Making a difference at Whangaparoa
Returning from two decades working in top hotels in Japan and other parts of Asia, Troy Clarry and wife Tomoko were looking forward to a new and exciting challenge, one that would draw on his skills and experience in the hospitality industry.
“We had been overseas for years and I felt it was the right time to return home and start working for ourselves,” Troy says.
That challenge came in the form of buying Whangaparaoa Lodge, a boutique 14-room property, just over the road from Little Manly beach on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.
Troy describes the small thriving community where the lodge is located as a “refreshing, easy-going settlement”, which enjoys a quieter beach life-style than other north-of-Auckland areas.
Whangaparaoa Lodge comprises studio and one-bedroom apartments ranging from comfortable to top of the range, and with a blend of return corporate and local guests and overseas holiday makers the lodge has been set up to cater for all needs.
“We offer a good range of tariffs ranging from $165 per night to $300, with our premium deluxe and executive one-bedroom suite upstairs having private balconies offering wonderful views out to the Hauraki Gulf.”
Troy says that it’s the small touches that make a difference to a guest’s experience and they are often the memories that visitors go away with.
In the case of Whangaparaoa Lodge, all guests are treated as VIP’s receiving a personalised handwritten welcome card and seasonal drink on arrival.
It’s just one of the ways Troy and Tomoko have put a special stamp on the lodge and what it has to offer. “You have to really be a people person to enjoy working in this sector,” says Troy.
“Having a genuine interest in providing guests with the most positive experience that they are wishing for and always striving to improve service are key to being successful.”
The 4½ star Lodge is close to international level golf courses, fantastic locally run restaurants and cafes, walking tracks, and art and craft shops and Troy is happy to share suggestions of good things for guests to do, including visiting the nearby world renowned Tiritiri Matangi Bird Sanctuary.
The lodge also has a small conference room for corporate groups to meet in or as a function area which is fully catered on the same level as a hotel.
Just how well Whangaparoa Lodge is regarded within the industry was recognised at last year’s Hospitality New Zealand annual awards, where it won the Best Motel award and – from a pool of 14 different section ﬁnalists – the Supreme Hospitality Award.
The awards were presented at a glittering ceremony at Hospitality NZ’s annual conference in Wellington, with more than 400 people from the food, beverage and accommodation sectors attending.
“When the Motel Association of New Zealand merged with Hospitality NZ I thought it presented a great opportunity to show-case our lodge and how we went about delivering top service to our guests,” says Troy.
“The process involved justifying why you think you deserved recognition, so it provided a great moment to sit down and reﬂect on what we do and why we do it.” The couple also own another property, the 4½ star Kerikeri Park Lodge on Kerikeri Road in Northland.
The colonial property, which is set in beautiful park-like grounds, offers guests a quiet restful stay and is the perfect location to explore the far North. “We’re bringing all our experiences into Kerikeri linking the two properties together.
“Already we are seeing fantastic results with Kerikeri Park voted the No. 1 property in Kerikeri by Trivago a few months back.”
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