A planned multi-million dollar top-to-toe makeover of the Hamilton Airport Hotel will deliver a destination restaurant plus four-star conference and accommodation facilities for the region.
The revamped 62-room hotel will be complete by Christmas 2019.
From May the hotel will come under the management of family-owned Jet Park Hotel Hamilton Limited.
Ownership of the hotel will remain with Waikato Regional Airport Limited (WRAL), which purchased the hotel in January 2018 as part of its strategy to grow non-aeronautical revenue streams.
WRAL chief executive Mark Morgan acknowledged the role of Bruce Parker and his team who have leased the hotel since WRAL bought it.
"Jet Park, which already operates hotels in both Rotorua and Auckland, had a proven track record in outstanding hotel management and shared WRAL's vision," Mark said.
"This will not be a budget-style facility.
"We want a high standard of accommodation with a range of other quality offerings including a restaurant, bar and extensive conferencing facilities at the hotel and terminal.
"Our growing regional visitor market, along with the increase in flights coming in and out of Hamilton shows the demand is there and growing.
"Let's get on and deliver it."
The existing hotel will remain open during the refurbishment programme which will be project managed by WRAL and Jet Park.
Jet Park owner Liz Herrmann said the hotel, to be rebranded as part of the Jet Park group, would offer an "exceptional gateway to Hamilton and the Waikato".
"The location and facility has absolutely enormous potential and we will be refurbishing it from top to bottom," Liz said.
"Nothing will be the same.
"We'll be starting with bed linen and ending with a brand new commercial kitchen and destination restaurant plus outstanding conferencing facilities.
"We want to create something really vibrant and take advantage of the beautiful gardens and the wonderful green space which is something you just don't get everywhere.
"In that respect, we think there is also potential for weddings and other functions so there is a lot of opportunity on the site."
As well as a Qualmark 4-star hotel rating, Jet Park would aim to secure silver status for environmental responsibility and sustainable management.
"The hotel would showcase original New Zealand artwork and Jet Park would look specifically for works from Waikato-based artists," Liz said.
"The hotel will be a showcase and gateway to the region so let's celebrate that."
Hamilton & Waikato Tourism chief executive Jason Dawson said Jet Park was an experienced operator he predicted would do "very well" in the Waikato.
The Hamilton and Waikato region is now the fifth largest market for visitor expenditure in New Zealand, pouring $1.557 billion per year into the regional economy.
Last year motels and holiday parks in the region sold nearly 1.5 million guest nights.
"Based on what Jet Park has done in Rotorua and Auckland, they will do a great job and the refurbished 4-star hotel will be a very good asset to our tourism sector," Jason said.
Mark said the appointment of Jet Park to operate the hotel would secure WRAL's investment in the facility.
He expected the hotel would strengthen the long-term earnings of the WRAL Group which includes Hamilton Airport, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism and Titanium Park Limited.
WRAL is a council-controlled organisation owned by Hamilton City, Ōtorohanga, Waipā, Waikato and Matamata-Piako District Councils.