” for project tendering, with the main earthworks contract going to Grant Hood Contracting from Ashburton.

Highly-experienced turf specialist company TIC Golf Projects Ltd has been awarded the main golf course construction project, the same company that developed the resort’s Coronet Nine course, along with a golf course irrigation installation contract.

Millbrook is still working through detailed design on works such as roading, reticulated services and the resort’s distinctive schist stone walls.

In the initial earthworks phase, half a million cubic metres of material will be moved within the site. A ‘zero cut to fill’ balance means all work will be carried out with material contained within the farm area, with topsoil stripped and stored before being re-spread once earthworks are complete.

Mr O’Malley says Millbrook has been working alongside the Friends of Lake Hayes and the Otago Regional Council to support their initiative to discharge off-peak water from the Arrow River irrigation race to Mill Stream (which runs through Millbrook into Lake Hayes).

“They believe this will help enhance the water quality of Lake Hayes and we have the means to provide them the link between the Arrow Irrigation Company pipe and Mill Stream,” he says.

The ORC is part-way through a plan change process that will see a minimum flow placed on the Arrow River, from which Millbrook currently sources its golf irrigation water via the AIC.

The minimum flow process would pose a risk to Millbrook’s golf operations, as it’s sand-based tees and greens, installed to meet international PGA specifications, require daily watering.

“To guard against this risk we’re also constructing a 30million-litre water storage lake on the farm land,” says Mr O’Malley.

The new 36-hole format at Millbrook s been described as a ‘game changer’ for the resort, effectively adding 100% golf capacity with two fully operational 18-hole courses that can be operated simultaneously.

It’s being welcomed by the growing number of Millbrook Country Club members who will be able to play an ever-changing private members’ course on a daily basis, as well as another for tourists and locals.

It’s also good news for the long-term future of the New Zealand Open, currently hosted at Millbrook in conjunction with The Hills golf course.

The Open has always planned to move to a three-course model, similar to international Dunhill Links and AT&T events, and having two courses available at Millbrook would enable this goal to be achieved.

Ben O’Malley says the resort is “ecstatic” to be getting underway with the development.

“It’s been over four years since we first bought the former Dalgleish Farm land with the dream of adding to the resort,” he says.

“There’s been a lot of hard work from our consultants and planning team to get to this point, but now it’s all coming to fruition it’s simply fantastic.”

The land has provided a fantastic opportunity for the golf course team, as well as lending itself to the development of two discretely and geographically-separated residential neighbourhoods.

The large upper plateau contains 24 sites boasting elevated panoramic views over fairways and pastoral lands to the wider basin. The lower slopes are home to a further 18 sites with north-facing outlooks over an enhanced Mill Stream and the last of the stunning new golf holes. Most of the sites are expected to sell for over $1million each.

Parts of Mill Stream will be widened to create larger waterways and enhanced wetlands. The new development will retain a rural, agrarian style with over 20 hectares of working farmland retained for grazing and retention of a historic woolshed.

The original 1860’s farmhouse will also stay on the land, with some sympathetic additions.

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New Zealand’s first smart hotel opens in Queenstown

mi-pad Queenstown, New Zealand’s first fully ‘smart’ hotel has opened its doors in the heart of Queenstown.

 

MIPAD Holdings Ltd has opened mi-pad Queenstown, a next generation, energy-conscious hotel experience for the smart traveller and the ultimate marriage of technology, sustainability, comfort and convenience.

 

The six-storey hotel features 57 stylish and well-appointed rooms with the latest in-room tech, multiple ‘social spaces’ and an impressive rooftop terrace.

And the key to mi-pad Queenstown is that there is no key.

 

Guests booking their stay download the hotel’s personal app ‘mia’ and their smartphone becomes a room key, meaning physical check-ins (or check outs) are a thing of the past.

 

Mia also has a range of other tricks up her sleeve, with the app enabling guests to set temperatures and mood lighting in their room (even remotely), request room service or alert hotel staff that they don’t want to be disturbed.  

 

Access to the hotel is available 24/7 thanks to the technology. Once guests are settled in, mia transforms into a personal digital concierge, delivering the latest information on events, activities or offers and encouraging them to experience the best of this stunning destination.

 

The $15m John Blair-designed hotel is in the heart of Queenstown, less than a two-minute walk from the vibrant centre with its hundreds of bars, restaurants and activity operators set on the shores of stunning Lake Wakatipu.

 

The mi-pad hotel concept is the brainchild of Queenstown property developer Lewis Gdanitz and is the fruition of three years of hard work.

 

“mi-pad is the result of 15 years of research, travelling the world and finding the places that did accommodation really well,” he says.

 

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to deliver a property that’s unlike anything else on offer in New Zealand, operating on a premise of affordable luxury delivered using the latest technology.

 

“I’m also very proud of the eco-conscious initiatives we have in place for every aspect of the operation.”

 

MIPAD Holdings Ltd is a joint venture between Lewis and experienced hotel investment and development company TJK NZ Ltd, owner of luxury boutique hotels The George in Christchurch and Regent of Rotorua.

 

TJK NZ CEO Stephen Borcoskie said the company had a proud pedigree of leadership in, and commitment to, the New Zealand hotel industry.

 

“Our goal is to always exceed customer expectations by excelling in service delivery, and we’re thrilled to be entering the Queenstown market which consistently leads the way in delivering world-class experiences and lifelong memories to visitors from around the globe.

 

“It makes perfect sense to open a unique property like this in Queenstown.”

 

Hotel manager Kylie Hogan has 20 years’ experience in international resort management.

“We’re offering an innovative, connected hotel experience for smart travellers who’d prefer to spend their hard-earned dollars on experiences rather than pay over the odds for accommodation,” she says.

“We appreciate that they want to keep in touch with family, friends, or colleagues whether they’re here to ski their hearts out, check out bike trails, enjoy some world-class golf or award-winning wines.

“mia’s the key to all of that, the complete package for guests who want to have fun like a local.”

The hotel hasn’t forgotten the basics of ensuring guests get a great night’s sleep, with Queen beds, clever storage options, smart TV’s and bathrooms featuring organic products and top-of-the-line hair styling tools.

Guests can have as much or as little interaction with mi-pad staff and other guests as they like, including the option to share experiences, photos or messages through mia’s private chat group.

A floor-to-ceiling ‘social wall’ in the hotel’s entrance lobby also features mia’s latest updates and guests shared experiences.

Although there are snacks and breakfast options available within the hotel, mi-pad’s owners made a conscious decision to keep F&B services to a minimum to encourage guests to savour the town’s renowned eateries.

But if they prefer to order-in or BYO, the hotel’s best kept secret is its huge rooftop terrace with an outdoor fireplace, plentiful seating and wraparound 270-degree views of Lake Wakatipu and surrounding mountains.

The terrace is exclusively available to guests and is the perfect spot to enjoy an outdoor dining experience or luscious wine with some of the best views in town.

To unlock the key to the full mi-pad experience, book online at www.mipadhotels.com

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Queenstown offers coolest winter holiday escapes

The snow has blanketed Queenstown peaks and the coolest winter escapes are out there for snow lovers of any age, stage and ability.

Queenstown’s a mecca for skiers and snowboarders for a host of reasons, not least that its four closest ski areas deliver a wide range of terrain to suit everyone from beginners to black-diamond experts, ensuring hands-down the best winter holiday experience in the Southern hemisphere.

With school holidays in mind and some of the best early season snow conditions on record, one of New Zealand’s best ski hotels has come up with a full-service approach to taking the hassle out of family winter holidays.

Crowne Plaza Queenstown’s IHG winter sale ends on July 9 2018 so buyers need to get in quick, although the deal’s valid for stays until the end of October.

The winter sale package is ideal for hungry skiers who can fuel up for the day ahead with a free breakfast, while also saving up to 20% on accommodation.

With the winter package valid until the end of the ski season, a spring skiing trip is also on the cards for those who can’t make it these school holidays.

Queenstown is so compact it’s the perfect spot for a ski holiday. Visitors can be catching some big air in the morning and playing nine holes of golf or sipping on a world-renowned Pinot Noir in the afternoon.

Coronet Peak is perfect for First Tracks – skiing over sweet lines left by the overnight grooming team as the sun rises over the mountain. It’s also the only resort in the South Island with night skiing, meaning guests can enjoy Queenstown adventures during the day, head up in the afternoon to catch the sunset and experience the magic of ‘cheeky’ night ski sessions on Wednesday, Friday or Saturday nights.

Simply put, The Remarkables is just remarkable, for its great on and off-piste options accessed by the new Curvey Basin chair among others. Locals love to stop for a drink at the Ice Bar (halfway down the chairlift) where amazing views make it a great spot for must-have Instagram photos or just to have a beer.

Head ‘over the hill’ towards Wanaka and in less than an hour guests can be sampling the wide-open bowls of family-friendly Cardrona ski resort or having fun sampling classic and ski skating or snowshoeing at Snow Farm, New Zealand’s only Nordic ski area.

At the end of a day of winter fun, Crowne Plaza Queenstown invites guests to kick off skis and boots in their dedicated heated ski locker, relax with a mulled wine or cocktail and settle in for dinner at threesixty restaurant, taking their pick from a hearty new winter menu.

Over the school holidays, some guests just might be surprised with vouchers for hot chocolates at the world-renowned Patagonia Chocolates, or passes to go ice skating at the Queenstown Ice Arena.

If there’s one thing hotel guests rave about, it’s Crowne Plaza’s central location, perched on the shores of Lake Wakatipu with sweeping mountain views and yet less than a minute’s stroll to Queenstown’s bustling main streets.

Back at the hotel, the concierge team has the best advice going to help guests explore Queenstown like a local, and it’s Queenstown Winter Guide has plenty of inspiration for non-skiers too.

Ski shuttle buses stop right outside the hotel front door and daily snow reports keep guests up to speed with conditions throughout the day (and night!).

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School holiday fun at Holiday Inn Auckland Airport

With New Zealand’s July school holidays on the horizon, an airport hotel is inviting families on a ‘mini-break’ before or after connecting to domestic or international destinations.

The newly refurbished Holiday Inn Auckland Airport has some ‘big wallet-savings’ on offer for families travelling during the school holidays with the creation of its new Very Important Kids (V.I.K.) Programme.

Not only do kids stay and eat for free at the hotel, but parents are also given a cool green wristband for each of the little darlings when they check into the property, unlocking up to $150 of savings (per child) at some of Auckland’s top family attractions.

There’s no such thing as an ‘I’m booooored’ day when youngsters can choose from paintballing at Lock N Load Adventures, rope climbing at Rocket Ropes, an afternoon of fun at Butterfly Creek or putting their way around Treasure Island Mini Golf.

All parents have to do is plan the day’s activity or activities and show the kids wristbands on arrival to receive the relevant discounts.

Holiday Inn Auckland Airport General Manager Scott Schaefer says the hotel is delighted to offer family-friendly travel solutions that are easy on the pocket.

“The V.I.K. programme gives the kids a great holiday, even before they get on the plane!” he says.

“Travelling during school holidays can be expensive so this, combined with our long-running guarantee that kids stay and eat for free, enables us to offer an affordable ‘fun for all the family’ getaway.

“From check-in to departure, there’s plenty to do to keep the family entertained in comfort while you wait for your next flight, which is why families love staying with us.

“Kids can expend all that energy on their adventure of choice, and of course refuel at Vapor Restaurant, while parents catch their breath with some much-needed ‘time out’.”

The hotel has recently completed a $3million refurbishment to transform the ground floor restaurant and bar, hotel lobby, reception and swimming pool into eye-catching yet welcoming spaces.

The hotel’s Vapor Restaurant is now a destination in its own right, taking diners on a culinary journey of native New Zealand in a Pacific holiday setting, renowned for its selection of buffet dishes suitable for all ages, taste buds and even the fussiest of eaters.

A giant chessboard, arcade games and welcome packages will keep the kids entertained and if they feel up to braving some cooler winter air temperatures, the pool is an oasis of calm amidst sub-tropical gardens.

This year’s Term 2 holidays also happen to neatly coincide with the hotel’s winter sale, so a budget-friendly family getaway is definitely on the cards.

Guests can save up to 20% off accommodation and free breakfast when booking before July 9 2018 for stays until October 30 2018.

Discover more about the V.I.K. programme in the latest campaign video here, or online here.

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