It's already a year behind its original schedule but Rotorua's first five-star hotel is on track to be open by summer. The Pullman Hotel, on Arawa St, now has a general manager and about 75 jobs will be advertised in the coming months. Journalist Kelly Makiha gets the latest from the developers and the hotel chain behind the development and looks at what a five-star hotel will mean for the city.
Rotorua's first five-star hotel has employed a general manager and plans are coming together to open in summer with about 75 jobs soon to be advertised.
The Pullman Hotel, connected to the Accor hotel chain, is under construction in the former Zen Centre building on Arawa St.
The multimillion-dollar development will see Rotorua's first five-star hotel open by December or January. It is tipped to bring more international visitors, conferences and tour groups to the city.
Richard Bungeroth has been appointed general manager and will move to Rotorua from Franz Josef Glacier, where he currently oversees the five-star Te Waonui Forest Retreat & Amaia Spa.
Bungeroth, who starts on November 4, won the General Manager of the Year 2018 at the New Zealand Hotel Industry Awards.
An Accor spokeswoman told the Rotorua Daily Post Bungeroth brought with him extensive experience with luxury properties in South Africa and New Zealand.
The spokeswoman said the hotel was also in the process of appointing the talent and culture role. That person would then start the recruitment for the entire staff.
Jobs would be advertised from October and November and Accor had previously said it would target Rotorua and Bay of Plenty locals for the positions. Jobs include from housekeepers to sales and events staff.
The hotel is being developed by Chow Group Management Limited.
Spokeswoman Vicki Chow told the Rotorua Daily Post building was "ticking along".
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The hotel will take over the entire former Zen building and will have panoramic views of the city and lake area and feature an executive lounge, business lounge, chill-out lounge, restaurant and bar, gymnasium, and car parking at the rear of the building as well as five meeting rooms catering for conferences and events.
The developers originally said the hotel would be finished at the end of 2018.
Chow admitted progress had been slow but said there were often hold-ups when developing such a big hotel. However, she said generally she was happy with the progress so far.
She said Rotorua stood out to them as developers as it didn't have a five star hotel.
"We think there is a market there. Rotorua is the Queenstown of the North Island and it's a destination for everyone to go to. It's not too far from Auckland, there's plenty of activities around Rotorua to make a visit meaningful."
She said visitor numbers to Rotorua were growing but often tour groups and conferences skipped cities if they didn't have five-star facilities.
"People are more travelling luxury and they are looking for a better experience."
Chow wouldn't confirm the exact cost of the hotel but said it was "a lot more" than $10 million.
"We have done our due diligence because this is a substantial investment in the Rotorua economy, not just the construction but also the jobs it will create and the ongoing conferences it will attract."
Destination Rotorua chief executive officer Michelle Templer said it was exciting to know the opening date for the Pullman Hotel was just around the corner.
"The increased luxury accommodation capacity will be well received by the people coming to visit and the travel trade selling Rotorua to offshore markets alike.
"As a destination, we're working to increase the value that each visitor brings to the economy, rather than just aiming to attract more people here. The availability of a five-star hotel is an important addition to that world-class visitor experience that many high-value international visitors are seeking."