Timing is everything, as the saying goes, so what bad fortune for two large new CBD Auckland hotels run by the same Sydney-headquartered business to be opening in the next four weeks.
Pre-pandemic, the city was stretched for guest space. Now, an extra 253 new hotel rooms will be added to the already swelling stock of empty rooms after the completion of large Britomart and Wynyard Quarter projects.
TFE Hotels (Toga Far East Hotels) New Zealand will operate and manage both places, within about 1km of each other: the iPhone screen-inspired Hotel Britomart opening on Thursday and Travelodge Hotel Auckland Wynyard Quarter opening on October 28.
Dean Humphries, Colliers International's director of hotels for New Zealand and the South Pacific, said the largest number of new hotels built simultaneously in the city at any one time would result in six hotels opening between August and October.
All up, those CBD properties worth more than $1b opening in that short space of time are:
• The new-build five-star waterfront 190-room $300m Park Hyatt, Halsey St, on ex-Team NZ sailing base, by China's Fu Wah, opened mid-September;
• The new-build 194-room Sudima Auckland City on the Wellesley/Nelson St corner, by Hind Management;
• The 104-room Hotel Britomart near the waterfront by Peter Cooper's Cooper and Company, opening this week;
• Travelodge Hotel Wynyard, the 154-room hotel opening October 28;
• QT Auckland, a 150-room hotel opening in a former Viaduct Harbour office building;
• The Mercure Auckland Queen St, a 96-room hotel spanning eight stories in an existing building.
Humphries said it won't be for another year until a seventh huge hotel - the 303-room five-star Horizon between Hobson St and Nelson St by SkyCity Entertainment Group - is due to open.
Matthew Cockram, chief executive of Cooper and Company, which developed the new hotel at 29 Galway St in the precinct, today acknowledged tourism and the international visitor market.
"It will be a quiet opening to build itself up. It's not going to be a big splash."
Cooper and Company stitched new development together with old: a new twin-block building links to four heritage structures: the Bucklands Building, Masonic Building, Stanbeth Building and Excelsior House.
Executive chairman Cooper returned to New Zealand for the milestone, having completed a fortnight's quarantine. He was previously in the United States where he has business interests, headquartered at Newport Beach, California.
In July, he also acknowledged the unfortunate coincidence with the structure's completion: "We are excited about it although timing may not be ideal."
And the architect who designed that new hotel said the Apple iPhone was partly the inspiration, at least originally when he started working on designs a decade ago, although that changed as plans changed.
Nat Cheshire of Cheshire Architects designed the hotel with colleague Dajiang Tai. Cheshire said in July the flat face of an iPhone was only partly the inspiration for the exterior: "I first drew this building when I was 29 and now I'm 39.
"It is a contemporary building amongst buildings which are 140 years older than it. It's a pair of thin towers made entirely from bricks that are rough, small and irregular. Those bricks are perforated with a constellation of windows that are as precise and flat as iPhone screens," he said back then.
New Zealand's newest Travelodge is by developer and owner Infratil and will also be managed by TFE.
That business brushed off opening woes, instead saying the seven-storey, 154-room hotel was perfectly timed "just as the world's yachting elite, due to descend on the City of Sails, starting December, to contest events in the lead-up to the 36th showdown of the America's Cup in March 2021".
That new hotel is on the corner of Halsey and Pakenham St, not far from the ASB Waterfront Theatre.
"The hotel is the first of six new buildings under development as part of a mixed-use commercial/residential block owned by transport and infrastructure investor, Infratil," Travelodge said.
"Giving a nod to the inner-city precinct's industrial past, it features a sawtooth roof and stunning patchwork façade of exposed steel, shimmering glass and precast charcoal concrete panels. Internally, the hotel's cavernous, warehouse-like lobby also kicks goals when it comes to delivering a dramatic sense of arrival for guests, via its double-height, 4.5m ceiling," it said.
"That's high enough to easily accommodate goalposts in a rugby-mad nation," said new general manager and Aucklander Nick Mannion.
The hotel's L-shape design forms a sleeve around a new, seven-storey car park which all rooms look out and away from.
Infratil said Wynyard 100 was masterplan consented for six to seven buildings that would be developed as tenant demand allowed.
"Infratil Infrastructure Property owns a 1.7ha leasehold interest [21 year perpetually renewable lease] that was reset in late 2014 which adjoins the new Wynyard Central park being developed by Auckland Council. Building 1, as the first stage is a 154-room hotel with 385 carparks and a ground floor of about 2200sq m of which NZBus will occupy about 800sq m and the hotel reception and restaurant will be also on ground floor," it said.
TFE also manages Auckland's Adina Apartments, the Travelodge Hotel Wellington, and Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch.
The business says it is "headquartered in Sydney and operating in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Denmark, and Hungary. It has a portfolio of five established hotel brands: Adina Hotels, Vibe Hotels, Travelodge Hotels, Rendezvous Hotels and TFE Hotels Collection".
It also introduced a new brand, Quincy Hotels, to Australia this year.