Dunedin’s oldest hotel gets makeover

Dunedin’s oldest hotel gets makeover
Wains Hotel originally opened in 1862 and is a heritage-listed building; the oldest hotel in Dunedin.

Dunedin’s oldest hotel, Wains Hotel Dunedin, is undergoing an impressive transformation into a five-star property, long awaited but as yet unseen in the Dunedin CBD.
Following a multi-million dollar refurbishment, the hotel will be elevated from 3.5 to five-stars, bringing a new standard of service, opulence and luxury to Dunedin.
Work is now underway on the refurbishment of one of the hotel’s two wings, where 28 rooms are being updated with an award-winning design that embraces not only the hotel’s Victorian history, but also Dunedin’s Scottish influence, and the gold rush era of the 1800s.
Room numbers will increase from 48 to 50 queen and king rooms, including eight king split rooms for guests staying alongside friends or family.
The hotel’s Relish Bar & Restaurant is also currently under reconstruction and will reveal a refreshed and unique dining experience.
Restaurant service will be à la minute, with a live cooking station amid the dining tables, an emerging trend for the hospitality industry which provides reassurance and a sense of involvement in the creative process of each dish.
Refurbishment of the hotel’s second wing and public areas will follow, and finally the conference facilities, gym and spa.
Wains Hotel Dunedin’s general manager, Sally Reiber, says the revamped hotel will cater to those looking for the ultimate in a boutique accommodation experience.
Perfectly located within walking distance of the Octagon city centre, shopping and entertainment venues, and the Dunedin business hub, this ‘grand old dame’ – with her quirks, personality, and elegance – will offer beautifully appointed accommodation for corporate and leisure visitors to Dunedin.
“As Dunedin’s oldest hotel, originally opened in 1862 and a heritage-listed building, there are a lot of original features within the hotel that we cannot alter, nor would we wish to,” she says.
“We have a beautifully ornate Victorian façade, and period pieces such as our Chancellor Room which has stained glass windows and an over-sized chandelier.”
In May last year, Wains Hotel Dunedin show-cased a mock-up room to visitors of the TRENZ travel and trade event, featuring the same interior finishes as the new rooms.
The mock-up room is still available to view at Wains Hotel Dunedin and Sally says that it has been a fabulous marketing tool for the revamped hotel.
Wains Hotel Dunedin is part of CPG Hotels, which in 2017 completed a similar refurbishment of the heritage-listed Hotel Grand Windsor in Auckland.
Sally says just like Wains Hotel, the Hotel Grand Windsor upgrade has taken it from 3.5 to five-stars, and the property is now consistently in the top 5% of all Auckland hotels on guest review websites.
“We have created brand new standard operating procedures based on those of our sister hotel,” she says.
“We aim to offer the same level of service with a doorman, valet parking, and porterage for every single guest.
“We really want to perfect those high levels of customer service which were expected in bygone eras of hospitality, and bring them back to Dunedin to stay.”
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