Major refurbishment for Holiday Inn Auckland Airport hotel

Media Release from Holiday Inn Auckland Airport

Holiday Inn Auckland Airport today announced (June 27 2017) a full refurbishment of all public spaces, starting next month.

The three-million-dollar redevelopment will transform the hotel’s public spaces, including the restaurant and bar, function rooms, hotel lobby, reception and swimming pool, to provide a more contemporary and tranquil environment for guests and visitors.

The redevelopment is scheduled for completion in January 2018.

Building on the heritage, community and cultural significance of the hotels location, creative design agency Designworks is tasked with drawing inspiration from New Zealand and Pacific to create a ‘welcoming heart’ for the hotel.

Keeping true to the Pacific heart and holiday concept, Vapor Restaurant will take on a more relaxed and friendly atmosphere with added bursts of colour, life and energy.

The properties Porte Cochere will get a clean and fresh new look thanks to new lighting, greenery and exterior panels.

Halo Bar will get a full structural refurbishment that includes the removal of existing floor and ceiling features, transforming the ground floor space. This will open up the bar to the new swimming pool deck where guests can sit back and enjoy a drink or casual bite to eat.

New furniture, flooring, light fixtures and artwork throughout will add a modern twist, creating spaces that are vibrant, inviting and unique.

Holiday Inn Auckland Airport is located just minutes from Auckland Airport terminals and all major motorways, and General Manager Scott Schaefer said the refurbishment would “revolutionise” guest and visitor experiences.

“We’re extremely excited to embark on this fantastic project to transform Holiday Inn Auckland Airport,” he said.

“The aim is to create an environment that’s not only an everyday escape for Aucklanders on business, but a home-away-from-home for anyone connecting to domestic and international destinations. We’re delighted with the design which is eye-catching but also warm and contemporary with a nod to cultural heritage.”

A mix of eclectic furniture including chunky timber communal tables and upholstered soft-seating furniture will be complemented by geometric timber cladding, purposely mismatched lighting and bold graphics for interior walls.

Existing Maori wood carvings, gifted by the local iwi, will be injected into the design and natural rope screens will create subtle dividers throughout the open plan space.

Stakeholders working on the redevelopment include Cockpit International, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Designworks, JSC Ltd and construction company Format.

Mr Schaefer said the comprehensive project and investment by building owners Cockpit International demonstrated their commitment to Auckland and New Zealand tourism.

“We look forward to connecting with our community for dining, weddings, ceremonies and family events, and acting as a hub for corporate conferences, seminars and events.”

Click here to visit Holiday Inn Auckland Airport’s website.

Picture caption: (Photo credit: Designworks)

1/ Relax and unwind – Holiday Inn Auckland Airport’s new look Vapor Restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner

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Desirable design and unique artwork are hallmarks of the new Crowne Plaza Christchurch

Media Release from Crowne Plaza Christchurch

Taking a very different approach to design and artwork, the new Crowne Plaza Christchurch is designed to bring a new, creative energy not only to the hotel but the heart of the city.

The hotel will open on July 1 following renovation of the former office building, transforming it into the largest upscale hotel in Christchurch city centre.

Auckland-based design agency Designworks started with a blank canvas for the hotel’s interior design, recognising the brave new opportunities in which anything was possible.


And complementing the hotel’s innovative interior, the work of New Zealand photographer Stuart Robertson – creator of the global project ‘Peace in 10,000 Hands’ — features prominently throughout the hotel’s public spaces and accommodation rooms.

The Designworks team recognised that Crowne Plaza Christchurch had an opportunity to be part of a new appreciation for hospitality, food and culture as the city reinvents itself.

“We were asked to do the work precisely because we don’t take a classic design approach,” architect Naomi Rushmer said.

“We thought a lot about the whole experience, how guests and visitors to the hotel will feel and use each one of the spaces within it. We thought about them arriving, resting, eating and working, and that all private and public spaces should provide the opportunity to experience each of these four things.

“We’ve done this by thinking how the hotel epitomises the new Christchurch, bouncing back with spirit and inventiveness, encouraging guests and visitors to make new connections in modern spaces buzzing with creative, contemporary energy.”

Ms Rushmer said a key element to the design of guest rooms was the multi-use window seat designed to ‘hero’ views of the city, coast, hills and the Southern Alps.

“We want guests to walk into the rooms and be simply drawn to the view,” she said.

Timber slat walls in the lobby and lower floors exude natural warmth and add a textural feel to the property.

One of the key design features of the lobby is a three-sided fireplace creating a warm ambience as guests and visitors enter the hotel.

“It’s very impressive, it adds some real drama and mood to the space, complemented by beautiful theatrical lighting,” said Ms Rushmer.

The collaboration between Crowne Plaza Christchurch and photographer Stuart Robertson showcases his Peace in 10,000 Hands project and stunning New Zealand scenery.

Started four years ago, the project aims to challenge and reinvigorate a global conversation about peace and create history through art. To date Stuart has travelled through over 50 countries to capture over 3,000 images of a single white rose. A timeless symbol for peace, his images show it held in the hands of people from every walk of life on the planet.

His images have exhibited worldwide, and he’s delighted to display a range of his works in the new hotel. The lift lobbies at each level also showcase different works, each one telling a different story of grace and wisdom.

“The feedback we’ve had so far has been very good, and people will imprint their own thoughts and impressions on each piece,” he said.

Not only do some of his striking images for the peace project draw in the viewer around the property’s public spaces, but his natural scenery works – close-up shots and aerial images of New Zealand’s South Island – are focal points in guest rooms.

The new Crowne Plaza Christchurch opens on July 1 on the corner of Colombo and Armagh streets opposite Victoria Square.

Click here to visit Crowne Plaza Christchurch’s website

Picture caption:

1/ Photographer Stuart Robertson’s evocative work is a highlight in lift lobbies and throughout rooms and public spaces at Crowne Plaza Christchurch

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Yonder – intriguing and diverse new venue comes to Queenstown

Media release from Yonder

Plans for an exciting new café, bar and restaurant housed in Queenstown’s historic McNeill’s Cottage have been unveiled today (Thursday June 22).

Queenstowners and visitors have come to expect nothing but eclectic offerings from the World Bar collaborators Steve Ward and Gary Livesey, and they’ve delivered yet again, even with the name of their new offering.

The delightfully named Yonder is a concept based around movement and time, reflecting an environment that will evolve throughout the day.

Yonder (over there but you can’t see it!) is set to be a fun place to visit on all levels – a cultural hub for locals and an inviting spot for visitors who like the odd indulgence, good coffee and a healthy lifestyle.

Renovations are well underway in the 1882 cottage which will house Yonder. The cottage itself is a bit of a time capsule, renowned for its enduring character and original thick stone walls.

Yonder’s scheduled to open in late July in an enviable downtown location in the heart of Queenstown.

Director Gary Livesey said it was extremely exciting to watch the next chapter of this history-filled building evolve.

“We’ve designed Yonder to be a concept that’s open to more than one interpretation, hence the ambiguous name!” he said.

“Our overall vision for the venue is to capture different audiences throughout the day, delivering a tailored experience for the purpose of your visit. We’ve put a lot of thought into the design of the space to create a morning to night ambience and offering.

“Our die-hard caffeine fiends and breakfast aficionados will find a new home for premium coffee and the ultimate dippy eggs.

“Lunch and brunch will be a step up from the classic Kiwi fare with shakshuka, adobo beef, blueberry short stack or a kimchi bowl to whet the appetites. There’s a big emphasis on healthy food and quality produce.

“Dinners are going to be a step in a different direction with a big emphasis on smaller dishes and sharing, although there’s plenty of mains if you’re in it for yourself.

“It’s sure to be the perfect spot for socialising, functions, large-scale music events, or a little bright sanctuary for locals to unwind after a busy day.”

Malaysian-born head chef Jamie Samarakkody has designed menus for social sharing, with a diverse and accessible mix of new food lover options.

Yonder will serve Atomic Coffee Roasters barista coffee and stock some of New Zealand’s finest beers including Dunedin’s Emerson’s craft beers and Wellington’s Panhead Custom Ales.

The liquor cabinet will showcase an interesting gin collection, amongst other top shelf items. The bar will offer a carefully selected wine list and an impressive cocktail list for those feeling a little fancy.

Once the sun fully sets, Gary said the venue will focus on bringing original and interesting acts, performances and events to Queenstown’s CBD.

“Our vision for Yonder is to become the go-to spot for stand-up comedy, touring performance shows, up-and-coming artists and mainstream acts,” he said.

“We want to showcase each artist in an intimate gig with incredible sound and light production. We should be able to cater for six to seven-piece acts.”

The historic cottage was built in 1882 by Scottish stonemason James McNeill and has been a hospitality destination since the early 1990’s when it housed Queenstown’s first microbrewery.

Picture caption:

1/ Renovations are underway for Queenstown’s McNeill’s Cottage which will house new café, bar and restaurant Yonder

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Queenstown becomes New Zealand’s first town with 4.5G – enabling fastest mobile speeds in the country

Media release from Spark New Zealand

Spark announced today that Queenstown has become the town capable of getting the fastest mobile data speeds in the country, as 4.5G is switched on across five mobile towers in the area.

Queenstown CBD, Frankton, and Arrowtown, and some areas in between are all covered by the next-generation network.

4.5G is the next generation of mobile technology, capable of delivering more capacity and faster speeds, and giving people more connectivity options.

Key Facts:

  • 5G can deliver up to 3-5 times more speed and capacity than 4G from a single mobile tower to compatible devices
  • Spark plans to deliver 4.5G to 10 more towns in the next 12 months
  • Over 53 terabytes of mobile data used in Queenstown in May 2017, around half of this was video streaming – the equivalent to watching over 7000 hours of High-Definition streaming on Lightbox or Netflix
  • More capacity will improve Spark’s Wireless Broadband product, with the potential for higher speeds as devices catch up into the future
  • $4.5K for 4.5G: To celebrate the launch, Spark is giving away free data spot prizes, Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphones, and a grand prize of $4,500

The launch of 4.5G in Queenstown follows single-tower deployments covering limited areas in the Christchurch CBD and Silverdale, Auckland last year, but this is the first time the technology has been activated on a cluster of towers to deliver the improved capability to a wider geographic region.

The upgrade puts the Spark network slightly ahead of devices, with no commercially available modems or phones supporting the entire range and combination of 4.5G features at the moment.

However, most new high-end phones support many 4.5G features, which propels their speeds to between three and five times faster than regular 4G. Real-world testing in Queenstown has been delivering over 400 megabits-per-second (Mbps), and specialised equipment reached a peak speed of 1.15 gigabits per second (Gbps) in Christchurch last year. Actual speeds may vary based on device being used and load on the tower the customer is connected to.

The launch will also deliver plenty of new capacity, allowing Queenstown residents to benefit from Wireless Broadband as an alternative to fixed-line services for low to moderate data users of home broadband. Wireless Broadband from Spark gives people high-quality broadband (with or without a landline), but by connecting to the nearest cell site rather than over a fixed line laid to their house.

To celebrate the Queenstown launch, Spark will be on the streets of central Queenstown on Tuesday 20 June with free data bundles and the chance to win a new Samsung Galaxy S8 or a grand prize of $4,500.

Spark Chief Operating Officer, Mark Beder, says the deployment is an important stepping stone to 5G, which is likely to become commercially available sometime in the next few years.

“4.5G is an important part of our strategy because it helps us prepare for a 5G future today, keeping up with the changes in the ways people will use wireless technology over the next few years. Because 4.5G combines a range of radio spectrum and uses it more efficiently, we can provide more capacity and speeds to our customers, allowing them to do more.

“Queenstown is the tourism capital of New Zealand, surrounded by marvellous mountains and the gorgeous Lake Wakatipu. The region’s world-class adventure and relaxation activities create experiences that are tailor-made for sharing, and deserve a world-class network to do it on.

“New Zealanders have an insatiable demand for data and data-driven products, and Queenstown is right up there. Spark’s Peninsula Hill is in the top ten busiest sites for data use in the country, and in May over 53 terabytes of mobile data was used in the region. Around half of this was for streaming video, which is the equivalent of streaming over 7000 hours of High-Definition video on Lightbox or Netflix. Spark deploying 4.5G enables and supports this – it means people can do more, stay in touch with friends and family, and provides more options for fast, high-quality Wireless Broadband,” said Beder.

Spark is committed to providing the important infrastructure that New Zealand needs to compete in the new digital economy, and intends to continue to deliver more 4.5G around the country. Ten more towns are to be activated with 4.5G within the next 12 months, alongside Spark’s ongoing 4G upgrade and deployment programme.

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