Hospitality Business Magazine

Hilton Karaka opens with Chef Mark Southon on board

A brand new addition to the Karaka countryside has opened its doors with the unveiling of New Zealand Bloodstock’s DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka Hotel.

Set amid the manicured grounds of NZB’s iconic horse auction and stabling facilities, the hotel is just a couple of minutes’ walk from the main sales auditorium, 30 minutes from the Auckland CBD, and just 20 minutes from Auckland International Airport.

Exuding five-star quality and elegance, the 122-room property boasts a pool and gym, its signature Horseshoe bar, wedding and conference facilities, a terrace with two large outdoor fireplaces, and a top class, family-friendly restaurant.

As the first and only hotel situated in the Papakura-Franklin area, it’s a welcome addition to the area’s growing population and business portfolio, servicing not only tourists, but locals looking for a staycation, and businesses that want to bring their staff together to work, dine and stay within an easy reach of the city limits.

New Zealand Bloodstock Managing Director Andrew Seabrook is thrilled to see the final project come to fruition.

“Speaking for the Vela Family, the team at NZB and the new Hilton team, we are hugely proud of the finished product and what the hotel has to offer. It is even more impressive than we had envisaged, and we can’t wait for people to experience it for themselves.”

Executive chef Mark Southon will showcase his talents at the Hotel’s Ethereal restaurant.

“In 1997 when Sir Peter Vela and his late brother Philip bought the auction business here at Karaka, it was always their dream to one day build a hotel on the 40 acre property.

“They believed it would be a huge asset to be able to have NZB’s international buyers stay on site during the horse sales held throughout the year.

“What we have built expands that dream to create a unique venue in a beautiful rural setting with world class accommodation, which is a rare combination and will appeal far beyond our own clients. 

“Importantly we also are excited to be able to offer a great bar and restaurant to the local community to enjoy. We imagine it will become a regular spot for the locals and we’ve designed it with that intention,” he said.

The DoubleTree by Hilton team is headed by Hotel Manager Fabian Dewelle who has most recently come from managing the Hilton Brisbane. He has assembled an impressive team of people, including renowned executive chef Mark Southon, who hails from the O’Connell Street Bistro and The French Café.

Mark will be showcasing his talents at the hotel’s Ethereal restaurant, named after owner Sir Peter Vela’s Melbourne Cup-winning thoroughbred. The restaurant will even feature the original gold Melbourne Cup won by its namesake in 2001.