I recently had the pleasure of attending the Hamilton CBD Awards at the Hamilton Hotel. It was an opportunity to celebrate local businesses and honour the key people who help our city thrive.

Earlier this year, Hamilton CBD general manager Vanessa Williams, formed the idea of hosting the 2018 instalment at the historic Hamilton Hotel, a building that had been closed for many years.

With the approval of building owners the Plaw family, and the hard work by the team at Foster Maintain, the building was transformed to create a quality space for 200 guests to mingle and celebrate together.

Doormen in top hats and tails warmly greeted the guests, and a 1930s band performed period music. The event was a glamorous occasion, fitting for the history of the building.
In 1953, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh stayed in the Hamilton Hotel during their 1953 Commonwealth Tour.

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The 96-year-old heritage building on Victoria Street showed some of its former sparkle and glamour for the awards, before it is set to be repurposed as part of the wider development site for the new Waikato Regional Theatre.

When Vanessa shared her vision to re-open Hamilton Hotel for a one-night-only event, I suggested we attempt to obtain a personal letter from Queen Elizabeth II.

After discussions with the New Zealand Cabinet Office and Buckingham Palace, Vanessa received a personal letter from the Queen. In the letter, Her Majesty noted that and she and the Duke of Edinburgh remember their visit to Hamilton with fondness. She wished the CBD Association all the very best for their evening.

As Vanessa read the letter out, jaws dropped, as people appreciated that magnitude of where they were standing and what they were experiencing.

I am constantly impressed by the calibre of businesses in Hamilton's CBD. These awards were a timely reminder of some of the exciting economic activity happening in the heart of our city. This night of glamour and celebration certainly felt like a fitting way to give Hamilton Hotel the farewell celebration she deserved.