Australian private investment firm and hotel developer Pro-invest Group has unveiled plans to build its debut New Zealand hotel in Queenstown.
Pro-invest intends to establish a Holiday Inn Express on the corner of Stanley, Sydney and Melbourne streets in central Queenstown, costing more than NZD$60 million.
The planned addition of 227 hotel rooms to the resort has been welcomed by NZ’s tourism industry.
The hotel will become part of the innovative Holiday Inn Express select-service accommodation brand, which caters to leisure and corporate travellers. The hotels are value-focused and offer high-quality rooms, professional service and essential amenities at an affordable price, without full-scale food and beverage facilities.
Tim Sherlock, Managing Director of Pro-invest Group’s development arm Pro-invest Developments, says Queenstown is the ideal location for a Holiday Inn Express.
“We are committed to developing a high-quality Holiday Inn Express hotel that will be a landmark building at the gateway to Queenstown,” he says.
“One of our key aims is to be the hotel of choice for the area, providing quality accommodation for the leisure market as well as the corporate and meetings market with reasonable prices and friendly and professional service standards.”
Comprising 227 comfortable guest rooms located in two three- and four-level wings, Holiday Inn Express Queenstown will have a maximum guest occupancy of 450.
Features of the proposed hotel include a fitness centre, meeting and laundry facilities, and the Great Room – an ideal space for meetings, cocktail functions and networking – plus a complimentary guest breakfast buffet and a grab-and-go-style market pantry.
Designed by acclaimed Queenstown architect Preston Stevens of McAuliffe Stevens, the proposed hotel combines various abstract elements that are representative of the resort’s landscape history.
“The architecture is a kinetic interplay of ice and rock,” Stevens says. “The underlying concept of referencing the natural landscape will be instrumental in achieving a design that’s a positive fit with the immediate urban environment and wider natural landscape.”
A resource consent application has been lodged with the Queenstown Lakes District Council. Construction is expected to begin later in 2017 and it is hoped Holiday Inn Express Queenstown will be open for business in 2018/2019. More than 750 jobs will be generated during construction and approximately 15 further jobs will be created for hotel staff on completion. The hotel will also provide onsite living accommodation for the majority of its permanent employees.
Once operational, Holiday Inn Express Queenstown is expected to inject millions of dollars into the local economy via increased annual visitor nights and tourist spend, as well as the outsourcing of its food and beverage to the local market.
National tourism advocacy body Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) welcomes the announcement.
TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says: “It’s great to see that investors have the confidence in the future of tourism in Queenstown and New Zealand to embark on a project of this scale. It’s well recognised that there is a need for new hotels to meet the tourism growth forecasts for Queenstown. This promises to be a valuable addition to the range of commercial accommodation available in our premier mountain resort, and will contribute to the industry’s Tourism 2025 goal of growing value ahead of volume to reach total annual revenue of $41 billion by 2025.”
Destination Queenstown Chief Executive Graham Budd says he’s pleased to hear of the new Holiday Inn Express Queenstown development: “We are very supportive of this development and welcome the new Holiday Inn Express to Queenstown. Queenstown has continued to experience growth over recent years with strong visitor numbers and expenditure. Total guest nights for year-end December 2016 were up 8.3% over prior year, to 3,506,750. Total visitor expenditure topped $2.1 billion at the end of 2016, so coupled with the strong visitor numbers, we would anticipate strong demand in the accommodation sector. It is positive to see continued investment in Queenstown and we welcome the addition of new hotel capacity.”
Sherlock adds: “We look forward to working collaboratively with all local authorities and businesses in Queenstown to achieve a great outcome for the town and the Southern Lakes region generally by providing a hotel that focuses on high-quality design with facilities targeted to our guests’ needs.”
Holiday Inn Express Queenstown is part of a comprehensive portfolio of 15 Holiday Inn Express properties in Australia and New Zealand which will be operated by Pro-invest Group under a franchise agreement with IHG.
Sherlock says Pro-invest Group is planning to further expand its portfolio of Holiday Inn Express hotels in New Zealand.
“We are currently negotiating the acquisition of a site in Auckland and hope to add further properties in New Zealand in the near future,” he says.