Anne Gibson

Anne Gibson is the Property editor of the NZ Herald

Luxury hotel tipped to raise the bar

Work well under way on exclusive five-star Sofitel So in downtown Auckland

The old Reserve Bank building in Customs St. Photo / Richard Robinson
The old Reserve Bank building in Customs St. Photo / Richard Robinson

Work on the world's fourth luxurious five star-plus Sofitel So by the world's largest hotel operator is well under way in Auckland.

Only two Sofitel So hotels are open so far, in Mauritius and Bangkok but a third, designed by Karl Lagerfeld, is opening at the end of this month in Singapore.

Sofitel So opens in Auckland next year in the ex-Reserve Bank building on Customs St East. That block is now covered in scaffolding, as work progresses converting the empty office block into an exclusive five-star 133-room hotel.

The property at 67 Customs St East is owned by interests associated with Auckland's wealthy Pandy family's CP Group which owns many other Auckland hotel properties and is diagonally opposite Cooper and Company's historic Britomart precinct.

Hotel consultants Horwath HTL has predicted the property would set a new standard for upper scale hotels in Auckland as the Hilton Auckland did when it opened 10 years ago.

French-headquartered Accor, with more than 3500 hotels and 450,000 rooms in 92 countries, will manage the hotel and Ginni Post, the Sydney-headquartered media relations and internal communications manager for Accor Pacific, is in Auckland this week, although she said she did not have any more details about the new hotel at this point.

Last year, Sofitel New Zealand area general manager Wouter de Graaf announced the property one block from the waterfront would become a Sofitel So.

Each one of those hotels has its own atmosphere which he said was created by a famous name from the fashion, the arts or design.

De Graaf said at the time that the design signature for the new Auckland property was still under negotiation. Ginni Post said the design and details about food and beverage would be announced in a couple of months.

A lobby lounge bar and rooftop restaurant, meeting and conference spaces, swimming pool, spa and a SoFit centre are planned, he said.

CP Group owns 11 Accor and Sofitel hotels in New Zealand. The Sofitel Wellington and Sofitel So Auckland will take this to 13 next year, Accor Pacific said. CP is also trying to get about $19 million for the Swanson Towers office buildings it owns at the Federal St/Swanson St corner at the back of the refurbished ANZ Tower. Swanson Towers is being advertised as already having resource consent to be converted into a hotel.

Lap of luxury


Mauritius (open)
Bangkok (open)
Singapore (opening this month)
Mumbai (planned)
Rio de Janeiro (planned)
Auckland (under reconstruction)
Source: Accor Pacific

- NZ Herald

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