The 'Grand Old Lady of Whanganui' is unveiling its first addition to the reworked establishment.
The Grand Hotel is opening a family restaurant The Grand Cafe and Eatery after trading as The Breakers Bar for the past 13 years.
Hotel manager Rupal Thakur said the idea of withdrawing from the Breakers franchise and opening their own restaurant had been in mind for a while, with the Covid-19 lockdown all but affirming the decision to go ahead with the change.
"We thought let's give it a go. After lockdown we just thought let's do it."
The opening of the cafe and eatery is the first of many ambitious plans for The Grand Hotel - which has recently changed ownership - with a fitness centre and in-house spa in the works over the next couple of months.
"We want this to be a family restaurant that has something for every member of the family," Thakur said.
Sunil Kumar took over ownership of the Grand Hotel last December after owner of 15 years Neville Gorrie departed.
The Irish Pub will operate the same as before, with The Grand Cafe and Eatery having bar leaners around the bar, an area for live sport and music, with dining tables and pool tables in the back for those wanting to dine in.
The function room, which has been operating as the restaurant while renovations have been under way, will return to its original purpose for the time being. That could change over time, Thakur said.
"People really love the ambience in the function room, especially people that just want to talk and chill.
"We are still thinking about it. But we may do something else in there in the long term."
While excited to have a fresh start, Thakur admits it has been stressful trying to figure out how they want the restaurant to feel and operate.
"We had big brainstorming sessions trying to figure out what we were going to do and obviously we don't want to lose the market that Breakers had."
The reworking of the restaurant has allowed them to upskill across the board, including greater emphasis on food quality and upgrading the drinks menu, including cocktails.
Despite tough times in the hospitality sector post Covid-19 lockdown, The Grand Hotel hasn't had to let go of any staff and have actually taken on four new employees as they restructure the way the hotel operates.
"We never thought we would. During the lockdown we had lots of thoughts on redundancies and what's going to happen in the future."
Wanting to retain a similar feeling Breakers had, Thakur said food on offer will have the same feel, but a greater focus on quality and standard.
"We have upgraded our menu. Our food standards have been upgraded and we have worked really hard in the kitchen."