Rotorua's landmark 203-room Holiday Inn hotel, adjoining the famous Whakarewarewa geothermal park and Living Māori Village, is for sale for the first time in two decades.
It's the first large hotel in Rotorua to be offered for sale since 2011, says Dean Humphries, hotels national director at Colliers International which has been exclusively appointed to market the 4.5-star hotel for sale by international expressions of interest closing on March 15.
"It's also the first major hotel in New Zealand to be publicly offered to the market in more than 18 months," Humphries says.
The hotel at 10 Tryon St, Whakarewarewa, is managed on behalf of its current owners by international hotel company Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) under its Holiday Inn brand.
"This substantial 13,000sq m hotel is situated on more than 1ha of prime freehold land next to one of the region's most popular tourist attractions," says Humphries.
"The hotel has six spacious function and meeting facilities that can host up to 1000 delegates, as well as the popular Chapmans Restaurant and Bar, heated outdoor pool and spa facilities, extensive gym and parking for more than 120 vehicles.
"It has recently undergone an extensive renovation, including a range of new plant and seismic upgrades, and refurbishment of many of the guest rooms and front of house amenities."
Humphries says New Zealand hotel assets are tightly retained due to exceptional trading conditions in the marketplace.
"Holiday Inn has flourished since IHG took over management in 2011 and it now has an established clientele of international, domestic and corporate guests.
"The hotel is also available with vacant possession which allows for a much broader range of buyers, including owner-operators and investors who could potentially rebrand or reposition it."
Humphries says Holiday Inn has been one of the top performing hotels in the region and, with its recent upgrades, is poised to continue its strong growth on the back of a booming tourism sector.
He says the Rotorua market remains one of New Zealand's leading tourism destinations, with hotel occupancy now close to 80 per cent and room rates having increased by nearly 30 per cent in the past four years.
"Being only three hours' drive from Auckland, New Zealand's main gateway port of entry, and located on the international tourism route, Rotorua remains one of the most highly sought-after destinations in the country," Humphries says.
The New York Times last month named Rotorua as one of the top 52 destinations in the world to visit in 2018; ranked at number 45, Rotorua was the only New Zealand destination on the list.
Destination Rotorua chief executive Michelle Templer says the ranking reinforces Rotorua's international reputation as a world-class destination.
The New York Times has a daily readership of more than 9m people, while its Travel page on Facebook has 220,000 followers.
"This will open the eyes of a new sector of travellers who may not have previously considered Rotorua as a destination," Templer says.
Humphries says that with virtually no new hotel inventory likely to be built in the region over the short to medium term, except for the new 130-room Pullman Hotel, the Rotorua hotel sector has one of the highest growth prospects in New Zealand.
"As the lucrative Chinese and American markets quickly move away from the lower-yielding tours and group travel options to free independent travellers, we expect a significant uplift in room rates to regions like Rotorua.
"This will bring the region more closely in alignment with our other major tourist destination, like Queenstown, which currently has average room rates more than $100 higher than those in Rotorua."
Humphries says international tourists are now realising the many attributes and value for money that Rotorua offers, with more than 3.1m tourists visiting in the past 12 months.
"Hotels of this scale and quality are rarely offered to the market," Humphries says.