A deal to bring a new hotel brand to New Zealand was signed in Sydney yesterday, and a 200-room EVEN hotel is now planned for Auckland's central business district.
The hotel will be built on the corner of Wyndham and Albert Sts, a block above Queen St, on part of the former New Zealand Herald site.
It will be the first EVEN outside the United States, opening in 2020 in a $200 million 37-level tower that will also include a Holiday Inn Express.
Jan Smits, chief executive of global hotel business IHG for Asia, the Middle East and Africa, signed the agreement for the Auckland hotel with Ronald Barrott, principal of the developer, financial specialist Pro-invest Group.
IHG said the brand would be different to any other in New Zealand. Aromatherapy amenities, athletic studios, special lighting to energise or relax guests, in-room exercise zones and simple fresh foods were a shift towards holistic wellness, IHG said.
IHG has 32 hotels in New Zealand and Australia under the InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Resorts brands. Smits said "wellness travel" was a A$563 billion ($600b) industry and the EVEN brand had a bright future in this area of the world.
"I firmly believe that the EVEN Hotels brand will be a key driver in market share growth in New Zealand and Australia," Smits said.
Barrott noted New Zealand's 3.5 million tourists and said with its "naturally adventurous and health-conscious population, New Zealand is a great fit for EVEN Hotels".
Pro-invest Developments Australia managing director Tim Sherlock last month announced plans for a 37-level tower.
"There's clearly a shortage of hospitality offerings in New Zealand. The market is very buoyant so as an Australian group, it's a logical progression."
IHG said EVEN was based on the concepts of eat well, rest easy and keep active.