Private family investor CP Group has spent more than $200 million on 10 hotel properties in New Zealand, and has added the Mercure Hotel Auckland in the CBD to its portfolio for around $30 million.

Prakash Pandey, 32, said his family-owned company has bought the 189-room Mercure and was about to start a $5 million refurbishment of its ground-floor and conference areas.

The family business had made its money in Singapore residential and commercial real estate, Pandey said, and its name stood for the initials of his father, Charles Pandey.

The Mercure, at the intersection of Queen St, Queen Elizabeth II Square and Customs St, is one of the city's largest hotels and Pandey said it exactly suited his family's criteria because it stood on freehold land, was in the heart of the city and had the potential to be upgraded and give better returns.

Pandey cited Formula 1 as another example. CP bought the skinny Wyndham St tower from Staples Rodway, the receivers of the Peter Chevin's Columbard. Rooms were being rented at $35 a day, Pandey said. Staples Rodway was operating the studio apartments at 20 Wyndham St on short and long-term tenancies. They said in a six-monthly report issued in August that operating costs were being met. Despite continued assurances from Chevin about refinancing and repayment of all debts, Staples Rodway said no money materialised so they sold the property in a mortgagee deal this year.

CP Group bought it and then began negotiating a management deal with France-based Accor Hotel group which manages many of CP's other hotels. Pandey said room rates had doubled.

"The rooms are $70 a day because we have 24-hour reception, full check-in services and it's managed by Accor with all its systems and services in place ... We're also in the process of getting the ground-floor cafe back on track and leasing that out," he said.

Pandey, who has a bachelor of commerce from Auckland University, said his father lived in Sydney, Singapore and Auckland.

CP Group's offices are at the Dingwall Building at 87 Queen St, which it owns.


ALL IN THE FAMILY
In Auckland, CP Group owns:

* Hotel Formula 1 (formerly The Columbard) on Wyndham St in the city.

* Mercure Hotel Auckland at the intersection of Queen St, Queen Elizabeth II Square and Customs St.

* Mercure Hotel Windsor, 58-60 Queen St.

* All Seasons Ellerslie Motor Inn on Greenland Rd.

* All Seasons Remuera on Great South Rd.

* Base Backpackers Auckland at 16-22 Fort St.

Fat Camel Hostel and Bar at 38 Fort St.

Elsewhere, it owns:

* Mercure Hotel Wellington at 345 The Terrace.

* Mercure Hotel Willis St in Wellington.

* Mercure Hotel Dunedin on Princes St.