Last updated: 10:42 AM ET, Wed June 17 2015

Hotel Growth Down Under

Hotel & Resort | James Ruggia | June 16, 2015

Hotel Growth Down Under

PHOTO: Adelaide, Australia's capital, is expanding its reach in coming years. (Courtesy of Thinkstock)

Looking across the Pacific at new developments in hotels, the attention almost always gravitates to Asia, where new properties seem to go up on a daily basis. But a couple of interesting properties are worth looking at in the lands down under. Australia and New Zealand don’t build a new hotel a day, and so new accommodations in the two countries usually point to interesting trends or developments in the towns where they open.

Take Adelaide, for instance. With the new Adelaide Convention Centre and a new $535 million stadium in the Adelaide Oval, the South Australian capital is expanding both its MICE reach, and its reach as a sporting capital. The year 2018 will see a couple of big names in hospitality open their doors in Adelaide. A 32-story tower downtown that is currently under construction will be home to a 250-room Sofitel when it opens in 2018. The hotel will have a restaurant, four bars, ballroom, swimming pool, health and fitness center, meeting and conference rooms and a Sofitel Club Lounge, as well as 80 apartments.

Likewise Starwood will also be opening the Aloft Adelaide in 2018. The new-build hotel will form the centerpiece of New Mayfield, a mixed-use development. The Aloft will feature 200 of the brand’s signature loft-like rooms. The hotel will also feature an indoor glass bottom rooftop pool, 24-hour fitness center with a rooftop running track, and meeting space.

Over in Melbourne, where sports enthusiasts can find five major sports stadiums, the Wyndham Hotel Melbourne opened in December in the central business district on the corner of William Street and Little Bourke Street. The hotel operates as a mixed-use property, serving both hotel guests and vacation owners with 86 apartments through WorldMark South Pacific Club by Wyndham. The 23- and 21-story towers were designed by Melbourne-based Bruce Henderson Architects and feature one- and two-bedroom apartments as well as three-bedroom Grand and Presidential Suites that have such luxuries as built-in fireplaces, wine refrigerators, and outdoor lounge and dining areas.

The transformation of the building includes a new façade and significant environmental initiatives such as rooftop solar panels, rainwater reuse in bathrooms, and double-glazed doors and windows to reduce noise and increase energy efficiency.

New Zealand Development

In November, New Zealand’s first DoubleTree by Hilton opened in Queenstown. That locale has been a strong market for hotels as the city reached record guest nights for the first quarter this year with a total of 919,103 guest nights. For the year ended March 2015 total guest nights rose 8.7 percent to 3,085,058 over previous year, with both international and domestic guest nights increasing. The average length of stay rose from 2.63 nights to 2.72 nights for the 12 month period and total occupancy rose from 56.8 percent to 61.9 percent.

Located in the former Kawarau Hotel, the 98-room hotel is set in Kawarau Village, not far from Queenstown International Airport. The rooms have kitchenettes with an oven, microwave, and refrigerator. Many rooms look out on Lake Wakatipu. “Australasia is a key growth market for DoubleTree by Hilton, and the introduction of the brand into New Zealand marks a significant milestone as we continue to expand our offering to travelers in the region,” said Ashley Spencer, vice president of operations, Australasia.

Last year, Auckland was voted as one of Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities In The World, and hoteliers seem to agree. In May, Wyndham signed a franchise agreement for the four-star Ramada Suites Auckland Federal Street, located in central Auckland. The 42-apartment, boutique-style hotel is being developed by Robert Neil of New Zealand’s The Safari Group. The development is scheduled for completion in October and will combine studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments.

Wyndham is aggressively growing the Ramada brand throughout the South Pacific, including New Zealand. The company recently announced the addition of Ramada Suites Christchurch City to its portfolio of three properties in the country, which include locations in Paihia, Bay of Islands and Orewa.

Naumi Hospitality acquired and will manage the 193-room Hotel Grand Chancellor Auckland Airport in Auckland’s Airport Precinct. The hotel will be operated under the Naumi brand when it opens late this year. Room sizes start at 27 square meters and all rooms have either balconies or open onto gardens if on the first floor.

On Dec. 15, Air New Zealand will launch five times weekly nonstop service from Houston to Auckland. Houston will be the airline’s fifth in North America (also Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver and Honolulu) and fourth in the United States, increasing service to Auckland over peak season up to 34 times per week from the U.S. Houston will serve as the fastest way to access New Zealand from East Coast and Midwest points of origin. 

For more information on Auckland, Adelaide, Melbourne, Australia, New Zealand

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