Hotel refurb beats recession

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Copthorne gets $2m ‘deluxe’ makeover.

A Queenstown hotelier is thankful his recent $2 million room refurbishment was approved before the tourism crisis bit too deeply.

Copthorne general man­­­ager Robert Oakes says his Millennium Hotels chain foresaw the downturn when ticking off the 92-room project last year “but I don’t think anyone saw it as fierce as it sort of was”.

The four-month refurb involved new carpets, wallpaper, curtains, telephones, alarm clocks, bed spreads, 32-inch LCD flat screen TVs and updated bathrooms to create “deluxe” rooms.

He admits plans next year to start on the balance of his 149 rooms are “possibly on hold”.

Oakes says group business is down the most, but he’s still hopeful occupancy this month will hit about 80 per cent.

“I don’t think anybody really knows what exactly is down and what exactly is up.”

But he’s confident the room refurb “gives us competitive advantage”.

Oakes says some housekeeping and food & beverage positions haven’t been filled as staff have left but there’ve been no forced exits.

The hotel’s also been a pilot in its chain for a series of green initiatives.