Expansion on the horizon

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Floating a new idea: The Rees hotel's yacht MV Templar

A luxury Queenstown hotel is pushing north – by taking on a posh, 25-metre cruiseliner in Auckland Harbour.

The Rees Hotel is also looking at building a spanking new hotel in Christchurch.

Hotel boss Mark Rose says the growth signals the end of expansion in the resort as its lakeside Residences development, in front of The Rees, nears completion in the next two months.

The Rees’ yacht MV Templar, docked at Auckland’s Viaduct, will offer chartered and private cruises.

Rees boss: Mark Rose

Rose says the yacht would have a price tag of about $4.5 million.

It hasn’t bought the boat – but is managing it for its Auckland owner who only spends about two months of the year in New Zealand.

“It’s just like a floating hotel as it has four cabins with ensuites and sleeps nine.

“With the America’s Cup coming to Auckland it ties in pretty well with that. It is a great extension for us.

“She is set up and could go to Fiji and the islands – but at this point in time we are just looking at the Bay of Islands, the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland and down to the Coromandel.”

It did look at bringing it down to Doubtful Sound – but Rose reckons it may need a bigger boat for that.

Chartering MV Templar would cost about $53,000 per week and comes complete with a skipper, deck hand, chef and stewards.

The yacht was something of a ‘plan B’.

Rose says they’ve unsuccessfully tried to find hotel space in the big smoke for about two or three years.

The same can’t be said for the Christchurch plan – it’s full steam ahead.

He’s currently looking at options for a 140-bed new build complete with bar and restaurant.

Rose, who has just returned from a marketing trip to the United States and Singapore, says clients are already excited about the plans.

He says The Rees is known for luxury and the yacht is a natural progression.

“It makes sense to be able to pedal the brand a bit further.”

The Rees opened in 2009.

The Residences development comprises nine luxury lakeside residences.

Construction’s being project-managed by Queenstown-based ex-All Blacks coach Laurie Mains.

louises@scene.co.nz