Crowne Plaza Christchurch design agency a finalist in national award

Media Release from Crowne Plaza Christchurch

The design agency responsible for the creative magic that transformed a former office building into the stunning new Crowne Plaza Christchurch is a finalist in a national design award.

New Zealand design agency Designworks has been named a finalist in the Best Design Awards for its innovative and fresh design approach for the hotel.

Run by The Designers Insitute of New Zealand, the awards are an annual showcase of excellence in graphic, spatial, product, interactive and motion design. Designworks is a finalist in the Hospitality Spatial Design category.

Designworks architect Naomi Rushmer said the company was “thrilled” to be a finalist.

“It’s great news, and a wonderful opportunity to showcase the new design to a wider audience,” she said.

For Crowne Plaza Christchurch, she said the company focused on delivering a creative guest experience based around being welcomed into the property, and how that flowed into relaxation, eating and working across the entire hotel.

“Our brief was to create a premium 4.5 star-hotel experience that put a ‘fresh spin’ on the Crowne Plaza brand as well as making it work locally, and to ignite the theatre and drama of the nearby Performing Arts Precinct,” said Ms Rushmer.

“As the city’s largest hotel, attracting locals and those from across the globe, the design needed to deliver an exciting and unique experience maximizing the 360-degree views of the Port Hills, Southern Alps and Pacific Ocean.”

Designworks centred its thinking around a ‘new energy” in Christchurch.

On arrival at the 204-room hotel, guests are greeted with a welcoming and boldly-crafted interior featuring timber slats wrapping the walls, accentuating height and anchoring the lobby space.

A large freeform mesh ceiling feature glows over the reception pods, inspired by the winding Avon River. The space connects to the adjacent lobby bar through a striking doubled-sided central fireplace, helping draw guests inside.

“The fireplace is very impressive, adding some real drama and mood to the space,” said Ms Rushmer.

Full-height windows flood the ground floor with natural light during the day, and carefully curated and dramatic lighting brings the spaces to life, changing mood and atmosphere, as dusk falls.

The food and beverage experience has been designed as ‘open and theatrical’, showcasing local cuisine from within a crafted café, sophisticated lobby bar and Market Place restaurant, named after the original market on site.

A grand open staircase connects to first floor dining, library and meeting rooms, and feature carpets and rugs draw inspiration from the braided rivers and topography of the South Island.

To maximize the feeling of space in guest rooms and engage with expansive views, glazed bathrooms (with privacy blinds) are open to the rooms and changing vistas.

Large window seats in every room frame the ever-changing views – the seats are designed with portable tables so guests can rest, work and eat from this unique spot.

Ms Rushmer said balancing the needs of brand owner IHG and the building owners had enabled Designworks to deliver a “world-class” design.

Crowne Plaza Christchurch General Manager Reinier Eulink said the hotel team and owners were “delighted” with the stylish look and feel of the property.

“The feedback we’ve had from guests, locals and those using our meeting rooms or food and beverage spaces has been hugely complimentary and we wish Designworks all the best for the awards,” he said.

The Best Design Awards winners will be announced at a gala dinner in Auckland on October 6.

Picture caption:

1/ The grand open staircase at Crowne Plaza Christchurch is brought to life with dramatic lighting features. Photo credit: Designworks

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Southern PR named Australasia’s top industry public relations agency

Media release from Southern PR

Southern PR is delighted to have been recognised as Australasia’s top industry public relations company at the Australasian Leisure Management Communication and Marketing Awards.

Excellence in communication and marketing in the leisure industry throughout New Zealand and Australia was the benchmark for the awards, presented in Sydney.

Southern PR director and founder Fiona Woodham says the company’s “thrilled” to have picked up the award.

“It recognises the quality of work we do throughout Australasia in these sectors and sets us apart as experts in these fields,” she says.

“Our client portfolio includes everything from adventure tourism companies to accommodation to luxury experiences and events; we’re working with the best in the industry.

“Queenstown is at the forefront of growth and development in New Zealand and we’re growing with it.

“Over our 20-plus years in business we’ve been thrilled to work with some of the biggest tourism businesses in the country, spreading the good word about who they are and what a great job they do.”

Australasian Leisure Management publisher Nigel Benton describes Southern PR’s work as “consistently impressive”.

“They do a wonderful, effective and industry-leading job on behalf of their clients in leisure and tourism and they’re rightly being recognised for that.”

Founded in 1996 by former London-based journalist Fiona, Southern PR works across a diverse range of industries, blending PR and media relations, social media and digital to successfully deliver campaigns across multiple channels.

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High school students invited to ‘dream big’ with tourism scholarship

Media Release from AccorHotels Queenstown

Two Queenstown businesses have joined forces with their local high school to offer a student a scholarship to kickstart their global tourism career.

AccorHotels four Queenstown hotels have partnered with the award-winning Queenstown Resort College to award one lucky Wakatipu High School (WHS) student with a scholarship covering fifty percent of tuition fees for a Diploma in Hospitality Management.

The WHS Scholarship provides recognition and reward to a student demonstrating a high level of academic achievement and extra-curricular involvement. The scholarship includes a guaranteed internship placement at one of AccorHotels’ market-leading Queenstown properties.

Students can apply for the grant by submitting responses to several questions, including an inventive 100-word response to “the secret of their success if they ran a world-renowned Queenstown hotel in 2028”.

The scholarship is a collective vision to open up the world of hotel business to Queenstown students, exposing them to a compelling career path in tourism with the option to travel worldwide.

AccorHotels Regional Director of Talent and Culture Erin Dalton praised the leadership of the Queenstown hotels.

“It’s fantastic to see the four hotels nurturing their talent pipeline when faced with housing and immigration challenges,” she said.

“The scholarship demonstrates the value we place on engaging with our local community as a company.”

The opportunity will take students who are already ‘innately hospitable’ living in Queenstown and are a natural fit for the resort’s hotels.

The scheme is designed to engage Queenstown’s local community in the myriad of opportunities that exist for emerging young business leaders within the hospitality and tourism industries.

Wakatipu High School Principal Steve Hall described the scholarship as an amazing opportunity to study on “home turf”.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to begin a successful career in Queenstown and New Zealand,” he said.

“Financially, the WHS Scholarship will be invaluable to a local family. We have so many great hardworking students, and it’s such a fantastic opportunity to be awarded financial aid for further education.

“It’s important to recognise careers in adventure tourism or hospitality and hotel management as some of the best in New Zealand.

“The professional standards to which QRC prepares graduates with business training, along with practical experience, is highly sought-after by prospective employers.”

Queenstown Resort College Chief Executive Charlie Phillips said gaining a recognised qualification in the tourism and hospitality sector presented “unlimited opportunities”.

“It’s fantastic to see AccorHotels acknowledge the quality of QRC as the hotels have successfully employed many of our top graduates throughout the years,” he said.

“The hotel group acknowledges QRC as a quality provider with excellent outcomes and it makes sense for our local high school to consider us as their local tertiary provider.

“The scholarship is a great opportunity for students to work within New Zealand’s largest export industry. It’s fantastic to see all parties promoting the virtues of tourism as a career of choice.”

Applications must be submitted by September 30 2017 and shortlisted applicants will undergo a formal interview with senior AccorHotels’ management.

The successful applicant will be announced at the WHS Senior prize giving at Wakatipu High School on November 2 2017.

Picture caption:

1/ AccorHotels invites Wakatipu High School students to ‘dream big’ with tourism scholarship for a Diploma in Hospitality Management at Queenstown Resort College

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Great sexpectations for Gay Ski Week QT

Media Release from Gay Ski Week QT

The world’s number one condom brand Durex is pulling out all the stops to ensure the LGBTQI community has the most enjoyable Gay Ski Week QT yet.

The latest Global Sex Survey, which polled over 29,700 adults in 36 different countries, revealed half the participants considered “a good and fulfilling sex life beneficial for their mood, self-confidence and health – especially those that have been in a relationship for less than two years”.

Those ‘great sexpectations’ bode well for this year’s event.

As platinum sponsor of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest Winter Pride event, Durex NZ is delighted to offer gay men and women convening in Queenstown in September “any excuse to play”.

“With over 80 years of experience in the bedroom, we’re dedicated to inspiring lovers to love sex safely and we’re proud to back New Zealand’s LGBTQI community,” said Durex Consumer & Shopper Marketing Manager Sarah Hollander.

“We’re all geared up for a fun winter wonderland celebration of diversity. It’s going to be a fun and social week-long celebration of skiing, glamourous hosts, drag races, karaoke, and fun between the sheets!”

Party-goers can walk away with male and female goody bags and VIP prizes throughout the week including condoms, pleasure gels, lubricants and personal massagers.

The 2017 line-up of events and activities includes the fabulous Miss Kola cabaret dinner, diversity day drag race at The Remarkables, a fun and social Queer Quiz Night and the not-to-be-missed Propaganda Gold Dance Party.

VIP local, Gold and Platinum pass holders are invited to join Durex on Thursday September 7 Toga Pool Party for an over-the-top fun-filled afternoon at the Toga Pool Party at Nugget Point Queenstown Hotel.

Gay Ski Week QT organiser Sally Whitewoods said Durex NZ was dedicated to creating a sexually healthy nation.

“We’ve been working with Durex for five years and it’s great to partner with them across a number of events this year as a platinum sponsor,” she said.

“They’re the perfect match as their products suit everyone, and we can’t wait to see what happens at this year’s event.


“If you haven’t already bought tickets, we encourage locals and visitors alike to come together and celebrate their diversity. Everyone’s welcome!”

Event tickets are available from the Gay Ski Week QT website and up-to-the-minute news can be found online at

Picture Caption:

1/ Great ‘sexpectations’ for this year’s Gay Ski Week QT

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