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Warner’s Historic Hotel to Be Upgraded

Warner’s Historic Hotel to Be Upgraded as Part of New Novotel Development
Novotel Warners Hotel Christchurch scheduled for 2008 opening

16 November 2007: One of Christchurch’s landmarks – Warner’s Historic Hotel – will be upgraded and extended as part of a new international Novotel hotel development on Cathedral Square in the heart of the city.

The 1863 Warner’s Historic Hotel will be fully preserved in the new development, along with the Irish-themed Bailies Bar.

A new wing will be constructed on the vacant block next to the hotel, which originally was the site of the Liberty Theatre. The new development will effectively restore the hotel’s Cathedral Square frontage to its original style, with the façade of the new four-storey wing designed to replicate the style of the 123 year old Warner’s Hotel. The new wing will house the Novotel’s conference facilities, restaurant, gym, business centre and retail outlets. A new 14-storey building will be built behind the Warners Hotel structure to add 154 new rooms to the existing 23 heritage rooms and suites.

All existing facilities, including rooms and public areas, will be upgraded to complement Novotel’s 4-star international standards. All work on the building will be in keeping with the Warner’s historical architectural design and is being undertaken after extensive consultation with heritage, council and other local authorities.

The hotel will be developed by leading hotel group Accor and its partners, including property investor and developer Gordon Chamberlain's Company Crystal Imports, and is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2008.

The addition of one of the world’s best known 4-star international hotel brands will significantly enhance Christchurch’s tourism infrastructure and help attract greater numbers of domestic and overseas tourists and conference groups to the city, according to Accor Asia Pacific Managing Director, Michael Issenberg.

“Accor has considerable experience operating historic properties in New Zealand and internationally,” Mr Issenberg said.

“We oversaw a similar development in Palmerston North with the addition of a new Novotel hotel building to the historic Carlton Hotel, and in Auckland we operate a Mercure Hotel in Queen Street that was converted from the 1926 Windsor House.

“Internationally, Accor operates some of the world’s most famous historic hotels such as the Grand Mercure Hydro Majestic in Australia’s Blue Mountains, Sofitel Metropole in Hanoi and Sofitel Old Cataract in Egypt and we fully appreciate the importance of heritage in the tourism experience.

“The project will see the Cathedral Square frontage enhanced with the construction of a complementary wing to the existing building, while the new Novotel rooms will be constructed in a contemporary building with the latest Novotel room design and features.

“When completed, the Novotel will offer Christchurch’s pre-eminent 4-star accommodation, dining and function areas, combining 19th century heritage and ambience with 21st century facilities and services. It will be an outstanding addition to Christchurch’s hospitality sector.”

The original hotel dates back to 1863 when it was opened as the Cokers Commercial Rooms. In 1874, William Francis Warner took over the hotel and since then it became known as Warners.

From the 1960s to the 1990s the building was threatened with demolition, but in 2000 the hotel was restored with assistance from the Christchurch City Council’s heritage fund. The ground-floor restaurant and bar were fully renovated and restored with all rooms were renovated with new ensuite bathrooms added.

Novotel Warners Christchurch will join an extensive worldwide network of over 400 Novotel hotels and resorts. When it opens it will join Novotels in Auckland, Rotorua, Hamilton, Wellington and Queenstown, and be part of a network of over 30 Accor hotels in New Zealand.

Accor and Gordon Chamberlain are also involved in developing an Ibis hotel in Christchurch, which will open next year. The 3-star hotel is currently under construction on Hereford Street, just off Cathedral Square. In addition, Accor has a franchise agreement with Hotel Off the Square in Worcester Street.

Accor is the worldwide leader in hotels, tourism and corporate services, employing 160,000 people in 100 countries. . It offers to its individual and corporate clients nearly 40 years of expertise in its two core businesses:
- Hotels: over 4,000 hotels (475,000 rooms) in 90 countries (including 150 hotels and resorts in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific under the brands Sofitel, Grand Mercure, Novotel, Mercure, All Seasons, Ibis and Formule 1) as well as backpacker hostels, conference centres, restaurants and casinos;
- Services to corporate clients and public institutions: 21 million people in 35 countries benefit from Accor Services’ products – employee assistance programs, people care and services, incentive, loyalty programs, events, food vouchers.

ENDS

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