A local slant on a worldwide brand one of the world's most recognisable hotel businesses has just had a windy city makeover

Quest rooms feature fully equipped Kitchenettes finished in apartment, ceiling, home, interior design, living room, property, real estate, room, suite, gray
Quest rooms feature fully equipped Kitchenettes finished in a dark wood veneer. The distinctive glass-walled bathrooms were built in oamaru by De Geest, a company that has also manufactured bathrooms for the Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast.

The world of hotel statistics can be rather mystifying. It seems everyone wants to lay claim to the title of biggest, best or newest, and technically speaking, most seem to be able to verify any particular claim.

Keeping statistics to a minimum, there's a couple of things to which the new Holiday Inn Wellington can lay claim. Surprisingly, it's the first under the Holiday Inn monicker in New Zealand's North Island, and just the third in the country. It's also Wellington's largest hotel.

The brand, which falls under the umbrella of Intercontinental Hotels Group, is often touted as the most recognised hotel brand in the world a valuable association for developer Melview. However, in Wellington, the new Studio of Pacific Architecture- and Peddle Thorp-designed structure is like a contemporary revision of something familiar.

Holiday Inn Wellington is a new kid on the block in a city whose hotels boast occupancy rates of upwards of 70%. That statistic, says Melview Development's Nigel McKenna, combined with foresight, analysis, and a little bit of risk balanced by a modicum of common sense, was one of the key decisions behind the 17-storey, $80 million project.

"We had owned the site for a couple of years, and identified a niche for a contemporary, design-focused, well-located hotel," says McKenna.

"Wellington has one of the highest occupancy rates in New Zealand."

The latest internationally branded addition to Wellington's hotel café, interior design, lobby, restaurant, black
The latest internationally branded addition to Wellington's hotel line-up is also, 280 rooms, the largest. Holiday in Wellington, developed by melview was designed by Studio of pacific Architecture in conjunction with peddle thorp.

By signing management rights to Holiday Inn, Melview continues its relationship with the Intercontinental Hotels Group a new Intercontinental Hotel is planned for Queenstown but McKenna sees the style of the Wellington hotel as offering something more than the economy and consistency for which the brand is typically renowned.

"Holiday Inn Wellington is like a new poster child for the brand," says McKenna. "It's a global brand, and travellers today are brand aware. So in one respect, the hotel offers a level of certainty. However, the design, which accommodates a dramatic, long and narrow site, the levels of finishing and the amenities are very contemporary."

The hotel's general manager, Heather Idoine-Riley, confirms this.

"The hotel isn't what you'd expect from a traditional Holiday Inn. It's very contemporary, comfortable and design-led. The strong design philosophy has produced a distinctive, Wellington-style property."

For corporate and government travellers, as well as general tourists, the hotel's location is a boon within easy walking distance of a number of consistently popular destinations, such as Westpac Stadium, Parliament Buildings and Lambton Quay.

Because of the long and narrow site, the hotel is articulated to effectively maximise views and outlook.

A 17m long heated pool is among the apartment, estate, interior design, leisure, leisure centre, property, real estate, swimming pool, white, gray
A 17m long heated pool is among the facilities on offer at the hotel. As Wellingtons largest hotel, the Holiday Inn was a major logistical undertaking. The time from first site meeting between developer and architect to the actual opening was eight years.

"The angled vertical fins orientate most rooms to capture plenty of light and expansive views of the harbour, western hills or city views," says McKenna.

The fins are also a strong visual component, created with pre-cast concrete panels and engineered for an uninterrupted line.

Smoothing the transition from the street are a number of retail spaces: a florist, cafe and hairdresser. Inside, the double-height lobby, with marble floors and leather reception desks, suggests a quality of finish more typical of a 5-star hotel.

The hotel's restaurant, Plate, designed by Tom Skyring in conjunction with Studio of Pacific Architecture, opens up to an outside terrace, also moderating the street transition. The restaurant is an opulent space with warm-hued limestone floors, mesh curtains and softly spinning chrome light fittings.

To appeal to the business and conference market, the second floor features a suite of five conference and meeting rooms all with floor-to-ceiling windows, an unusual feature in a central-city hotel. Other amenities include a heated indoor pool, gym, Jacuzzi and sauna. Of course, there is also a selection of fully serviced rooms.

The 280 guest rooms include standard rooms, 19 suites and, at the top of the building, a presidential suite. All are furnished with fully equipped kitchenettes and high-quality fittings, and accented with bold contemporary fabrics.

Credit list

Melview Developments
Structural engineer
Holmes Consulting
Quantity surveyor
Rider Levett Bucknall
Project management
The Building Intelligence Group
Long run metal roofing from Aquaheat Industries
Bathrooms by De Geest
Bill Ricketts Flooring
Prestige Ceilings
Reception furniture
Jones & Sandford Joinery
Internal signs by Deneefe Signing Systems; external by Signwise Wellington
Paremata Pools
Studio of Pacific Architecture in conjunction with
Services engineer
Norman Disney & Young
Fire consultant
Holmes Fire & Safety
Pre-cast concrete panels from Concrete Structures; Formawall insulated panels from HH Robertson; curtain wall from Thermosash
Balustrade glass from Metroglass; balustrades from Ullrich Aluminium; interior handrails from Elliot Engineering
Wall and floor tiles
Trethewey Granite & Marble
Wall coverings
Kensington & Associates
Exclusive Joinery; Thonet; Jones & Sandford Joinery
Culinary, dining and bathroomware
Heating and cooling
Advanced Mechanical Systems

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Jamie Cobeldick

28 Sep, 2007