Challenge ahead: An artist's impression of the $35 million Sudima Queenstown Five Mile, which will open on December 23


The big boss of Queenstown’s newest hotel, opening before Christmas, says they’re coming in with their eyes ‘‘wide open’’.

The $35 million, four-and-a-half star, 120-room Sudima Queenstown Five Mile’s opening on time and on budget on December 23, following a two-year build.

Built by Naylor Love, the hotel’s owned by Five Mile owner Clearmont Group and is being operated by Sudima.

The latter’s chief operating officer Les Morgan says the decision to build the hotel, within the Five Mile precinct, was made before Covid, and while a long-term view’s being taken, ‘‘there’s no question that as we came towards this part of the time, we were thinking,
‘we’re in for a difficult road ahead’’’.

‘‘We never contemplated not proceeding or hibernating the project … but we were certainly worried, I think anyone would be.

‘‘I guess our approach now is we’ve got to back our ability to compete, we’ve got to back our team and our brand, and we’ve got faith in that … and also we’ve got an owner that’s got a long-term view, so that makes things a little bit easier, because we’ve got a shared vision.

‘‘We definitely are going in with our eyes wide open and expect to have a real battle on our hands in terms of creating demand, but it won’t sway us at all with getting on with the job.’’ Morgan says.

They’ve already recruited a couple of heads of department, and the new GM, Hemal Ghetta, who’s previously been Sudima Christchurch City’s five-star hotel manager.

But there are about 30 positions Sudima’s recruiting for from within the Queenstown community.

While, to date, there had been a lot of interest, Morgan says they realise the employment issue is going to be ‘‘a major one for us in Queenstown’’.

It’s the first hotel in the Whakatipu to be built within a shopping centre — Morgan says, from a Sudima perspective, they think they’ve locked in the perfect location.

‘‘We love mixed-use developments, I just think that they’re such good drivers — you can have people stay and eat and drink in one facility, so from an owner’s point of view they stack up, because you can have all these tenancies that complement the core business of the hotel.’’

Making Five Mile particularly attractive is its proximity to Queenstown Airport, The Remarkables skifield, and that its adjacent to the State Highway, but past the Ladies Mile choke-points during peak traffic periods.

Free parking is ‘‘the one edge we’ve got over the rest of the market’’, Morgan says.

Meantime, confirmed ground-floor tenancies include Skechers, Bivouac Outdoor, Holly and Ivy, Sudima’s own Moss Spa and Tanoshi.

‘Kampai’ to Five Mile


Queenstown Japanese restaurant and sake bar Tanoshi’s this week opened its third local outlet at Frankton’s Five Mile.

Pictured in the new site, on the ground floor of the soon-to-open Sudima Queenstown Five Mile, from left, are co-owner Matty Yates, executive chef Koji Kiminami and Five Mile head chef Hiro Kazaki.

Tanoshi opened in the CBD’s Skyline Arcade in 2015, replacing late-night in stitution Tardis, and added a nearby takeaway outlet, Tanoshi Iko, in 2018, between Searle Lane and Church Street.

Yates says due to their locals’ loyalty scheme, which has added more than 5000 diners over the past 12 months, Covid’s not affected their growth plans.

It’s next planning to expand beyond Queenstown — Keita Yoshimura, who’s been involved with the local business, already runs a successful Tanoshi in Osaka, Japan.