BreakFree on Cashel Christchurch has opened its doors on the first stage of a NZD$30 million redevelopment to bring the city’s largest hotel back to life.
General Manager Graeme Back and his team have celebrated their first month after unveiling 179 rooms of the planned 263-room hotel.
Dining outlets are also open and the remaining rooms will be completed by 1 September.
“As Christchurch rebuilds and attracts more tourism, conferences and events to the region, the extra accommodation provided by BreakFree on Cashel is vital to the city’s tourism and business landscape,” Back said.
On completion, the remodelled hotel, designed by Richard Dalman of Dalman Architecture, will offer 263 stylish hotel rooms – including the unique ‘pod style rooms’; a contemporary interactive Café and Bar 165; Breakfast Room, Guest Lounge; a conference room catering for up to 80 people and two boardroom style meeting spaces with capacity for up to 20 people; 24 hour reception; internet kiosk; guest laundry and limited onsite parking.
The hotel – formerly the All Seasons – closed after the February 2011 earthquakes, and was the largest hotel in the South Island.
Due to its prime central city location and contemporary urban design, the property quickly established itself as one of Christchurch’s leading hotels, on the strength of robust demand from business, leisure and group sources.
The property was originally constructed in 1987 as a commercial office building and two decades later was retrofitted to become Hotel So – New Zealand’s first blend of traditional and pod style accommodation designed for the discerning modern day traveller with a budget in mind.
An extensive refurbishment and redesign of the hotel has been underway since new owners – Auckland based Russell Property Group and an investment partner – purchased the property in January 2014.
This includes an expanded ground floor café/restaurant and the inclusion of a number of high quality traditional hotel rooms located on the top floor executive level.
Russell Property Group Managing Director Brett Russell said it was pleasing to be part of the Christchurch resurgence.
“A total investment of over NZD$30million has been committed to the project, which will also see the hotel reach a Grade A seismic rating, incorporate a new exterior façade and provide an active and expanded ground floor opening onto Cashel Street,” he said.
“This will undoubtedly revive what is arguably the City’s most popular hotel by offering modern and vibrant, yet a highly affordable accommodation for the tech-savvy business and leisure traveller.”
Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism CEO, Tim Hunter, said that with the city centre revival visitors are returning to see the new inner city take shape.
“With the NZD$40 billion rebuild gathering momentum and 90% of the pre- earthquake tourism activities back in operation the city is being enjoyed by many more visitors this summer,” he said.
“More than 35 new restaurant, bars and cafes have opened in the inner city in the past six months, fantastic new architecture is emerging and Christchurch is again becoming a focal point for tourism in the South Island.”
BreakFree on Cashel is strategically and centrally located on Cashel Street to capture a large and diverse range of corporate and leisure business.
The hotel is in close proximity to the revitalised Cashel Mall and in the vicinity of many new and exciting projects currently underway; including the NZD$140 million ‘The Crossing’ development due to open in October 2016; the Justice Precinct; the Central Bus Interchange; the new sports stadium and the Convention Centre.
Mantra Group CEO, Bob East, noted the importance of the development both to the city of Christchurch and to Mantra Group’s New Zealand network.
“Christchurch is fast returning to the vibrant tourism and business precinct for which it has been known. We are pleased to have a significant presence in the city’s resurgence by filling a gap in the accommodation market with the 263 room BreakFree on Cashel; the largest 3-4 star hotel in Christchurch,” he said.
The redevelopment incorporates some of the latest smart technology throughout the hotel recognising the importance of technology for discerning travellers. These include high-definition and interactive digital entertainment systems and advanced communication and information capabilities.
Plans for self check-in kiosks to be implemented late 2016 will further provide guests with capabilities rarely experienced at such affordable levels.
Opening rates for BreakFree on Cashel start at a very competitive $79 per night for an Inner Urban Double.