Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Holiday Inn Queenstown Remarkables Park set to open

New Zealand’s first new-build Holiday Inn hotel in a decade is on track to open early next month, and even though the country is in the midst of the pandemic, the company believes the timing isn’t too bad.

Holiday Inn Queenstown Remarkables Park will open in December with 182 rooms, in the tourist town which has been hard hit by the loss of international visitors and domestic lockdowns.

Developed and owned by QLong Investments Ltd and operated by IHG Hotels & Resorts, the hotel has created over 100 jobs during the two-year construction phase and will initially provide over 35 jobs for locals.

The general manager of Holiday Inn Queenstown Remarkables Park, Mathew Simister, said Queenstown had suffered badly during the pandemic.

“Credit to the owners for continuing to invest. We’re lucky in terms of timing of the opening because we appear to be on the brink of the new normal when people begin travelling again,” he said.

“We’re hopeful and optimistic about what is to come, we’ve got such a beautiful destination that people will want to return.”

Auckland was the key part of the domestic market and the resumption of transtasman quarantine-free travel was crucial, but the hotel could wait until people were free to travel safely.

One Auckland hotel owned by another company has imposed a vaccination mandate on staff, but Simister said there was no similar requirement at the Holiday Inn Queenstown Remarkables Park.

It encouraged vaccinations for staff and guests and would follow the government’s health requirements.

He said the hotel had signed up staff at a time when the labour shortage wasn’t so acute, but keeping them required higher wages and more flexible working conditions.

“There’s definitely a talent shortage in hospitality. We’re doing things around flexibility and benefits.” Simister, who returned home to New Zealand from, Australia in April, started work in the hotel industry while studying in Wellington.

He joined InterContinental Wellington before relocating to work at InterContinental Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast as part of the IHG “Future Leader” programme. He then spent time in senior roles at IHG properties in Adelaide, and Sydney.

The new Queenstown hotel was announced before Covid-19 hit and although building was hit by lockdowns, there had been no major delays due to supply chain problems.

Many of the rooms and suites havemountain views of The Remarkables and it will feature the first Holiday Inn “open lobby” in New Zealand. The open lobby aims to transform the traditional hotel lobby and separate eating areas into one inviting, comfortable and energetic living space.

“We are excited to open New Zealand’s flagship Holiday Inn hotel and showcase the brand’s next generation open lobby design, which will set the new standard for Holiday Inn properties across Australasia,” said Simister.

Rates at Holiday Inn Queenstown Remarkables Park start from $160 per room per night.

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