Living the suite life

A night to remember: Some of the Whakatipu under-18 netball team, from left, Sydney Kay, Inge Kemp, Jess Macdonald, Jett Fa’amalepe, Abby Phillips, Eliza Herron, Phoebe Kavanagh, Bridget O’Malley and Maddy Macdonald, pictured with Christchurch’s Commodore Hotel conference manager Sue Marsh, chef Yen Weyman and GM Michael Patterson last Friday

A group of Queenstown netballers were given the run of an entire Christchurch hotel last week.

The 14-member Whakatipu under-18 team, and their three coaches, had been at nationals in Christchurch, and were scheduled to fly back to Queenstown last Thursday night.

But, like hundreds of other travellers over recent weeks, their flight was disrupted.

Faced with potentially spending the night in the airport, the team at the Commodore Hotel came to their rescue.

Queenstown Resort College boss Charlie Phillips says his daughter, Abby, called to let him know the state of play, so he put in a call to Commodore GM Michael Patterson, whose family has links to Queenstown — Michael and his brothers Ken and Thomas own the
19-room Queenstown Boutique Hotel, which Ken runs.

Serendipitously, the Commodore’s coming to the end of a two-month refurb, having been used as an MIQ facility until earlier this year, and will reopen officially this coming Monday.

Michael says when he got the call from Phillips he thought it would be a good trial run for his staff, and allow the team to experience the refreshed hotel and sample the new menu.

‘‘We were only too pleased to do it for them,’’ he says.

Concerned the team might get bumped from their Friday night flight, Michael put in a call to Thomas, who runs a rental car business in Christchurch, and organised vehicles to get
them home safely last Friday.

Phillips says the Pattersons and the Commodore staff, were ‘‘just amazing’’.

‘‘[Michael] is a handy guy to know — he housed them, fed them and got them home.

‘‘It blew me away how generous he was — he didn’t charge a cent for anything, but I did make sure the girls filled the cars up with petrol.’’

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