Multi-million makeover for airport hotel

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A multi-million dollar top-to-toe makeover of the Hamilton Airport Hotel will deliver a destination restaurant plus 4-star conference and accommodation facilities for the region.

The revamped 62-room hotel will be completed by Christmas under the management of family-owned Jet Park Hotel Hamilton from May 2019. 

Ownership of the hotel will remain with Waikato Regional Airport, which bought the hotel in January 2018 as part of its strategy to grow non-aeronautical revenue streams.

Airport chief executive Mark Morgan acknowledged the role of Bruce Parker and his team who have leased the hotel since the airport bought it. Jet Park, which already operates hotels in both Rotorua and Auckland, had a proven track record in outstanding hotel management and shared the airport’s vision, he said.

“This will not be a budget-style facility. We want a high standard of accommodation with a range of other quality offerings including a restaurant, bar and extensive conferencing facilities at the hotel and terminal. Our growing regional visitor market, along with the increase in flights coming in and out of Hamilton shows the demand is there and growing.”

The existing hotel will remain open during the refurbishment programme which will be project managed by the airport and Jet Park. Jet Park owner Liz Herrmann said the hotel, to be rebranded as part of the Jet Park group, would offer an “exceptional gateway to Hamilton and the Waikato”.

“The location and facility has absolutely enormous potential and we will be refurbishing it from top to bottom. Nothing will be the same. We’ll be starting with bed linen and ending with a brand new commercial kitchen and destination restaurant plus outstanding conferencing facilities,” she said.

“We want to create something really vibrant and take advantage of the beautiful gardens and the wonderful green space which is something you just don’t get everywhere. In that respect, we think there is also potential for weddings and other functions so there is a lot of opportunity on the site.”

As well as a Qualmark 4-star hotel rating, Jet Park would aim to secure silver status for environmental responsibility and sustainable management. The hotel would showcase original New Zealand artwork and Jet Park would look for works from Waikato-based artists, Herrmann said.

“The hotel will be a showcase and gateway to the region, so let’s celebrate that.”

Hamilton & Waikato Tourism chief executive Jason Dawson said Jet Park was an experienced operator he predicted would do “very well” in Waikato.

“Based on what Jet Park has done in Rotorua and Auckland, they will do a great job and the refurbished 4-star hotel will be a very good asset to our tourism sector.”

Morgan said the appointment of Jet Park to operate the hotel would secure the airport’s investment in the facility.  He expected the hotel would strengthen the long-term earnings of the WRAL Group which includes Hamilton Airport, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism and Titanium Park Limited. 

•WRAL is a council-controlled organisation owned by Hamilton City, Otorohanga, Waipā, Waikato and Matamata-Piako District Councils. 

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