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Oamaru’s Pen-y-bryn given Qualmark of luxury

30 August 2013

Oamaru’s Pen-y-bryn given Qualmark of luxury

Oamaru’s historic Pen-y-bryn Lodge has been named Qualmark’s second ‘New Zealand Luxury Lodge’ in a new quality assurance category launched earlier this year in conjunction with Luxury Lodges of New Zealand.

Pen-y-bryn has joined the ranks of lodges that have earned this distinction through membership of a handful of international luxury hotel groups.

To achieve its latest distinction, Pen-y-bryn Lodge was visited by two Qualmark assessors who spent a night at the property, enjoying the full lodge experience including a gourmet dinner and guest activities.

Built in 1889 for Oamaru businessman John Bulleid, who gave the building its Welsh name meaning ‘On Top of the Hill’, the exclusive property features five ensuite guest rooms overlooking historic Oamaru and the coast.

Co-owner and Pen-y-bryn Lodge host James Glucksman said he and co-owner James Boussy were “delighted” to receive the New Zealand Luxury Lodge Qualmark rating, rewarding them for their commitment to the historic Victorian mansion and the service they offer.

“We’re proud and honoured to have won this distinction, which we feel not only acknowledges the ongoing efforts we’ve made to upgrade the lodge since we took it over in 2010, but also the unique charms of our historic property and of the surrounding township of Oamaru.”

The Qualmark assessors enjoyed the full lodge experience, including a gourmet dinner, a croissant baking class led by James Glucksman, a Chinese tea degustation and a visit to the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony.

The two ‘Jameses’ said they made a point to have the assessors experience activities in and out of the lodge.

“That reflects the fact that we actively encourage all our guests to make the most of their time in Oamaru, which has so many things for visitors to do, while also recognising that many of our guests arrive at Pen-y-bryn and don’t want to leave,” said Mr Boussy.

“We ensured they experienced the comfort and exclusivity of our hilltop location, sampled our excellent menu, and enjoyed activities out of the lodge,” he said.

“When we moved here we immersed ourselves in this community and fell in love with everything it has to offer, and with this in mind we encourage our guests to experience the tranquil charm of the township. Combined with a stay in our historic, warm and welcoming lodge, we feel this is a captivating combination.”

Mr Boussy said the penguin colony visit was a highlight for many guests.

“Pen-y-bryn Lodge recently initiated a new programme with the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony where funds from lodge guests are donated towards the colony’s survival,” he said.

“Guests automatically receive a certificate to show they are a penguin sponsor, complete with photographs and biographical information about ‘their’ penguin, at no additional cost to the guest.”

Since acquiring the lodge Mr Glucksman and Mr Boussy have overseen numerous renovations, the most recent being the installation of heated vintage-style tile floors in the ensuites of two premium rooms, as well as implementing a new phone system that enables guests to call from room to room and to make and receive calls from within their suites.

Mr Boussy said the latest Qualmark assessment saw the lodge join an esteemed and elite list of internationally famous lodges to have also earned this distinction.

Pen-y-bryn Lodge has previously earned a five-star Guest and Hosted Qualmark rating, as well as an Enviro Silver award.

More about Pen-y-bryn Lodge and the Jameses

Pen-y-bryn Lodge is a small luxury hotel offering exclusive Lodge-style accommodation in five elegant and superbly appointed guestrooms with modern en-suite facilities in a hillside location overlooking historic Oamaru with views of sea and mountains.

Pen-y-bryn Lodge was built in 1889 for Oamaru businessman John Bulleid, who gave the building a Welsh name meaning “On Top of the Hill”. Reputedly the largest single-level wooden structure in Australasia, the house retains many of its original furnishings and fittings, giving it a very elegant, yet comfortable, feeling. Converted into a lodge in the mid-1990s, and bearing five Qualmark stars, Pen-y-bryn offers guests a rare combination of authentic Kiwi heritage and modern convenience.

Hosts James Glucksman and James Boussy (aka ‘the Jameses’), purchased Pen-y-bryn in 2010. Born in the United States, they lived and travelled all over the world before deciding to make their home in Oamaru.

Before Pen-y-bryn, James Glucksman had a career in international management consulting and healthcare for more than 20 years, living and working in more than forty countries all over the world. Fluent in Russian and Chinese, and with a very good knowledge of French, Spanish and German (as well as some limited Japanese and Hungarian), James' first love was always fine food and wine. He is a member of the Slow Food movement (the international organisation that promotes local and sustainable foods) and is an Officier Maître Hôtelier (I have since been elevated to Chancelier of the NZ chapter of the Chaîne) in the Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the Paris-based gourmet society, in the Bailliage of Christchurch.

James Boussy was a dentist who practiced in the US state of Virginia for 15 years before moving his practice to Beijing. James is also a highly skilled baker, gardener and home renovator, and has made a name for himself for the exquisite gingerbread houses that he creates every Christmas.

For more information visit: www.penybryn.co.nz.

ENDS

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