A team of 20 hand-picked hotel staff have been on the job since June 18, preparing for the unveiling of Queenstown’s newest hotel – the 227-room Holiday Inn Express and Suites, a first for the brand in New Zealand, on July 10,right on time for the ski season.
Bookings for the July school holidays are looking positive and General Manager Jason Sabin says inquiries and bookings are rolling in for the rest of 2020 and through to early next year, which is encouraging. The IHG hotel is also holding bookings from Australia for later in the year, in anticipation of news of the re-opening of the trans-Tasman borders.
Holiday Inn Express Queenstown’s two meeting spaces, which can cater for from four to 40 people in different configurations, have already proved popular with the hotel located a few minutes’ walk from the heart of downtown Queenstown.
“We’ve been receiving numerous MICE (Meetings, Conference and Incentive) enquiries and have secured multiple events already,” says Jason. “We’re the perfect base for both small and large incentive groups with 227 rooms and suites available.”
‘The Great Room’, the hotel’s ground floor social hub with its two roaring fires and outdoor lounge complete with fire pit, will be available for cocktail events of up to 200 delegates. Breakfast will also be served here daily and a simple, smart 24-hour menu. Guests can call and collect from the menu 24 hours a day. The bar will offer international and local beers, wines and spirits, as well as non-alcoholic drinks, wraps and snacks, also 24 hours a day.
Most of the 20 or so strong team of staff come from Queenstown with the rest employed from Christchurch and Auckland, says Jason, who was previously general manager of Holiday Inn Express Sydney Macquarie Park. He was awarded 2019 GM of the Year by Hospitality Business’ sister publication HM in Australia.
“We’ve been receiving applications from high calibre staff eager to be part of a pre-opening team at a brand new hotel since the building commenced so we were in a fortunate position to be able to create a high performing team,” says Jason. The number of applicants varied, depending on the role, but the majority were already Queenstown based.
The new Queenstown hotel’s spacious suites are a Holiday Inn Express first in Australia and New Zealand and superior rooms have views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range.
Pro-invest Group chief executive Ronald Barrott says the company is excited to launch the hotel now COVID-19 restrictions have lifted in New Zealand.
Holiday Inn Express and Suites Queenstown has a stylish alpine vibe. “It’s also equipped with smart, simple rooms and features that business and leisure travellers know and love,” says Ronald.
He’s also proud of the sustainability-focused facilities and initiatives, such as the carpets throughout the building which are made from recyclable materials.
Pro-invest Group has plans underway for additional New Zealand properties, having most recently acquired a site in Auckland where it will open its second Holiday Inn Express hotel and the country’s first Voco hotel in 2021.