Artist’s impression of what the newly named Hana Lodge will look like when completed.
Millions of dollars are being pumped into Rotorua’s luxury hotels, with “high demand” for luxury accommodation in the city.
The tourism director says that expanding the city’s accommodation is necessary to achieve this
“high-end” and competitive in the international market.
It comes as tourist spending in Rotorua hit $406 million in the year to March, more than a third on last year and almost at pre-Covid levels – reflecting rising prices and a resurgence in the sector.
Rotorua’s Regent was undergoing a $5m-plus expansion, while Hamurana Lodge was undergoing a $3.5m renovation.
Rotorua Lakes Council granted planning permission for the $3m Regent house on Pukaki St last month.
It was one of 10 commercial approvals, all valued at more than $3.7m, the council issued in April.
Boutique hotel manager Bryce Garrett said the permit was for a new 12-room guest wing, which would bring the total number of rooms up to 47.
“We are seeing a huge demand for accommodation in Rotorua, especially in the summer months.”
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Garrett said the additional rooms would also help the hotel achieve “excellent financial results”.
“Continuously rising prices make it difficult for small houses to accumulate capital.”
Construction of the new guest rooms began on May 1 and is expected to be open to the public from March, he said.
Garrett said business appears to be back to pre-Covid, “which traditionally means cold weather, but [it’s] very busy in summer”.
The expansion also opened up more employment opportunities, he said.
“We need more housekeepers and waiters.”
The total cost of the expansion is expected to exceed $5m, he said.
Prince’s Gate Hotel Group marketing and events manager Jeff Ferguson said the group was one-third of the way through the multi-million dollar renovation of Hamurana Lodge in Ngongotahā.
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A $3.5m renovation—including renovations to all bedrooms and suites, a new pool area including two new spa pools and a sauna, a restaurant open for breakfast and dinner, a lounge bar, a sculpture garden surrounding the 15-acre property. new parking lot for visitors.
The lodge’s name will also change to Hana Lodge as part of the renovation, he said.
The Prince’s Gate Hotel Group comprises the luxury Black Swan and Hana Lodge hotels, as well as the four-and-a-half-star Prince’s Gate Boutique Hotel.
Ferguson said investing in infrastructure “would be good for the city”.
“It helps bring meetings, big events and attract the international market”, he said.
“There is a huge demand for luxury accommodation,” Ferguson said.
Hana Lodge was supposed to open in October, he said.
Andrew Wilson, RotoruaNZ’s chief executive of tourism and economic development, praised the two businesses and acknowledged the impact it would have on the tourism sector and the city’s residential area.
Wilson said the city will benefit from increased tourism revenue, job creation and improved visitor experience as a result of the expansion.
“Investing in Rotorua’s accommodation has a significant impact on the city itself. By expanding existing luxury accommodation, Rotorua becomes more competitive in the international tourism market.”
Wilson said the demand for accommodation continued, with stakeholders indicating a strong and ongoing need for quality accommodation in Rotorua.
“Rotorua continues to attract domestic and international visitors throughout the year, and the expansion of the Regent of Rotorua and the renovation of Hana Lodge meet that demand, adding to the needs of travelers looking for premium hospitality in the region.
“Promoting the development of accommodation is vital to the growth and development of Rotorua as a top destination.”
According to Infometrics, tourism revenue to Rotorua rose 36.2% to $406m in the year to March, compared to $298m a year ago and $412m in the year to March 2019.
Tourism spending across the country rose 30.5 percent in the year to March. Infometrics said this reflects a continued recovery, with a revival in global tourism and strong domestic employment. High inflation was also a factor.
RotoruaNZ’s tourism recovery dashboard showed that international tourist spending in Rotorua was about $97m in the year to March and had recovered to 78 per cent of pre-Covid levels. International guest nights recovered by 32 percent.
At the Point Lake Rotorua guest house, Ann Gregor-Greene said the building had its walls repaired during the Covid-19 crisis in 2020.
That includes a complete stripping and interior renovation and installation of a new roof and fireplace to modernize the space, he said. Work to renovate and save money on the maintenance of the 1930s lodge is ongoing, he said.
Originally Peppers on the Point, the lodge was rebranded in March of this year.
Gregor-Greene said good accommodation in Rotorua was in demand, and after a good season last summer, business was looking good for next year.
“We’re looking to see how it goes up next year because the demand is so high.”
While there were no immediate plans to expand Rotorua’s first five-star hotel, Pullman Rotorua, which opened in 2020, a spokesperson said they were seeing significant demand for Rotorua and increasing domestic and European travel markets.