Grey clouds may have filled the Rotorua sky this morning but that did not stop Rotorua's first five-star hotel from shining on its opening day.

The Pullman hotel held it's official opening for guests with community and iwi leaders packing out the glistening new foyer this morning.

Not only that, a large portion of the nearly 100-strong staff were there in their work-best ready to hit the ground running.

The Pullman, connected to the Accor hotel chain, took over the former Zen Centre building on Arawa St.

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The glistening foyer was packed out with iwi members, new staff and community leaders. Photo / Stephen Parker
The glistening foyer was packed out with iwi members, new staff and community leaders. Photo / Stephen Parker

The hotel had been in the works for close to five years, after the Chow brothers bought the well-known historical glass building in the Rotorua CBD in 2015.

The 130-room hotel hosts nine floors with a range of different sized rooms including top floor president suites.

The centre point of today's opening was a karakia blessing before the first guests arrived this afternoon.

The ceremony was opened by Reverand Tom Poata with a karakia before Ngāti Whakaue and Te Arawa representatives led two moving waiata that echoed throughout the foyer.

Waiata echoed throughout the foyer of the new hotel at the official guest opening. Photo / Stephen Parker
Waiata echoed throughout the foyer of the new hotel at the official guest opening. Photo / Stephen Parker

Mayor Steve Chadwick said the opening was "incredibly exciting" and every aspect of the building had been designed to reflect the city's identity.

Chadwick had personally met many of the staff, who she said were already prepared to say "kia ora" to the arriving guests.

She said the hotel was an "investment in our city".

The old Zen building back in 2016. Photo / File
The old Zen building back in 2016. Photo / File

Ngāti Whakaue leader Monty Morrison said today marked a "wonderful" day for Rotorua.

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He said it was humbling to have so many Te Arawa and Ngāti Whakaue representatives at the opening as the building had "great historical significance to the iwi".

The land for the hotel had originally been gifted from Whakaue.

The first 16 guests will check in this afternoon.