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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Kiwi rippers take on international stars in New Zealand’s most iconic snowboard race

US snowboarding Olympian Chris Corning is lining up to take on an amped field of kiwi snowboarders in the Treble Cone Banked Slalom 2018.

The iconic event has a strong history and its open entry status always attracts outstanding local talent, riders from around New Zealand and visiting international professionals.

This year is no exception with Corning upping the ante for this weekend’s event.

Chris has made a name for himself in both slopestyle and big air with two World Championships and World Cup titles under his belt. Earlier this year he finished fourth in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Big Air competition.

Previous events have seen entries from stars such as Freeride World Tour boarder Amber Schuecker, pro Norwegian Terje Haakonsen, and former Olympian Scotty Lago.

Even kiwi freestyle skier Jossi Wells has strapped on his snowboard to take on the course.

New Zealand’s ski areas attract international pro riders during the Northern Hemisphere’s off-season, and the festival atmosphere of the Treble Cone Banked Slalom is a big attraction for visiting athletes.

As a result, it’s an event at which local riders can find themselves facing down big-name pros, although the results aren’t as predictable as some might think. The technical nature of the course means that there’s plenty of opportunities for unforced errors and some surprising winners!

Local snowboarding royalty Deni Bevin, 42, is looking to reclaim his Master’s title and is excited to be competing against top athletes from the world circuit.

“I love giving the young guys a good run for their money,” he says. “Banked slalom is competitive by nature, but it really brings the whole snowboarding community together.

“It’s a great opportunity to compete against some of the best in the game. Winning the event a few years ago was a serious springboard and sent me to Mt Baker in the US to compete in one of the largest banked slalom competitions in the world”.

The Treble Cone Banked Slalom is part of the World Snowboarding Federation Banked Slalom World Tour, a global series that spans 14 countries.

The TC event sees racers pit themselves against the clock on a course that sees them riding high on the sides of a snow-filled gulley, aligning the classic snowboard feeling of ‘surfing the mountain’ with alpine racing.

This year’s event will see racers compete for glory in TC’s legendary Saddle Basin, which is renowned for its twisting fall line, natural airs and slashable banks.

There’s cash on offer for the winners in Open and Masters male and female categories and other prizes including Never Summer snowboards and the chance to compete in the legendary Mt Baker Banked Slalom.

The Treble Cone Banked Slalom takes place on August 11th at Treble Cone ski resort, Wanaka. Racing starts at 11am and spectators are encouraged to check out the action.

To enter visit www.treblecone.com or email [email protected]

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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 tourism industry is heading into a boom period, following research by Tourism New Zealand and New Zealand winegrowers showing that around 25% of international tourists seek out a wine experience, (increasing to 42% for those who visit to cycle or play golf).

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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Stunning Queenstown home wins Southern Supreme House of the Year

A Queenstown building company renowned for quality standards in workmanship and ‘ultimate pride in the job’ has struck gold, again.

AJ Saville Builder Ltd was named Supreme House of the Year Award winner for a Queenstown home at the Southern Registered Master Builders 2018 House of the Year gala dinner this weekend (Saturday July 21).

In addition to the Supreme accolade, the company also scooped multiple gongs for the same home with a Craftsmanship Award, Heart of the Home Kitchen Award, Gold Award and Category win in the New Home Over $2 million division.

The multi-award-winning company had a second home in the awards, which also won Gold and a GIB Show Home Category awards for a Millbrook Country Club property.

Arrowtown-based owner and founder Allister Saville says the seven awards are testament to the hard work and dedication of his team of over 35 tradesmen, sub-contractors and suppliers.

“It’s a winning result for everyone involved,” he says.

“The immaculate detailing and craftsmanship of the Queenstown home won over the judges, and we’re delighted with the feedback.

“This project was a ‘once in a lifetime’ build for our tradesmen and subbies, delivering a home with this level of bespoke requirements.

“The client, builders and designers all worked in harmony, and it’s demonstrated in the immaculate finish of this four-year build.

“Both projects demonstrate consistency in our work and it’s hugely rewarding for our staff to be recognised for their hard work and quality craftsmanship.”

The substantial 802sqm four bedroom, four-plus bathroom Queenstown home is a collection of different building types, functions, cladding and internal finishes, all centred around a sunny courtyard.

The judges were most impressed with the immaculate detailing of curved glass galleries linking stone buildings to the kitchen, lounge and living areas.

The project was constructed in keeping with historic buildings of the Queenstown Lakes district, using local stone and steep-pitched slate and iron roofs.

The energy-efficient Millbrook Country Club show home, designed by Mason & Wales Architects, exudes modern class and a subtle French feel with all the charm and character of a traditional Central Otago cottage.

Allister says the show home is a timeless design that epitomises the sophisticated rural elegance and character that is world-class Millbrook Resort.

“A show home demonstrates the very best standards in your work and I’m honoured to work in partnership with Millbrook Resort to deliver functional, spacious and energy-efficient homes at the resort,” he says.

A total of 13 Gold Award winners from the southern region will now be judged against Gold Award winners from around the country to identify the National Gold Reserve finalists.

Those finalists will go head to head at the Registered Master Builders Supreme Awards for House of the Year and Renovation of the Year on November 24 in Auckland.

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