Christchurch continues to flourish, proving a popular destination from both domestic visitors and international tourists. Reflecting on the 10th anniversary of Rydges Latimer, general manager Craig Wood reveals what he loves about the Garden City, how the hotel has evolved and what’s next.
It’s been fantastic to see lots of pop-up shops and inventive offerings, and more recently the establishment of precincts like the Riverside area. Christchurch is a city where innovation is highly valued, and new approaches are embraced. The city really gets behind you if you want to try something new.
My picks for those travelling as a family would be the Margaret Mahy playground, which is a short walk from the hotel, or heading out to the Orana Wildlife Park or the International Antarctic Centre — Christchurch is the base for the Antarctic programme for New Zealand, the US, Italy and Korea.
The Christchurch Adventure Park is a great option for kids and adults alike and Riverside Market is perfect for all ages, especially those who consider themselves to be a bit of a foodie.
It’s a very liveable city, easy to get around and there are pockets everywhere of great food, wine, shopping and the outdoors. Everything is so close.
[Our guests] often comment on how easy Christchurch is to get around, and how nice it is to be able to walk everywhere given it’s so flat.
For those who are stopping off on a road trip, they’re always happy to see our ample parking and we’ll often recommend day trips to the Port Hills for a hike or Sumner Beach for a stroll.
[The past decade] has been a huge period of change for the hotel. The hotel was the first to reopen after the 2011 earthquakes, and a lot of care was taken to ensure it was built to the top building standards. Since opening, we’ve refurbished the rooms and we have the largest hotel conference facilities in Christchurch.
The restaurant, Bloody Mary’s, has become a local icon in the 10 years it’s been operating, and we’ve done some renovations in there too — such as adding on the terrace, which has quickly become a favourite spot for diners.
Guests are always raving about Bloody Mary’s breakfast buffet, complete with virgin Bloody Mary cocktails, and our beautiful Greenstone Creek steak from the dinner service.
We’ve built a great reputation for outstanding service and a comfortable stay over the years. The hotel overlooks Latimer Square and is slightly separate from the CBD, allowing you to escape the hustle and bustle, but is close enough that it’s only a short walk to the centre of things.
The rooms are quiet and spacious, and we have an excellent steakhouse that defies the stereotype of traditional hotel restaurants — Bloody Mary’s is just as popular with locals as it is with guests. We’ve also put a lot of emphasis on sustainability, so we’re a great choice for those who want to be more environmentally conscious when they travel.
In the past couple of years in particular, the hotel has made a big shift towards sustainability, and while we’re still on that journey we’ve made some good strides to becoming a more environmentally friendly hotel.
Christchurch is only going to get bigger and better. It’s so close to the water and the mountains and, as a city, it takes sustainability very seriously. We’re excited to do more in this space …. Updates to come soon!