Prime Minister John Key has officially opened Queenstown’s swanky new Kawarau Village, saying bring on the rest of the lakeside development.
Key, joined by his deputy and local MP Bill English, gave his seal of approval to the twin-hotel village tonight (Thursday) at a lavish bash in the Hilton Queenstown foyer.
Ngai Tahu kaumatua Sir Tipene O’Regan welcomed Key and his entourage to the 100-strong launch party.
Key, also the Tourism Minister, told guests no one goes away from Queenstown disappointed, given its many attractions – and the new twin-hotel village will be a great asset to the resort.
“I’m personally delighted that stage one has been completed – it’s hugely important for tourism.
“I hope the rest of it will be completed because it’s a magnificent part of Queenstown here on the lake and a fantastic addition for not only holidaymakers but businesspeople who come here.
“It’s a great property.”
The village as it stands so far includes the 178-room Hilton, 98-room Kawarau Hotel – also managed by Hilton – a day spa, restaurant, bars, a noodle eatery and deli café.
The two new hotels are the first stage of the project, started by Auckland-based developer Nigel McKenna’s Melview Development which crashed prior to completion.
The $1 billion Kawarau project was to have eventually included a conference centre, another two hotels, plus several apartment buildings with a total of 1100 units.
Hilton Worldwide Asia-Pacific president Martin Rinck – a regular Queenstown holidaymaker – told guests Hilton identified Queenstown as a strategically significant location.
“In addition to our award winning properties in Auckland and Taupo, Queenstown is now an essential part of our growing network of hotels in New Zealand.”
Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler says the opening of the Hilton Queenstown and Kawarau Hotel are among the most anticipated hotel openings in the country this year and important investments in the tourism industry.
“In challenging times for South Island tourism, here we have a global tourism leader expressing an emphatic vote of confidence by opening not just one, but two hotels, and establishing a brilliant new village for visitors to enjoy.
“Hilton Worldwide will help us market New Zealand to more of the high-yield domestic and international visitors we are targeting and bring jobs and local economic benefits.”