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Generous views: The Carlin's been built over seven levels above Hallenstein St

By PHILIP CHANDLER

After Kevin Carlin first settled in Queenstown 30 years ago, he intended building a lodge like Huka Lodge at the Lakeside Estates subdivision he was developing.

He even had plans drawn up, but quit Queenstown for Christchurch after having concerns over delays in finding a doctor for his son on a Sunday.

All these years later, his dream to build upmarket accommodation’s being realised with the opening of The Carlin — which he’s labelling New Zealand’s first six-star hotel — in the first week of March.

Carlin first bought, then demolished, a long-standing two-level house in central Queenstown’s Hallenstein Street.

Then, following $3.5 million worth of earthworks and retaining wall construction, he’s over
seen the $30m-plus build of a seven-level, nine-suite boutique hotel that can sleep up to 48 guests.

It’s what he calls ‘‘a retirement project’’ that’s absorbed all his waking hours — and he only sleeps four to five hours a night.

As for the six-star elements, they’re numerous, reflecting Carlin’s passion for perfection.

‘‘The difference between five stars and a six-star is you have to offer much more.’’

He’s used the stepped-back design to install outdoor dining, fireplaces and spas on  generous balconies for guests to enjoy stunning Queenstown Bay views from.

The top three floors, with their own lift and private entranceway off Kent Street, constitute ‘‘the largest penthouse in the southern hemisphere’’, Carlin says.

At 520 square metres, it includes seven bedrooms and bathrooms and four kitchens and lounge rooms, meaning VIPs can accommodate their entourages as well as their families — the penthouse tariff’s a princely $25,000 a night.

Carlin says he’s already had reps for the Saudi royal family scope out the hotel — ‘‘they’re
going to take the whole hotel for a week’’.

There’ll be 36 surveillance cameras and, amongst 40 staff, a security chief.

He’s proud to say there’s not one gib board wall — ‘‘every wall is done in marble or timber,
even in the toilets’’.

Bathrooms feature ‘intelligent’ toilets, made in Germany, and little chandeliers by the tubs.

Automation includes lighting that comes on when you get out of bed that’ll even guide
you to the kitchen.

Each suite has its own kitchen that hotel chefs can use to prepare your meal at.

‘My retirement project’: The Carlin CEO Kevin Carlin

However, on the first floor Carlin’s also built a 100-seat, 250sqm dinner ‘showroom’, Oro (‘gold’ in Maori, Italian and Spanish), that’s open to the public, too.

He’ll regularly stage dinner shows including music, comedy and fundraisers that’ll be beamed on five 98-inch TV screens so everyone gets up close viewing, and 26 speakers
and six subwoofers so the sound’s even throughout.

‘‘There’s nowhere to go at night for the mature audience in this town,’’ he says.

Oro will specialise in fresh seafood, some of which will be flown in from Australia and the North Island.

Fine dining: The Carlin includes a 100-seat dinner ‘showroom’, dubbed Oro

And if there’s a vacant suite, Carlin says restaurant-goers could also take one over for just an extra $80 housekeeping fee.

On the ground floor is a carpark he likens to a Mercedes showroom for seven cars, while valets will park others in a nearby 50-park warehouse.

Despite Covid, Carlin’s not worried about occupancy.

High-end travellers will be the first to travel, he says — he’s even got a private jet service to bring them in.

But he also thinks locals, starved of overseas travel, will be tempted by a night’s or weekend’s ‘staycation’.

‘‘Wouldn’t you try that six-star hotel to see how good it is?’’

scoop@scene.co.nz