The former Copthorne hotel on Auckland's waterfront re-opened this week under a new brand after a two-year upgrade.
The renamed M Social hotel, opposite Princes Wharf and next to the PWC Tower, was built in the 1970s and has traded in previous decades as a Travelodge. The 190-room hotel was stripped back to its structure and seismically strengthened during the upgrade.
Guests reviewing the hotel on social media this week praised its Kiwi-themed rooms and new sunken bar: "Rooms look like Ikea showrooms. Love the factoids about New Zealand scrawled across the walls. They also have a cool sunken bar. Recommend," wrote one guest after staying last night.
BK Chiu, managing director of the NZX-listed Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, said in August that the hotel was changing from a construction site to an operational property. Staff were being recruited to run the hotel under a new brand, he said.
"The recruitment and training of "M Bassadors" has brought a different energy as the team practice and perfect every detail of food and beverage tastings, to the programming of multiple technology platforms. With the full replacement of all building services and seismic strengthening to an A grade, the team will continue to test the services over the coming weeks. We are all looking forward to Aucklanders and visitors getting social when the hotel opens in October."
Last year's annual Millennium report showed the properties it owns include the Millennium Hotel Rotorua, the refurbished and reopened M Social Auckland, Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands (49 per cent), Copthorne Hotel & Resort Queenstown Lakefront, Kingsgate Hotel Greymouth and Kingsgate Hotel Te Anau.
"The latest investment is the conversion of the former Copthorne Hotel, Harbour City on Quay St in Auckland to the new M Social Auckland. It is the largest single refurbishment we have undertaken," the company's 2016 annual report said.
"It is designed as a contemporary hotel with friendly technology for those who choose to use it and not be befuddled by it either.
"Its CBD harbour-front location with northfacing views to the Waitemata harbour is unique."