Crowne Plaza Christchurch is re-opening today (June 30), marking the brand’s return to the city.

The largest upscale hotel in the Christchurch CBD, the property features 204 modern rooms, a new café, bar and restaurant and four modern event spaces.

The return of the brand to the city is a significant milestone for the current owners of the former office building, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), and Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism.

Building co-owner Shane Le Compte of local investment and development company MC Christchurch Holdings said the former Crowne Plaza Christchurch had a loyal following amongst Cantabrians.

“That was one of the main reasons for us wanting to bring the brand back to the city,” he said.

“We’ve worked closely with IHG and our design team to develop an international hotel with a local feel, and we feel we’ve achieved that.

“We’re really looking forward to welcoming everyone who comes through the doors this weekend so we can start to make the hotel once again an iconic destination in Christchurch.”

The hotel location radiates history. In fact one of Christchurch’s first hotels, The Golden Fleece, opened on the same site in 1851 after the legendary ‘First Four Ships’ arrived with the city’s early settlers.

Reinier Eulink

This is reflected in Crowne Plaza Christchurch’s dining and meeting spaces: ‘Market Place’ restaurant and bar echoes the original name of nearby Victoria Square, ‘Café 1851’ reflects the notable date for the hotel site, and the ‘Ellis, Gartner and Oram’ meeting rooms are named after the original Golden Fleece owners.

While history is woven into the heart and soul of the property, the emphasis is firmly on the new.

“We’re so excited to relaunch the Crowne Plaza brand here, a city where we’ve had a significant presence for many years,” said Reinier Eulink, General Manager, Crowne Plaza Christchurch.

“We’re opening in a competitive market, and the city’s still rebuilding, but we’re looking to the future and are excited to be part of the regeneration.

“The former Crowne Plaza originally opened at a time when hotels had a more formal style of operating, but the new hotel is a ‘new generation’ Crowne Plaza with a more contemporary style in line with the resurgence of the CBD.

“Crowne Plaza Christchurch has evolved to have a modern twist at every turn. There’s unlimited free WiFi and Samsung smart TVs in rooms, complete with Bluetooth connectivity and mobile device mirroring.

“Our dining spaces are chic and modern, with a buzzing deli café on the ground floor serving the city’s only Mojo coffee, craft beers and wine in Social Wine Bar, and an interactive market place dining concept in our restaurant.

“We tip our hat to the former Crowne Plaza, as it was an important part of the Christchurch city centre landscape for many years, but we’re taking it to the next level with our new-look hotel,” he said.

Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism Chief Executive Vic Allen described the return of Crowne Plaza Christchurch to the central city as “fantastic news”.

“That’s not only due to the hotel’s excellent location overlooking Victoria Square but also because it will inject some much-needed conference and meeting space into the city,” he said.

“Work on the refurbishment of historic Victoria Square should be completed early next year, and construction of the nearby Convention Centre within three years, making the hotel an even more attractive proposition for corporate, domestic and international visitors.

“With the central city rebuild now well underway, visitor numbers are expected to increase significantly this summer so the additional hotel capacity is very timely.”

The new Crowne Plaza Christchurch is located on the corner of Colombo and Armagh streets opposite Victoria Square.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management