New beginnings – from office block to luxury hotel

Previously a 19-storey office block, the 4½-star Four Points by Sheraton on Queen St capitalises on its prime CBD location and panoramic cityscape and harbour views

Russell Property Group’s re-development of 396 Queen St architecture, building, design, facade, interior design, lobby, russell property group, Four Points Sheraton
Russell Property Group’s re-development of 396 Queen St has transformed the previous 19-storey office block into the 4½-star Four Points by Sheraton Auckland. The reconfiguration of the building included the creation of a porte cochere off Mayoral Drive, giving easy access to the welcoming reception lobby.

With the current high demand for hotel rooms in Auckland projected to continue, developers are looking at different ways to address the challenges of bringing new properties onto the market.

One issue is the scarcity of suitable sites in prime locations, plus there's the high cost of building new.

Russell Property Group (RPG) has tackled those issues in its development of 396 Queen Street, converting the former office block into the Four Points by Sheraton Auckland at the prime CBD location.

RPG managing director Brett Russell says that while taking the project through nine staged consents was a challenge for the design and construction teams, it allowed the project quicker delivery to market, through staged hand-overs.

Level 16 down was delivered 18 months after purchase with a soft opening of 170 rooms, whilst construction continued on the top four floors, with Level 17 used as a buffer zone.

"The sumptuous design and unique offering has both enhanced the in-house facilities and created a destination venue – including the Churchill rooftop bar, which capitalises on the unrivalled views," says Russell.

The remaining four floors and 85 rooms, were delivered 10 months after the soft opening.

“Partnering with Sheraton – now owned by Marriot – enabled the hotel brand’s re-introduction into the Auckland market, and our design partners ensured we created a project worthy of this new start.”


While the original office block’s facade at 396 hotel, architecture, building, city, 396 Queen Street,  Four Points sheraton, Russell Property Group, Hotel
While the original office block’s facade at 396 Queen St was left substantially intact, the building has been extended by another floor to add additional guest rooms and a new rooftop bar for the Four Points by Sheraton Auckland.

To design the comprehensive re-development, RPG called on the expertise of Dalman Architects, specialist hotel architects who have worked throughout Australasia and the South Pacific.

Project director Richard Dalman says his firm's role was to interpret RPG's vision for conversion of the existing office building into a new 4½-star hotel.

"We commenced after winning the architectural competition for the project, and were involved as project architect in developing the design, preparing construction and consenting documentation and in the observation of the construction works," says Dalman.

"We needed to solve key challenges associated with the project including integrating the hotel functions, servicing and access within the constraints imposed by the existing tower and podium, a steeply sloping site and having other occupied tenancies in the building."

Along with full refurbishment of all the tower floors into guestrooms and hotel front and back of house spaces, a new level of guestrooms and bar had to be constructed on the top of the building.

The new roof form, along with new balconies at the top floor levels, work to complement the existing façade and strengthen the visual appearance of the top of the existing tower, while also allowing for spectacular views over the city and harbour.

"We are proud to have played our part in this project and enjoyed working with Russell Property Group again, after having worked successfully together on the Breakfree on Cashel Hotel in Christchurch," says Dalman.

The façade of the original Queen’s Head pub architecture, building, facade, Four Points, Sheraton, Hotel, original facade, Russell Poperty Group, Dominion Constructors
The façade of the original Queen’s Head pub still adorns the Queen St frontage at the new Four Points by Sheraton. However, the interiors behind the arched façade have been reworked to create the hotel’s ground floor bar and eatery.

Dominion Constructors undertook the conversion of the building. Considerable demolition work took place at ground floor and basement level to create hotel back of house, the stylish porte cochere and two-level lobby, with conference rooms and gym located at basement level.

While the tower’s external façade predominantly remained, the office floors were stripped back to basic structure, with seismic strengthening undertaken and new services throughout, including lift replacement.

The heritage façade of the former Queen’s Head Hotel built in 1884 was enhanced internally to feature the arched windows, returning the area to an eatery and adding an external dining deck.

The roof top plant room was removed and an additional storey added along with structure extensions to the top 3 levels, to provide eleven executive suites and the rooftop bar. Plant rooms were then re-instated above the new roof.

When it came to the interiors, Statement iD supplied a full FF&E turnkey package for Four Points by Sheraton and the rooftop bar, Churchill.

Much of the furniture was sourced locally to create a uniquely Kiwi experience for guests, though some furniture was sourced from Statement iD’s commercial brand agencies and offshore suppliers.

Statement iD director Tracy Cook-Kelland says the company has over 40 years of combined experience in managing the planning, purchasing and handover of FF&E, giving clients complete confidence in procurement processes and quality control inspections.

“Our involvement included developing budget schedules of all FF+E and HOE items by working closely with the client and the interior designer, including for the public space,” says Cook-Kelland.

“Plus we worked with the client to specify all furnishings and finishes for the rooms in line with Dalman Architects’ design and layout.”

Floor-to-ceiling windows ensure spectacular  views from Four Points Hotel, bed, room, boutique hotel, furniture, four points sheraton, Russell Property group
Floor-to-ceiling windows ensure spectacular  views from Four Points by Sheraton Auckland’s 255 rooms. Statement iD provided FF+E procurement and a full turnkey service for the hotel interiors, and assembled mock-up rooms prior to ordering to ensure all client requirements were met.

Statement iD also ensured all items adhered to the hotel’s strict brand guidelines and assembled a number of mock-up rooms prior to ordering.

“As part of the HOE package, we worked through the design and development of uniforms for all staff, including an embroidered motif and a pocket square which drew from local artwork we sourced for the hotel – some of which has traditional Maori motifs running throughout - and speaks back to the local story the hotel embodies.”

One of the star attractions at the hotel is its rooftop bar, The Churchill, with interiors by Izzard Design. Design director Paul Izzard says the design was developed as an opulent space worthy of the coveted rooftop location.

“The curation of patron experience while enjoying a tipple in the bar drives the floor plan of the space,” says Izzard

“We deliberately segregated the space into a series of intimate settings – from the clover shape of the bar to the cleverly located private spaces. This venue feels exclusive and luxurious, from the moment you enter under the low ceiling of the corridor and into the bar’s impressive 5m-high stud.”

Pride of place – The Churchill occupies part architecture, bar, the churchill, Furniture, interior design, rooftop, Four Points Sheraton, Izzard Design, Russell Property Group
Pride of place – The Churchill occupies part of the hotel’s new top floor at Four Points by Sheraton Auckland. Designed by Izzard Design, the opulent interiors of The Churchill have proved to be a popular destination venue for guests and locals. Star attractions are the unique clover-leaf shaped bar and the guarantee of a spectacular city view no matter where you are in the space.

Seating is organised to prioritise the view, with high leaners in the centre and low style booth seats snug against the glazing, ensuring no matter where you are in the space – including the bathrooms – the cityscape can be enjoyed and experienced.

“We worked closely with our suppliers to ensure, customised and bespoke solutions,” says Izzard.

The quartzite top from SCE inspired the colour palette for the space, while the variety of intricate tiling is sourced from Tile Space and European Ceramics. The finishes palette comprises of lush velvets, impressive drapery and woven wallcoverings, which were supplied by James Dunlop.

“Dark stained oak timbers are inlaid with brass detailing and mosaic marbles which adorn the bespoke furniture and joinery elements designed in house and procured by Statement iD.

“Specialist lighting was integral to accentuating the dramatic volume of the space and providing an intimate and exclusive setting, with the team at Inlite creating the ambient vibe.”

Meanwhile, Izzard also selected paints from the moody Aalto palette to colour this project.

Project: Four Points by Sheraton, 396 Queen Street, Main Reception Entrance – 110 Mayoral Dr, Auckland, 1010; phone (09) 393 8240 or online at www.fourpointsauckland.com

Developer: Russell Property  Group, www.russellpropertygroup.co.nz

Project architects:  Dalman Architects, (03) 377 5445, www.dalman.co.nz

Construction: Dominion Constructors, (09) 526 5808, www.constructors.co.nz

Fitout procurement/FF+E: Statement iD, (09) 309 7828, www.statementid.co.nz

Interior design Churchill rooftop bar: Izzard Design, (09) 379 8884, www.izzard.co.nz

Sep 09, 2019
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