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Sofitel Queenstown – First Five-Star Hotel

10 August 2005

Sofitel Queenstown – First Five-Star Hotel for

New Zealand’s Five Star Resort Destination

New Zealand’s first Sofitel hotel, the five-star Sofitel Queenstown, will open in Queenstown on September 1.

The launch of the Sofitel Queenstown will take New Zealand’s premier tourism, conference and incentive destination to new heights, said General Manager Mark Wilkinson.

“As Queenstown’s first 5-star hotel it will help attract more business to New Zealand, particularly in the high-end market, and furnish Queenstown with a wider appeal,” he said.

The Sofitel Queenstown features 70 opulent and stylish deluxe rooms, ten executive suites, two penthouse suites, and two levels of restaurants, bars and boutique retail, all in the finest location in the heart of Queenstown.

Sofitel is the luxury five-star brand of the Accor hotel group, with more than 180 Sofitel hotels and resorts in many of the world’s most desirable locations. The Queenstown opening follows recent launches in Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Fiji.

A highlight of the Sofitel Queenstown will be its signature restaurant ‘Vie’, which overlooks a stunning landscaped garden and tranquil waterfall.

‘Vie’ is the domain of renowned Executive Chef Shane Watson, formerly of Palm Cove’s Sea Temple Resort and Spa in Queensland, and TV star of reality show ‘My Restaurant Rules’.

Shane is promising an exquisite five-star dining experience unlike anything else on offer in the region, showcasing his commitment to seasonal, fresh and ‘clean’ cuisine. It will feature the very best of New Zealand’s regional cuisine and produce, skilfully combined with a delicate touch of French artistry.

Produce including export-quality seafood, organically produced meat, the freshest herbs and a wide range of imported and local cheeses is being sourced extensively from local growers and purveyors. The wine list will feature 120 New Zealand and international wines and champagnes.

Vie’s décor is that of a contemporary French bistro, featuring mirror panels, an ‘aged’ French-style polished plaster feature wall, distinctive artwork, dark parquet flooring and wooden tables, specially-designed banquette seating, and large black Italian crystal chandeliers. Evening dining in the 50-seater restaurant will feature fine linens, distinctive glass candle holders from Spain, and informed, attentive but discreet service.

The large and stylish deluxe hotel rooms, furnished by Auckland-based interior designer Megan Judd with a classic French twist, feature the incomparable Sofitel ‘MyBed’, the first time the award-winning beds have been available in New Zealand.

MyBed ushers in a whole new concept in rest, with a guarantee of plush softness. MyBed marks a return to the past with an eye to the future, resulting in a bed to make grandmothers proud: raised high, immaculate and plumped up with welcoming feathers.

The beds have been created exclusively for Sofitel with an extra-thick box spring base and mattress, a down featherbed between the mattress and the comforter to take softness to another dimension, and ultra-light comforter and pillows filled with a perfectly calculated mix of natural feathers and down.

The rooms are warm and welcoming shades of cream, chocolate and coffee, with European-style draped curtains and a walnut feature wall behind the bed. To ensure guests make the most of the crisp and clear Alpine environment, French doors open out onto ‘Juliet’ balconies, most with views of The Remarkables, the lake and the vibrant resort town.

As the nights draw in, warm possum fur throws invite guests to sink into a curvy armchair with a good book or magazine.

All rooms and suites have sophisticated sound systems, wide-screen plasma televisions in the bedrooms, bathrooms and lounges, and home theatre systems with a choice of CDs and DVDs.

Keeping in touch has never been easier with high speed broadband, wireless LAN and a separate computer dataport in each room, and when the relaxation mood takes over guests can put on a movie, sip coffee made with their own in-room espresso machine or choose a full size bottle of Central Otago Gibbston Valley pinot noir or chardonnay from the bureau bar.

The ultra-large bathrooms feature extensive walnut wood shelving, individually lit makeup mirrors and natural body and skincare products by celebrated French company L’Occitane.

But the undoubted star of the bathrooms is the astonishingly deep double spa bath created by UK design guru Sir Norman Foster.

The Sofitel Queenstown is the first hotel in New Zealand to feature the unique soak bath that is 1800mm long, 470mm deep and takes up to 190 litres of water.

General Manager Mark Wilkinson said he was delighted to open the doors of the eagerly-awaited property.

“Without a doubt this is the most stunning property I have seen in New Zealand or Australia,” he said. “The attention to detail on fitout is second to none.”

Mr Wilkinson said Sofitel Queenstown would set the benchmark for exceptional luxury and service and would change the way Queenstown was perceived in the national and international visitor market.

“Sofitel is a beautiful boutique hotel with a fantastic feeling to it,” he said. “It’s right in the heart of town, it’s elegant and stylish without being over the top, and thanks to the restaurants, bars and boutique retail it’s a real meeting place and has a real buzz of its own.

“Our guests will really pick up on the sense of being very much part of the ‘vibe’ and feel of the town, and we extend a warm welcome to locals and visitors to town to have a look around, to meet friends for a drink or a meal, or browse the stores.

“We have a fantastic and highly-experienced team here in Queenstown that embraces exposure to different experiences and is truly international. We can’t wait to welcome our first guests.”

Meetings, conference and incentive groups can take their pick of the most high tech meeting room in Queenstown. The Sofitel Queenstown boardroom caters for groups of up to 32 and features $70,000-worth of state of the art technology. It is fully automated from a totally portable colour touch-screen controller through to the best quality electric screen money can buy. All technology in the room is totally hidden from view but appears at a touch of a button. This comprehensive conferencing facility can also play movies or music at full quality surround sound, so the room is also perfect for private dinner parties or events.

On the lobby level, tucked away behind a sweeping staircase and water feature and alongside the reception area, the Nue Lounge and champagne bar will be a cosy haven for guests, locals and visitors.

Lighting from French design legend Philippe Starck and Italian lighting company Giorgetti will invite people to curl up in front of an open fire in big curvy velvet-covered armchairs, or relax in comfortable Danske Mobler sofas. A huge leather ottoman and distinctive flooring with limestone slabs and recessed carpets complete the intimate picture.

The Sofitel Queenstown features a fully equipped fitness centre, and an international day spa will open later this year.

The Sofitel Queenstown is offering a special opening 'Taste of the Alps' package which includes accommodation for two in a deluxe room, breakfast in Vie or by room service, airport transfers in the hotel’s deluxe BMW 4WD X3, a complimentary Pinot and Cheese tasting in The Cellar, Sofitel Queenstown’s own wine library, and late checkout until 2pm. The package is priced at NZD355.00 plus GST per room per night. Additional nights rate on request.

For further information or bookings contact Accor Reservation Services on 0800 44 44 22 or call +64 3 450 0045 or email sales@sofitelqueenstown.com

Picture caption: Sofitel Queenstown taking alpine accommodation to new heights.

Throughout the course of the last few years, Sofitel has become a major player in the international upper upscale hotel market, with more than 190 properties that bring a unique French “art de vivre” to prime locations around the world.

Sofitel is now present in all of the major business cities (Paris, New York, London, Washington, Berlin, Tokyo, Chicago, Bangkok), all the leading holiday resorts (Mauritius, Morocco, French West Indies, Indonesia, Brazil) and in key international airports.

In 2005, Sofitel will continue its growth with openings in China, Australia, Fiji Islands, Vietnam, Brazil and Egypt.

With 168,000 people in 140 countries, Accor is the European leader and one of the world's largest groups in travel, tourism and corporate services, with two major international activities:
- hotels: over 4,000 hotels (more than 466,000 rooms) in 92 countries, casinos, travel agencies, and restaurants;
- services to corporate clients and public institutions: 19 million people in 34 countries use a broad range of services (food vouchers, people care and services, incentive, loyalty programs, events) engineered and managed by Accor.

ENDS

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