Back to Black at lakefront hotel


Jeremy Black last lived in Queenstown when his dad Chris managed Rydges Lakeland Resort.

Now, remarkably, the 34-year-old’s back in town running his dad’s hotel.

Jeremy’s taken over Rydges, including the new five-star QT Queenstown, from Vince Santoro.

Now a hotel consultant, Chris took over the then-Lakeland Hotel in 1990.

During his 10-plus years, he’s best remembered for hosting three lavish Winter Festival balls in a row.

“I grew up running around this hotel,” Jeremy says.

He attended Queenstown Primary and recalls Mark Douglas, who only retired last year, teaching him his times table.

Jeremy continued his education in Canterbury, before gaining a bachelor of commerce degree at the University of Otago.

After an OE, he started his career as a Rydges hotel management cadet 10 years ago in Sydney.

“It’s always been in the blood, really, it’s all I know.”

Following management roles in Sydney and Darwin, Jeremy was general manager at Rydges Adelaide for four years, then ran Rydges Geelong, in Victoria, for the past two.

Chris notes that he also worked in hotels in Sydney, Darwin and Victoria.

Jeremy says “I’d always said I wanted to come back to, not necessarily Queenstown, but New Zealand, and then this popped up so it’s a dream result, really”.

Following his dad’s footsteps is “uncanny – it’s sort of a full circle”.

Since originally leaving Queenstown, Jeremy says he’s frequently returned for skiing, weddings and the like – “I’ve still got a lot of friends here”.

In February, 89 Rydges rooms were shut down after consulting engineers, reporting on plans to upgrade them, found they needed earth-quake strengthening, leaving 76 rooms still operating.

Plans for remedial/upgrading work haven’t been confirmed.

But Jeremy says “it’s going to be good experience to manage that, too”.