A $65 million Novotel hotel is planned for Auckland Airport in time for the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

A joint venture was signed today between Accor Hospitality, Tainui Group Holdings and Auckland International Airport to develop and operate the world-class (4-star plus) 260 room hotel, the airport said.

Tainui would be lead developer and investor in the joint venture, with Auckland Airport holding a minority interest. The hotel would be developed on a long term ground lease granted by the airport and would be managed by Accor.

The total forecast completed cost was $65m including hotel construction estimated to be about $45m. The deal was conditional on project finance and construction tender, Auckland Airport said.

Novotel Auckland Airport would be designed by Warren & Mahoney Architects, with the final design to infuse subtle references to New Zealand culture and heritage.

Tainui Group Holdings chief executive Mike Pohio said the deal represented a significant development opportunity for Tainui that would complement its existing hotel investments.

Auckland Airport general manager property Peter Alexander said a clear demand from the tourism industry and travellers for a hotel in the airport terminal precinct had been apparent for some time.

Warren & Mahoney design director Andrew Barclay said the hotel would be an elegant, contemporary facility which represented the Auckland Airport brand, the cultural heritage of Tainui and the service values of Accor.

"The hotel's high degree of facade transparency, its natural materials and its dramatic/sculpted form are intended to provide a first insight into the essential qualities of New Zealand and its people."

Joint venture formed to build Novotel hotel at Auckland Airport

A joint venture has today been signed between Accor Hospitality, Tainui Group Holdings and Auckland International Airport, to develop and operate a world-class (4-star plus) 260 room Novotel hotel at Auckland Airport, to be completed in time for Rugby World Cup 2011.

Tainui will act as lead developer and investor in the joint venture, with Auckland Airport holding a minority interest.

The hotel will be developed on a long term ground lease granted by Auckland Airport and will be managed by Accor.

The total forecast completed cost is $65million including hotel construction estimated at approximately $45million.

The deal is conditional on project finance and construction tender.

Novotel Auckland Airport will be designed by Warren & Mahoney Architects, and the final design will infuse subtle references to NZ culture and heritage, offering style and convenience and a great first and last impression to travellers.

Tainui Group Holdings chief executive Mike Pohio, said the deal represented a significant development opportunity for Tainui that would complement its existing successful hotel investments.

"The Airport hotel will also generate considerable long-term economic growth and provide many new jobs for the Auckland region. The hotel will assist Auckland and New Zealand tourism and trade. It will cater for the inevitable economic recovery and growth when it returns."

Auckland Airport general manager property, Peter Alexander said there has been a clear demand from the tourism industry and travellers for a hotel in the airport terminal precinct for some time.

"We are exceptionally pleased to bring together such a strong group of partners, each bringing a strong track-record, skills and experience. The outcome will be a great hotel and will deliver yet another string to the bow of Auckland Airport, one of the 10 best airports in the world."

The news comes amid growing concern about a perceived lack of hotel rooms and serviced apartments available for visitors coming to New Zealand in 2011 for the Rugby World Cup.

Today's airport announcement means four new hotels have already been announced for Auckland with another two hotels or serviced apartment developments being planned.

The largest of those already in the pipeline is a new five-star 296-room Pulman hotel in Customs St which is due to be completed by August 2011.

Five-star hotels are also planned for Waiheke Island by the Langham hotel group and at Britomart, although completion dates have yet to be set.

Terry Ngan, director of tourism consultancy Horwarth said earlier this month that 1203 new hotel rooms and serviced apartments in 10 developments were under construction throughout New Zealand in preparation for the cup.

A 50-room hotel in Wellington was planned and a second 120-unit serviced apartment was also expected to be started before the year, said Ngan.

Christchurch would see 363 new hotel rooms open before the cup, with the Novotel and Rendezvous Hotels expected to open in late 2009 and early 2010. But of the new hotel and serviced apartment supply only 40 per cent would be in Auckland where most of the visitors were expected to pass through.

"Unfortunately, this new supply of 524 rooms and apartments will not sufficiently help to meet the needs of many of the 75,000 international visitors to New Zealand who will descend on Auckland for the Rugby World Cup," he said.

"Temporary accommodation, including cruise ships, will be needed in Auckland to offset the shortfall in permanent accommodation supply," said Ngan.

Accor Hospitality vice president Paul Richardson said the company was delighted with the airport venture and was looking forward to "applying our world-class hotel management expertise to providing this global gateway with a truly international accommodation, conference and food and beverage alternative."

He said there would be "uniquely New Zealand touch points and references that will be underpinned by the warmth and generosity of our New Zealand people."


- NZ HERALD STAFF/ NZPA