Holiday Inn Express opens first NZ hotel in Queenstown

Holiday Inn Express opens first NZ hotel in Queenstown

Pro-invest Group is set to launch its first hotel in New Zealand with its doors opening to guests in Queenstown for school holidays and the start of the ski season.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Queenstown is a 227-room hotel, on the corner of Stanley and Sydney Streets in Queenstown’s centre. It officially opens to guests on Friday 10 July.

The hotel opening is being seen as a massive ‘shot in the arm’ for the beleaguered Queenstown tourism industry and a mark of faith in the resurgence of domestic and future international visitors.

The hotel’s room offering includes spacious suites – a Holiday Inn Express ‘first’ in New Zealand and Australia – in addition to superior rooms, which provide breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range.

Ronald Barrott, Pro-invest Group Chief Executive Officer, said the Group was excited to launch a new product at its first New Zealand property and expected strong demand.

“We are committed to expanding the Holiday Inn Express brand in New Zealand and we’re confident that Queenstown’s reputation as premier destination makes it the ideal place to start,” he said.

“Holiday Inn Express & Suites Queenstown has a stylish vibe, complete with an outdoor lounge with firepit. It’s also equipped with the smart, simple rooms, and features business and leisure travellers know and love.

“With school holidays approaching, the ski season underway and New Zealand’s COVID-19 travel restrictions lifted, we are anticipating that Queenstown and our latest hotel will be a popular destination for many holidaymakers.

“It provides easy access to popular ski destinations of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona and Treble Cone, while popular tourist attractions such as the Skyline gondola and the town’s dining precinct are on your doorstep. Queenstown is the home of adventure and also the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Milford Sound.

“The hotel’s location will also appeal to corporate and business travellers and makes for an ideal events and convention venue, as it’s only a short distance from the CBD.

“We are pleased to contribute to Queenstown’s vibrancy with another high-quality hotel offering.”

The hotel is equipped with all the features the Holiday Inn Express brand has become renowned for including an Express Start breakfast, power showers, black-out blinds, high-quality bedding with a choice of pillows and uncapped Wi-Fi.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Queenstown also features a fitness room, sauna, two flexible meeting rooms, self-serve laundry, dry room, onsite parking and a free business centre.

The hotel’s architecture – designed by local architectural practice McAuliffe Stevens (MSRA) – combines abstract elements representing ice and erratic rock forms to pay homage to the hotel’s landscape history and achieve a design that fits with the surrounding urban environment.

The hotel’s General Manager, Jason Sabin, said his team was looking forward to showcasing what smart, simple travel is all about.

“Our rooms provide all the quality conveniences that make you feel at home, even when you’re away,” he said.

“We are proud of our sustainability-focused facilities and initiatives, such as the carpets throughout the building which are made from recycled fishing nets.”

Mr Barrott also highlighted other initiatives.

“From a design perspective for instance, all air leaving the hotel passes through a heat recovery plant. This extracts the energy from air coming from the hotel’s bathrooms and other areas and transfers that energy, whether it’s heat in winter or cooling in summer, to the incoming fresh air. The results are a substantial reduction in energy used to pre-treat the incoming air for the hotel ventilation,” he said.

“We are also excited to continue rolling out IHG’s flagship sustainability initiative, A Greener Stay, which Pro-invest in collaboration with IHG introduced to the APAC region back in 2017.  A Greener Stay allows guests to take part in conserving the environment through opt out of housekeeping services should they stay two or more nights, resulting in energy and water savings. As an added reward, guests who choose the opt-out receive up to 500 IHG Rewards Club points per night.

“As a group, Pro-invest is committed to developing, operating and managing its hotel portfolio in a sustainable manner and continuously improve on its ESG strategies wherever feasible.

“We look forward to welcoming locals looking for a staycation, travelers exploring the region from all over New Zealand and – circumstances permitting – from overseas very shortly.”

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Queenstown is the first and only hotel under the Holiday Inn Express brand in New Zealand to date. It is the sixth Holiday Inn Express property since 2016 to be opened by Pro-invest Group, following the launch of Sydney Macquarie Park, Brisbane, Adelaide, Newcastle and Melbourne Southbank hotels in Australia.

Pro-invest Group has plans for additional New Zealand properties.

“We have acquired a prime site in Auckland on the North Island to help continue the Group’s international growth in the coming years,” Mr Barrott said.

“This site will become New Zealand’s second Holiday Inn Express hotel and Pro-invest and New Zealand’s first voco hotel in 2021.”

The voco Hotels brand is a lifestyle-orientated brand by the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).

Pro-invest Group develops and operates Holiday Inn Express and voco hotels in Australia and New Zealand under a franchise agreement with IHG.

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Crowne Plaza Queenstown rolls out red carpet to welcome first conference business post COVID-19

Crowne Plaza Queenstown rolls out red carpet to welcome first conference business post COVID-19

Queenstown’s premium place to meet, Crowne Plaza Queenstown, has opened its doors earlier than anticipated and is rolling out the red carpet to welcome its first conference post COVID-19.

The iconic lakefront hotel was originally scheduled to re-open in July to welcome domestic travellers for the school holidays and ski season. Instead it opened yesterday (Wednesday June 17) to welcome a conference group from The Icehouse business growth and development company in Auckland.

Business leaders attending the conference from June 18 to 20 all operate businesses turning over $3million-plus, and after completing management programmes with The Icehouse are visiting Queenstown as part of an Owner Manager Exchange (OMX) program.

The Icehouse Customer Relationship Manager Raewyn Goodwin says there was “no better place than Queenstown” for business owners to take a helicopter view of their business and assess growth opportunities in the wake of COVID-19.

“They own and operate businesses that are the backbone of the New Zealand economy so we’re delighted to bring them to Queenstown and support the town,” she says.

Crowne Plaza Queenstown General Manager Stewart Manson says the hotel also made the best a tough situation, using its temporary closure as an opportunity to refresh its conference rooms and carry out a ‘soft touch’ update to its premium Lakeview Rooms. It has also introduced enhanced cleaning and operating protocols under its new IHG Clean Promise in guest rooms.

“Conference and events are key segments for the business mix of the hotel, and we’re delighted to have had the opportunity to open a little earlier than expected to welcome this group,” he says.

“Although recovery from COVID will certainly take a while, this is a positive indicator that there’s demand for meetings.

“A number of new and repeat customers have already confirmed events for later in the year. This is great not just for Crowne Plaza, but other hospitality and accommodation providers in the region.”

Queenstown Chamber of Commerce chair Craig Douglas welcomed the news.

“Queenstown’s home to a vibrant mix of innovative and resilient businesses, and while we recognise we’re on a long road to recovery, we’re happy to celebrate milestones like this.”

Tourism body Destination Queenstown, which last year generated approximately $47million-worth of leads for Queenstown through its own conference and incentive bureau activity, is also delighted with the news.

“Queenstown is a world-class destination for business events, and it’s fantastic to see the recovery begin in this sector,” says interim chief executive Ann Lockhart.

“Conferences, incentive programmes and other business events will play an important role in our district’s recovery.”

ENDS

Picture captions:

1/ Conference facilitator Professor Darl Kolb (L) and Crowne Plaza Queenstown GM Stewart Manson, today at Crowne Plaza Queenstown

2/ Crowne Plaza Queenstown is in the heart of Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu

For more media information or imagery please contact:

Fiona Woodham
Southern PR
M: 0274 313 270
E: [email protected]

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From fire to water – Tekapo Springs celebrates 12th anniversary with community event and Australian bushfire family offer 

From fire to water – Tekapo Springs celebrates 12th anniversary with community event and Australian bushfire family offer 

A multi-award-winning Tekapo tourism operation business is celebrating 12 years in business with the launch of new attractions and a very special Australian bushfire relief package.

The horror stories that came out of the bushfire tragedy prompted Tekapo Springs to reach out to an Australian family that’s ‘lost everything’ with a collaborative package to take them from the fire-ravaged region to the peace and tranquillity of Tekapo.

The family has yet to be told, but their dream holiday will include return flights to Christchurch with Air New Zealand, a five-night accommodation package including Accor Hotels’ Peppers Bluewater hotel in Tekapo and a rental car from Thrifty.

Tekapo Springs has donated the return flights and activities at their complex, including the hot pools, day spa treatments and a tour with Tekapo Star Gazing.

Tekapo Jet, Mackenzie Alpine Horse Trekking, Christchurch Adventure Park, Christchurch Tramway Restaurant, Hassle Free Tours – Christchurch Hop On Hop Off Tour, KJet Queenstown and Ziptrek Ecotours have also offered activities.

Tekapo Springs’ sales and marketing manager Andy Murray says they’re “thrilled” with the response so far.

“We’re celebrating 12 years of having built a fantastic business in Tekapo so thought it was time to give back to our local and wider community,” he says.

“We know after having talked to Australian visitors who’ve lived through the fires just how much they appreciate getting away from it all, so we came up with this gorgeous family package. Along with the other businesses that have given so generously, we can’t wait to host them.”

The Australian relief package was announced this week as Tekapo Springs officially launched its fun new summer activities, the Jumpernaut and Aqua Drop waterslide.

Tekapo Springs was founded by Karl Burtscher, who still owns the company. It developed over the years to become a multi-award-winning, world-renowned and year-round tourism attraction featuring three hot pools, two cooler pools and an aqua play area, a day spa, a café and bar, steam and sauna rooms, unique stargazing products, and an ice rink and snow tube park.

It operates 364 days a year, employs up to 50 people and welcomes around 150,000 people a year.

“I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved,” says Karl. “We’ve had an awesome summer as domestic tourism in New Zealand has been really strong, so we celebrated by having some fun, acknowledging our 12thbirthday milestone and giving back in the best way we can to our friends in Australia who’re having a hard time.”

Karl thanked the Albury Ice Hockey Club (now called Mackenzie Ice Hockey Club) as without their support and allowing the sale of the land, the Tekapo Springs complex of today would not exist.

“I also want to say a huge ‘thank you’ the local Tekapo and the wider Mackenzie community as without their support this would not have been possible,” he says.

Mackenzie district Mayor Graham Smith attended the birthday celebration along with Canterbury Cricket stars Chad Bowes and Cam Fletcher. The Mayor got into the spirit of things by racing the young cricketers on the Jumpernaut followed by a speed trial on the Aqua Drop, where speeds of 41km per hour were reached.

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Sudima Hotels to Open New Property in Queenstown’s Five Mile Precinct

Sudima Hotels to Open New Property in Queenstown’s Five Mile Precinct

One of New Zealand’s most sought-after tourism and leisure hotspots is getting a brand-new hotel to meet increasing demand for high quality accommodation in Queenstown.

The 4.5-star hotel at Queenstown’s popular Five Mile precinct, set to open in the 2021-22 summer season, will operate as Sudima Queenstown and add to Sudima Hotels’ current portfolio of four hotels (Auckland Airport, Rotorua, Christchurch City and Christchurch Airport) and two more due to open in 2020-21, Auckland City and Kaikōura.

The property is owned by Clearmont Group, developer of the mixed-use Five Mile retail and business centre. Director Craig Greenwood says that after over four years in the planning they’re “delighted” construction has started on the signature four-storey ‘Armadillo’ building which completes the entrance to the Five Mile centre.

“In choosing a hotel operator we felt we needed a brand which delivered a quality experience at an affordable price, and we believe Sudima Hotels fulfils these brand values,” he says. “The hotel will also have a conference centre, meeting a need identified by our business customers, and there will be a further 2700m2 of retail on the ground floor.”

The building was designed by Queenstown’s JCY Architects director Richard Chambers and his team, inspired by the rugged geological strata of the area and developed in close collaboration with Clearmont Group and Sudima Hotels.

“The building will complete the retail loop of the centre with a lobby on the ground floor accessing the hotel above. The palette of materials developed from previous buildings on the site includes weathering steel, warm timber-like tones on the upper levels and board-marked concrete panels with timber soffits.”

Construction by Naylor Love began earlier this month, with the company’s regional manager Greg Boland saying they were proud to have worked with Five Mile from the start of the development.

“The design team has put a lot of time into making sure that the new hotel ties in with the look and feel of the rest of the development, and we’re looking forward to delivering a stunning building that fulfils their vision,” he says.

Sudima Queenstown at Five Mile is close to Queenstown Airport, major ski fields and main routes north and south. The hotel will feature 120 guest rooms (king, twin and family), a restaurant and bar with alfresco dining, four meeting and conference rooms and ski storage. The décor will have natural finishes throughout to complement the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Sudima Hotels is an award-winning leader in the New Zealand accommodation and hospitality sector. Last year it won three New Zealand Tourism Awards, taking home the Supreme Tourism Award, along with the Environmental and Employer of Choice awards.

Sudima Queenstown is set to open as a single-use plastic free property, built to a standard that will enable certification to carboNZero status as soon as possible. This will further bolster Sudima Hotels’ reputation as a leader in sustainability, diversity and accessibility.

Sudima Hotels CEO Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala says, “We’re thrilled to be announcing a new property in Queenstown, and proud to be chosen by the Clearmont Group as their hotel partner as they further augment the already successful Five Mile precinct.

“We set out to provide exceptional customer service in a welcoming and unpretentious manner and strive to be industry leaders in social and environmental responsibility. We look forward to progressing our mission and pushing ourselves forward with the opening of two new hotels this year and Queenstown a couple of summers from now.”

About Sudima Hotels

Sudima Hotels is a New Zealand hotel brand that is passionate about and committed to delivering environmentally friendly and accessible hotels in New Zealand. It is an industry leader in setting sustainability benchmarks, having achieved the first carboNZero certification for a New Zealand hotel, and initiating a movement within its group of hotels to become single-use plastic free by 2020. All its hotels are accessible and have been rated between Bronze and Platinum for accessibility by Be. Lab.

Underpinned by strong values that centre on caring, doing the right thing and working together, Sudima Hotels focuses on helping guests make the most of their day. Both corporate and leisure travellers will feel welcome and be greeted with a smile at Sudima Hotels.

Sudima Hotels current locations include Auckland Airport, Rotorua, Christchurch Airport and Christchurch City. It has hotels under development in Kaikōura, Auckland City and Queenstown.

Sudima Hotels is owned and managed by Auckland-based entrepreneur and property investor Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala.

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Central Otago Pinot Celebration raises $15,000 for local trust

Central Otago Pinot Celebration raises $15,000 for local trust

The legendary Central Otago Pinot Celebration, which attracts wine lovers from across the globe, has given back to its local community.

The three-day 2020 celebration raised $15,000 for the Mokihi Restoration Trust.

A sensational line up of Central Otago wines immersed 150 ethusiasts in wine tastings, panel discussions, lunches and dinners. 

They were hosted in breathtaking winery and vineyard settings around the region including Wanaka, Cardrona, Bannockburn and Gibbston Valley.

Pinot Celebration Chairman Chris Keys was rapt with how the event went.

“It was insanely cool. Visitors were shown the special side of this area. Central Otago is stunning, visually, but for me the event was made by the spirit of the people I’m proud to call colleagues,” he says.

“We showed our region with honesty, revealed ourselves without artifice. That made for deep, funny, cool times, and meaningful connections all over the place.

“Wine is a crucial part of this – but it’s all part of a bigger story. The celebration helps develop our cultural and ecological heritage.”

The auction was a key part of the celebration with wine and wine experiences in hot demand, kindly donated by local wineries.

Central Otago Pinot Noir Charitable Trust chairman, Alistair King says he is thrilled the money will go to such a good cause.

“The Trust’s goals of promoting hands-on community land care and native habitat restoration are a good fit with Central Otago Winegrowers’ values of being responsible custodians of their land,” he says.

“We’re pleased to be able to support the trust and enable them to continue their valuable work.”

The Mokihi Trust was established in 2016 and to date has planted 4000 native plants of local origin at three sites around Cromwell and adjacent to Lake Dunstan.

After a spectacular opening event at Rippon Vineyard in Wanaka, other highlights of the Central Otago PinotCelebration included lunch at Peregrine Winery with guest chef Monique Fiso, renowned for her NZ-Maori cuisine. 

An evening cruise to Walter Peak Station with a ‘big bottle’ tasting of Central Otago Pinot Noir Magnums and Jeroboams was another hit.

Finally, hosted by wineries in Bannockburn, guests toured through wineries on e-bikes, trailers, tractors and an electric bus, before the final long lunch.

Attendees included wine-loving consumers, trade, sommeliers, wine and leisure media, and Central Otagowineries.

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Canyon Brewing buzzing over bee initiative

In a corporate social responsibility initiative, Canyon Brewing is sponsoring three thriving beehives in Arthur’s Point, near Queenstown.

Bee the Change founder, Neal McAloon, has placed five apiaries (hive locations) across the district in a bid to help save the bees and grow educational awareness.

Go Orange Marketing Manager Emma Hansen says she’s thrilled Canyon Brewing is part of the initiative.

“Here at Canyon Brewing we want to give back to our Arthur’s Point community as much as possible and Bee the Change seemed a perfect fit.

“On top of helping make a difference in this fight to save the bees, the bees also pollinate nearby fruit trees, providing free fruit for the community in years to come.”

The Arthur’s Point apiary is on the School House Reserve.

Neal says the bees are strategically placed to get the best pollination.

“They’re located in public spaces accompanied by educational signage which will be installed shortly.

“Our future and their future is intertwined. There are many, many diseases increasing around the world so by supporting Bee the Change companies are growing awareness about the importance of bees and what people can do in their own environment to help improve the bees environment.

“The Apiculture industry and bees are under a lot of pressure globally. Our long term mission is to build up strong colonies in the district so when crises strikes around the world we could be in a position to help send apiaries elsewhere.”

Once ready, the honey will be harvested and sold, at a highly discounted rate, back to Canyon and other companies which are part of the initiative.

Without bees other consequences to our food chain would come knocking, which would be dire to food sources around the world

“The global decline of bees is a problem we all face. Without bees we won’t have food so Canyon is doing what we can to help in this fight,” Emma says.

Neal says he is grateful for their support.

“Hospitability businesses take from the food supply which bees are an intrinsic part of. By getting involved with Bee the Change, Canyon is helping with bee resilience.

“It goes in a cycle: Canyon Brewing takes from the environment, bees help create the food they take and now they’re giving back to the honeybee species.”

All businesses and individuals involved with Bee the Change pay an initial start-up fee and then a continuous yearly fee to help with the upkeep of hives.

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Outstanding Wine Experience On Offer At Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa

A stay at Central Otago’s newest luxury lodge would not be complete without an outstanding wine experience.

And that’s exactly what’s on offer at Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa, nestled among the vines in the region’s founding winery.

As Central Otago’s pioneering winery, Gibbston Valley has a deep history of winery excellence and land guardianship, reinforced in recent years with its standing as a BioGro certified organic vineyard, and BioGro certified organic winery.

Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa, featuring 24 villas, a striking central lodge building and separate spa, opens later this month and offers the ultimate in relaxed luxury, fine wine, culinary excellence and 5-star personal service.

Winemaker Christopher Keys says the Lodge & Spa’s Essential Wine Experience is the perfect opportunity for guests to get up close to what the winery team does.

“At the Winery everything is hand-tendered and made, from vine to fruit to wine,” he says.

“By the time each bottle makes it to the table, there are endless stories encapsulated in every glass.  People, place and seasons are captured in our wines, so the Essential Wine Experience is a fantastic way to unravel this, bringing our wines, our people, land and story to life.”

The half-day educational experience, exclusive to Lodge guests, winds through the working core of Gibbston Valley for a behind-the-scenes view of its operation. Sights and smells turn into tastes and chats with winemakers and chefs.

Leaving the sunlight behind to enter New Zealand’s largest wine cave, Christopher says there’s a “sensory change” as guests pass into its depths.

“There’s nothing else like it,” he says. “The atmosphere is peaceful and contemplative – just you and hundreds of barrels of Pinot Noir lining the walls.”

Guests then enjoy an entertaining cinema experience with the showing of Bud to Bottle – a short film of the winegrowing process – in the Lodge’s private wine education theatre.

“It’s a visually spectacular piece that perfectly captures the annual cycle of winemaking,” says Christopher. “Our idea is to satisfy those who are curious about the essence of winemaking.”

The film is followed by a tasting session of Gibbston Valley’s premium and Single Vineyard releases, led by an experienced winemaker.

The experience ends as it should, with food, wine and conversation at the at the Lodge Restaurant. Executive Chef Anthony Gradiska and his team will delight in preparing a convivial lunch featuring seasonal produce from the winery’s organic gardens, expertly paired with wines.

The Lodge Concierge will be available to advise guests on additional customised experiences, such as a guided helicopter trip to understand the ‘ins and outs’ of making Gibbston Valley wines from above. The helicopter experience will stop at all the Winery’s major vineyards, as well as additional spots to catch some spectacular views.

For further information and bookings go to gibbstonvalleylodgeandspa.com

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Canyon Brewing makes its mark in beer awards

New Zealand’s most scenic brewery made its mark on the beer scene with a haul of medals in the country’s most prestigious awards, less than 18 months after opening.

Canyon Brewing, which crafts its award-winning beer alongside the iconic Shotover River, was up against stiff competition in the Brewers Guild of New Zealand annual awards.

There were a record number of 955 entries across beer and cider categories for this year’s competition, just over half of them from small breweries like Canyon.

That didn’t stop the brewery from bringing home a silver medal for its Red IPA, and bronze accolades for its NZ Ale, Pale Ale, Haven XPA, and its Sour Cherry Ale in the fruit and flavoured category.

The awards, in their 13th year, have a huge reputation across the globe as one of the most prestigious accolades a brewer can win.

All Canyon’s beer is handcrafted on site in the ‘on-display’ microbrewery, which also serves up fresh, flavoursome food in its restaurant, open seven days a week.

Head brewer Jono Kauri and his team are delighted with the awards wins, which reflect the brewery’s mantra to deliver well-constructed, balanced and clean beers that while approachable, are also memorable.

“It’s about letting the raw materials and ingredients shine through into the finished beer,” says Product Development Manager Justin Koen.

“We pay close attention to detail throughout the brewing process, from paddock to pint, to ensure our brews are of outstanding quality, and the awards are testament to that.

“We’re thrilled to have shown that the beer we produce down here in Queenstown more than stacks up against many larger and more established breweries. It shows it shows the standard of success a small dedicated team can have.”

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Villas among the vines – luxury Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa opens in December

Villas among the vines – luxury Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa opens in December

Central Otago’s most exciting luxury offering is on final countdown to opening.

Located in the heart of Central Otago’s founding winery, Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa will offer the ultimate in relaxed luxury, fine wine, culinary excellence and 5-star personal service.

In just over two months, its doors will swing open to reveal a stunning architecturally-designed lodge complete with striking feature fireplace, soaring ceiling, sun-filled conservatory, al fresco dining area, an exclusive restaurant and a Lodge Cellar overflowing with historic vintages.

With a locally-sourced schist stone exterior mirroring the rugged Central Otago environment, Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa will be firmly planted in the vineyard’s rich history.

The world-class luxury accommodation experience is oozing with sophistication, sleek interior and exterior design, accompanied by lush landscaping and peaceful water features.

Twenty-four beautiful, sumptuously comfortable and modern villas are nestled just above the first vineyard block ever planted in the valley, in perfect view of the vines and distinctive Central Otago landscape on adjacent hills.

A secluded on-site spa will be a luxurious retreat for health, beauty and wellbeing, offering a serene, relaxing environment for a range of indulgences including – fittingly – vinotherapy treatments.

Gibbston Valley Winery CEO Greg Hunt says the Lodge & Spa gives guests the opportunity to connect with the land and the winery experience on another level.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have created a totally unique and completely enriching new experience for guests,” he says.

“It’s more than just unwinding among the vines – it’s about exploring the vineyard and gaining an intimate, deeper understanding of the behind-the-scenes workings of a world-class winery to a degree that’s not available anywhere else in the world.

“Going at their own relaxed pace, guests will be able to take the time to indulge in outstanding food and wine and really experience Gibbston Valley in all her glory.”

A highlight of the Lodge experience will be the opportunity to sample exquisite cuisine, carefully created to pair beautifully with premium, handcrafted Gibbston Valley Wines.

The exclusive Lodge menu is the brainchild of renowned Chef Anthony Gradiska, guided by the seasons and fresh produce grown in his Chef’s Gardens scattered around the Lodge and Spa buildings.

Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa is set to have a distinct sustainability focus, going to great efforts to do away with single-use products and introducing eco-conscious options throughout the entire operation.

The diversification of the vineyard has been an involved four-year planning project to ensure all elements of the Lodge & Spa meld seamlessly with the iconic look and feel of Gibbston Valley and the 30-year-old winery.

Additional Lodge features include a small wine education theatre, private meeting rooms, and unique indoor and outdoor spaces for intimate boutique weddings.

Each villa, boasting a modern, sophisticated décor, open plan indoor living space and the latest technology, also features a secluded sun-washed courtyard surrounded by lush landscaping and a private covered deck with dining area.

As a matter of course, a selection of premium Gibbston Valley Wines personalized to guests’ preferences greet visitors on arrival.

Customised concierge services round out the experience by providing the very best advice and local knowledge on wine tasting, cycle tours, walking tracks and packages for activities on-site and throughout the wider Central Otago region.

Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa is set on 1000-acres of privately-owned land, dotted with many kilometres of exclusive biking and walking trails. The Queenstown Trail, New Zealand’s most popular Great Ride, passes the property and provides access to over 130kms of off-road trails between Gibbston, Arrowtown and Queenstown.

Luxury experience packages available at Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa include the Wine Immersion, Food & Wine Indulgence, Relax & Revive, Romantic Escape and Ride the Vines.

Rates start at $825NZD per villa. For further information and bookings go to www.gibbstonvalleylodgeandspa.com

 Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa – what you need to know

  • Villas feature 100m2 of private, open plan indoor living space
  • Bathrooms feature a large walk-in shower, separate feature tub and dual basins
  • Complimentary bike use included for guests
  • Private wine tastings and intimate dinners available in the Lodge Cellar
  • Seasonal à la carte restaurant menu
  • Exciting range of wining, dining and leisure activities on the doorstep
  • Shuttles available for guests into Arrowtown and Queenstown
  • Spa features three private treatment rooms, a sauna, secluded hot pools and small gym
  • Just 20 minutes from Queenstown’s International Airport
  • Lodge & Spa designed by Queenstown architects Wyatt + Gray
  • Villa design by Space Studios
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Progressive Queenstown hotel drives social change

Queenstown’s newest hotel is driving social change for New Zealand’s hotel industry.

Opened nine months ago as the country’s first fully smart hotel, mi-pad Queenstown has been paying all its staff at least the living wage – rather than the minimum wage – since February this year.

The property’s 16 staff, from housekeepers to those working on reception and management, are paid a minimum of $20.55 an hour, well above the current minimum wage of $17.70 per hour.

Mi-pad Queenstown launched last year with a unique, intelligent mind-set at the very heart of its approach, mixing technology and sustainability to challenge conventional thinking.

Hotel manager Joshua Keeble says its commitment to responsible tourism through a number of ‘smart’ resources also extends to the overall welfare of its people.

“We all know that Queenstown’s not a cheap place to live so we’ve made a conscious decision to invest in our team,” he says.

“The upside of that is we’re able to recruit and retain amazing staff who receive lots of praise from guests for being friendly, efficient and helpful.

“In turn that means they’re really happy to work here and they’re not having to take on second jobs or work long hours just to make ends meet.”

Mi-pad Queenstown has embarked on the process of obtaining official accreditation from the Living Wage movement for its employment stance and hopes to see others in the industry follow suit.

“We’re committed to offering this rate to all new future staff recruits and we know this will help attract some of the best in our industry, so for us it’s win-win,” says Joshua.

The 57-room hotel in the heart of Queenstown is renowned as New Zealand’s first fully ‘smart’ hotel. It’s a next generation, energy-conscious hotel experience for the smart traveller, marrying technology, sustainability, comfort and convenience.

The key to the hotel is that there is no key. Once guests download the hotel’s personal app ‘mia’, their smartphone becomes a room key, the means of setting room temperatures and mood lighting in their room, calling for room service and even transforming into a digital concierge.

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

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New Queenstown wine tour company will capitalise on booming industry

With local family and tourism connections dating back three generations, a Kiwi couple are looking to make their mark on the booming Queenstown wine tourism industry. Husband-and-wife to be Emma Chisholm and Lee Saunders have launched Alpine Wine Tours, a new wine experience offering unique, personalised and ‘adult-only’ experiences for every wine-lover. Central Otago’s wine…

Wineries around the country are ramping up their tourism offerings as part of a strategy expected to see wine exports reach $2 billion annually by 2020, and Alpine Wine Tours says there’s never been a more exciting time to launch a new wine experience.

Alpine Wine Tours offers memorable group, private and custom wine and distillery tours from Queenstown, showcasing the unique wine and spirits of the region.

Co-owner Emma Chisholm is thrilled with how well received their new tours have been by locals and tourists.

“It’s been a huge success,” she says. “We saw a gap in the market for unique and personalised wine experiences in Queenstown and people’s initial reactions have been incredible.

“Our guests have nothing but positive things to say. We pride ourselves on providing good old-fashioned authentic Kiwi hospitality and I think that really resonates with people.

Emma and Lee are no strangers to the Queenstown tourism scene, as they also run successful tour company Alpine Adventures.

Emma is the third generation of the Chisholm family to work in Queenstown’s tourism industry. Her parents famed ‘flying pub crawl’ tour of the 1980s propelled her passion for creating some truly unforgettable adventures.

“It was called Henry’s Backcountry Flying Pub Crawl, and the name pretty much sums it up. It was fun, it was rowdy, and it was unique,” she says.

“Like Mum and Dad, we try to make every tour memorable. We’ve built great friendships with the winery owners and businesses we work with, and as a result, our guests leave Queenstown feeling like locals.”

Setting themselves apart from the rest, the local family-owned and operated business has created three adult-only group experiences, while those with children can enjoy a private tour.

Director and Tour Guide Lee Saunders said their adults only tours are already receiving rave reviews.

“People love it! There’s over 15 wine tour companies in Queenstown and almost all of them allow kids on their group tours,” he says.

“We wanted to give adults a chance to kick back and completely relax. We love kids, we have one of our own, but we all know that sometimes you just want a day to yourself.”

Alpine Wine Tours offers half and full-day tour options, taking visitors through the stunning Gibbston sub-region and into the beautiful Cardrona Valley in the comfort of their impressive fleet of luxury European vehicles.

Recognised with Tourism New Zealand’s Qualmark silver rating, the company prides itself on employing local and knowledgeable guides.

“All our guides are certified, passionate and just all-round fun,” says Lee. “We love to go the extra mile with the little touches like giving personalised water bottles and wine sleeves as gifts, to sharing our family history and local knowledge.

“Because we specialise in wine tours only our guides are super knowledgeable. They’re not your average sightseeing guide, they’re real wine experts.”

Alpine Wine Tours operates daily group, personal and customisable experiences from Queenstown. For more information see their website.

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Holiday Inn Auckland Airport completes multi-million-dollar transformation

Media Release from Holiday Inn Auckland Airport Holiday Inn Auckland Airport hotel is now the perfect place to ‘holiday’ before or after connecting to domestic and international destinations, thanks to a multi-million-dollar refurbishment. Drawing inspiration from New Zealand and the Pacific, Holiday Inn Auckland Airport has a contemporary new look following a full renovation of…

The property’s ‘open marae-inspired design’ offers the perfect meeting ground for travellers and Aucklanders alike, giving it a ‘welcoming heart’ with bursts of colour, life and energy.

The stylish new lounge bar sits at the heart of the hotel, where the removal of its original floor and ceiling features has revolutionised the space and opened it up to the sub-tropical gardens and the new swimming pool deck.

The hotel’s restaurant is now a destination in its own right, taking diners on a culinary journey of native New Zealand in a Pacific holiday setting – think hanging plants, bursts of colour and authentic finishing touches.

Ten flexible meeting and function areas have received a fresh new look. The refurbishment reinforced the popularity of these rooms which have a relaxed resort, rather than city ‘feel’. The rooms are known to be particularly spacious, with an airy atmosphere and plenty of natural light.

Delighted with the transformation and the investment in Auckland and New Zealand tourism, Holiday Inn Auckland Airport General Manager Scott Schaefer described the new look as a “runway success”.

“From check-in to departure, there’s plenty to do to keep the family or colleagues entertained in comfort while you wait for your next flight or seminar,” he said.

“We have invested in games and other family-friendly amenities, reinforcing Holiday Inn’s family proposition and what the Holiday Inn brand is known for worldwide.

“A new cultural personality shines from within and it’s pleasing to say we’re now fully open for dining, weddings, ceremonies and family events. It is such a privilege to see the owner’s vision for the hotel come to life.”

New furniture, flooring, light fixtures greenery and artwork throughout has added a modern twist, complemented by injections of Maori wood carvings, gifted by the local Iwi.

The pool is an oasis of calm amidst sub-tropical gardens, although it’s just minutes away from Auckland Airport terminals and all major motorways.

A group of committed stakeholders in the project included owners Cockpit International, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Designworks, JSC Ltd and construction company Format.

The creative Designworks team designed the hotel so all public areas were on one level, with a strong central core.

“Guests gravitate towards the central courtyard and pool area now that a variety of spaces have been opened up and flow into what is the ‘welcoming heart’ of the site,” said Designworks’ Group Head of Spatial Design Clark Pritchard.

“The overall style is relaxed and inviting, using a fresh and natural palette of materials interjected with pattern and colour to reflect the Pacific holiday concept while also celebrating New Zealand and Pacific modern art, flora and fauna.”

Jacques De Lange, Managing Director of construction company Format, said they were “proud” to deliver the transformational project.

“Holiday Inn confirmed the strength in their brand by investing hugely in an improved facility,” he said.

“Hotel General Manager Scott Schaefer, the hotel management and design team were outstanding in the delivery process of this lovely project.”

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