As international travel begins its journey home, Novotel Tainui Auckland Airport Hotel is preparing to open its doors to visitors from around the world.
After two years of socially distancing welcoming over 15,000 returning Kiwis as a managed isolation facility, the Novotel, a joint venture partnership between Auckland Airport and Tainui Group Holdings (TGH), is halfway through a transformation to a full-service hotel.
Scheduled for completion in July, each of the 4-star hotel’s 263 rooms, 12 levels, 11 meeting rooms, nine hallways, plus the conference room is undergoing a makeover, from a repaint to a complete renovation.
All items used by customers, including 325 beds, 350 duvets, 1,700 pillows, 1,000 garbage cans, 275 irons and ironing boards and 275 hair dryers, have been replaced. Every item was donated to charitable causes in the local community or overseas, with more than half going to the relief effort in Tonga.
Auckland Airport’s managing director, Property and Commercial, Mark Thomson, said operating the hotel as a managed isolation facility not only complements the airport’s job in managing the response New Zealand’s COVID at the border alongside government agencies but meant the hotel was able to retain a significant number of staff.
“Novotel has played a vital role for New Zealanders throughout the pandemic by protecting our communities; we have also kept our skilled hotel teams in stable jobs, which means we are now well positioned for a smooth reopening to travelers around the world. »
Immediately adjacent to the Novotel, construction of the Te Arikinui Pullman Auckland Airport Hotel is underway and the exterior facade of the hotel is now complete. Both hotels are operated by Accor Pacific.
Work on the project, also a partnership between Auckland Airport and TGH, began in mid-2019, but when borders closed in March 2020, construction was split into two phases: the structure and the external envelope, and interior fittings. Auckland Airport and TGH have now announced that development work will move forward, with Dominion Constructors engaged in construction.
“The global pandemic has introduced considerable uncertainty and the partnership felt that a phased approach to construction was a prudent decision,” Mr Thomson said.
“We are now in a position where we are starting to see a clearer path to recovery for air travel and can start indoors with a greater degree of confidence. Prior to the pandemic, Novotel’s occupancy profile was approximately 75% Australian and New Zealand travelers and this will likely be the region where we see the recovery arrive first.
Te Arikinui Pullman will provide a spectacular gateway for customers arriving and departing from Aotearoa in New Zealand, said Chris Joblin, managing director of Tainui Group Holdings.
“Whether it’s Kiwis who haven’t traveled for some time, the welcome return of Australian travelers or the increasingly open world beyond; Te Arikinui Pullman will mark a memorable experience to end the travel experience in a distinctly New Zealand way.
Infused with unique Waikato-Tainui cultural elements, the interior uses natural materials and light to bring luxury and grandeur, while alluding to the connection between land, sea and sky.
A key feature of Te Arikinui Pullman is a top-floor restaurant and bar with spectacular views of the runway and the Manukau Heads – a location of significant cultural significance, given this being the route taken by the Tainui’s original waka.
The stunning location will reflect in a dining experience to match. For those looking for a more casual meal, you have a choice of the downstairs café at Te Arikinui Pullman or the bistro-style restaurant ‘THIRTEEN50 Bistro & Bar’ in the neighboring Novotel.
The Novotel’s THIRTEEN50 Bistro & Bar space was completely renovated just before the pandemic, but it was never previously used as a restaurant, as the approximately 450,000 meals for guests were delivered directly to rooms.
“We never had the opportunity to reopen the restaurant before it was converted to use MIQ, so it will be wonderful to welcome diners back to this space,” said Mr. Thomson.
“Alongside the construction of the Te Arikinui Pullman, work is underway to redevelop and landscape the outer enclosure between and around the hotels, which will create an exceptional arrival experience for hotel guests and passengers. of the airport.
“The positioning of the hotels means there is a real opportunity for guests to combine services and facilities between the two properties. You might be a Novotel guest but decide to treat yourself to a meal at Te Arikinui Pullman’s top floor restaurant. Or stay at the Te Arikinui Pullman and take advantage of the Novotel’s conference rooms. The two hotels are truly designed to complement each other.