Christchurch accommodation took a big leap forward in October with the opening of Hotel Montreal on Cranmer Square. Complete with 25 rooms, a three-bedroom penthouse and a tapas bar among its amenities, it is a valuable addition to sophisticated luxury accommodation in the city.
Although not yet officially rated, Hotel Montreal is aimed at the five-star sector, which would make it one of only two five-star hotels in Christchurch, alongside the 53-room The George, as the damaged Millennium closed following the earthquakes. The new arrival was designed with the intention of providing a mix of refined elegance and modern sophistication for visitors to Canterbury.
Its incarnation began when property developer Lilly Cooper bought the old Chateau Blanc apartment hotel site for an undisclosed price and announced she would give it a “massive makeover” to create Hotel Montreal.
“It will be an exquisite fit-out. It’ll be as good as anything international, with a wow factor.”
The property, on the corner of Montreal, Kilmore and Peterborough streets, last sold for $10 million in 2007 to North Island buyers. The complex was damaged in the earthquakes and out of action.
Bruce Garrett, Christchurch Sector hotel chairman for the Tourism Industry Association, welcomed news of the project.
“It’s great to see another new property come on-line just in time for the peak season. As an independent property targeting the high end of the market, Hotel Montreal aligns nicely with two of the five themes of TIA’s Tourism 2025 Planning Framework – Targeting for Value, and Driving Value through Outstanding Visitor Experience,” he said.
Hotel Montreal is ideally located in the heart of Christchurch, just 10-minute walk from Cathedral Square. Guests enjoy free wifi and a fitness centre. All suites have use of an iPad and a balcony with city views.
All air-conditioned suites feature a kitchenette with a minibar and tea and coffee making facilities. They offer indoor/outdoor dining areas and a satellite flat-screen TV. Guests can dine at the onsite bar and restaurant.
Inspired by Argentinian cuisine, the hotel’s Polo Bar delivers a seasonal menu focused on sharing dishes in a relaxing environment, with locally sourced meats, tailor-made cocktails and award winning wines.
The hotel gardens offer a peaceful escape to relax or engage in a friendly game of croquet or petanque.
Hotel Montreal has been developed with the corporate traveller in mind. Streamlined check-in systems, complimentary high-speed wifi, an iPad in every room, fresh breakfast options, healthy in-room menu, a hassle free wake up service, car parking, private airport transfers on request and 24 hour access to the exclusive gym.
Altogether, Hotel Montreal is a significant addition to Canterbury accommodation and has been described by some of the first guests as a ‘thoughtfully orchestrated blend of design, art, food and wine in a remarkable boutique setting.’
Lilly Cooper’s previous makeover projects include The Colombo shopping centre in Sydenham, which she still owns and runs with members of her family, as well as the former Winnie Bagoes, Civic, and Kent House buildings in the central city.
Guest select proving popular
Although it has numerous amenities for guests, both business and recreational travellers also like to relax by having a wide choice of television programmes in the evenings, hence the decision to install SKY TV’s guest select.
General manager Lucy Gain said this meant that all the television sets would be on their own decoder.
“We have up to two TVs in each room so everyone can watch their own channels. We wanted no limitations to our guest experience.”
She has no regrets. “It’s working extremely well, especially for families. It means the parents can set the children up with the shows they want to watch but don’t have to sacrifice their own choice of program.”
“Having guest select really enhances our guests’ experience. It is so easy to use, it’s just like being at home. Often our guests can hardly wait to get to their room and relax.”
She is also complimentary about the assistance from SKY. “It’s an excellent service. They recommend the best options, supply us with the best people and get onto things straight away. Their communication is fantastic.”