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Hotel Armitage invests to bring business to the Bay
Hotel Armitage invests to bring business to the Bay

Tauranga’s Hotel Armitage has revamped and renovated its conference centre in a bid to “bring business to the Bay”, said Nicolas Caffardo, Prime Hotels Group General Manager.

More than $200,000 has been spent upgrading the hotel’s two large conference facilities to include the latest technology and refresh its interior in keeping with the hotel’s character.

The extensive conference facility renovations include new audio-visual technology, projectors, screens, lighting, rooms divider, carpet, ceiling, blinds and fresh paintwork. The walkways and access to the conference facilities will be renovated later in 2021.

“Our vision is for Hotel Armitage and Conference Centre to be the preferred business events venue and accommodation provider in Tauranga. We are passionate about the business community and know that is our specialty,” said Caffardo.

Tourism Bay of Plenty Chief Executive, Kristin Dunne, acknowledged the efforts of Hotel Armitage to entice business to Tauranga.

“Business events are a valuable sector for the region’s tourism industry. Conferences are typically held in off-peak and shoulder seasons and during weekdays – all quieter periods for the tourism industry during which we are working to increase visitation,” said Dunne.

The Willow Street hotel has also completed renovations to 90 percent of its guest accommodation, the restaurant, the pool and surrounds, and back-of-house areas such as the kitchen and laundry. 

Currently underway is the renovation of its porte cochère including the exterior entranceway and door canopy.

Caffardo said, “We are excited to see the new balustrading installed in the coming weeks. We’re really going to focus on modernising the exterior this year.”

Caffardo and his team have planned for the lobby, corridors and other common areas to be renovated this year using the same team of renowned local and Auckland-based architects and designers to ensure cohesiveness throughout the property.

“Our long-term plan is to extend the footprint and open the hotel up to Willow Street through a new bar and restaurant. We are working closely with Tauranga City Council to activate that part of Willow Street and we hope to obtain resource consent as soon as possible this year. We want Tauranga to feel welcomed into the hotel and add vitality into the CBD and northern end of Willow Street,” said Caffardo.

“We have been amazed by the support and feedback from Tauranga during our renovations. We are so often being told that locals “just didn’t know” how lovely the hotel is. Some remember the previous hotel name ‘Willow Park’ and cannot wait to see its renaissance! They have all spread the word and we’ve had people come from far and wide.”

“Once renovated, we’ll rebrand the hotel and tell everyone to come and experience what will look like a brand-new hotel in Tauranga,” said Caffardo.

Dunne said that she is excited by the ongoing renovations.

“Hotel Armitage and Conference Centre is attracting business delegates to Tauranga and bringing liveliness to Tauranga’s CBD. I’m delighted to see the exciting updates and encourage locals to head into the hotel to see them for yourselves – you’ll be impressed,” said Dunne.

“We’re supporting this sector through additional development and marketing to bolster the tourism industry post-COVID-19 and smooth the seasonality of tourism in the Bay.”

The hotel is owned by Prime Hotels, under its umbrella organisation Prime Property Group. The well-established Wellington Property Developers are expanding into Hotels Ownership in Tauranga. Prime Hotels owns the Mercure Wellington Central City, the Mercure Wellington Abel Tasman and the Duke of Wellington in the capital city, as well as Beachside Resort in Whitianga and several other hotels and motels throughout the country.

Caffardo said, “Prime Property Group saw the potential in the superbly located hotel from the start and always planned to bring it back to life through extensive renovations.”

Prime Hotels Group took ownership of Hotel Armitage in 2016, bringing Caffardo and his fiancée onboard due to their extensive hotel management experience.