Queenstown’s quirky QT

Opening soon: An artist's impression of the new five-star QT Queenstown hotel, opening on December

Just over two years in the making, a new boutique, luxury hotel like no other in Queenstown is due to open on December 1. Philip Chandler draws back the curtains on QT Queenstown for a sneak peek Queenstown’s QT for a sneak peek.

For all the talk of new hotels to cope with Queenstown’s tourism boom, there’s precious little to show.

An exception is the 69-room, five-star QT hotel emerging above the well-established Rydges Lakeland Resort.

Unveiled in Mountain Scene in December 2015, the quirky, arty $35 million property is opening just two years later, on December 1. It’s been designed and built locally by Warren and Mahoney Architects and Naylor Love, respectively.

Aussie giant Event Hospitality & Entertainment, which also owns the Rydges chain, opened the first QT hotel on the Gold Coast in 2011. About half a dozen QTs have followed across the Tasman, along with New Zealand’s first, the recently-opened QT Museum Wellington.

All share what’s called the “signature QT quirk”, while also reflecting their local environments.

Designer chic: An artist’s impression of QT Queenstown’s state-of-the-art lobby designed with couples in mind

The odd doubting Thomas will say QT Queenstown doesn’t add rooms to the resort as it replaces two rear blocks, since demolished, that housed 92 rooms. Those rooms were outdated, however, and the new 69 couldn’t be more contemporary, or luxurious.

Rydges general manager Vince Santoro says QT fits into the same market and price bracket as Queenstown’s Sofitel and St Moritz, “but we’re a very different product”.

“We’re more youthful fun, and it’s about taking in the landscape.”

QT has some of Queenstown’s best lake and mountain views, and Aussie Nic Graham, who’s designed all the QTs, has themed the hotel around “a mixture of alpine and apres-ski lifestyle”.

The rooms, including nine top-floor Remarkable Kings with all the bells and whistles, are designed for couples, not families, Santoro says.

There are also five state-of-the-art meeting rooms to appeal to small business groups.

Quirkily, too, rooms all include the ingredients for signature cocktails along with instructions on how to mix them.

Rydges is employing about 30 more staff to cater for QT.

Its food and beverage offerings were established early this year when Bazaar Interactive Marketplace and Reds Bar opened on Rydges’ sixth floor, at the same time as Rydges’ lobby was refurbished.

Following QT Queenstown’s opening, Rydges’ function rooms will undergo a $2m refurbishment, possibly starting as soon as January. From May, the hotel’s existing 165 rooms, which Santoro admits are “tired and dated”, will also be refurbished.