It was an exciting moment when the new Ramada Queenstown Central hotel was recently unveiled, the building’s design managing to further accentuate the beauty of this alpine paradise.
This unique property pays homage to the growth and strength of the huge Wellingtonia tree that commands the site. The tree is a distinctive Queenstown landmark that the developers and designers have revered.
Elevated, Ramada Queenstown Central presents spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range and is yet another impressive accommodation offering from Safari Group.
The boutique hotel contains 131 guest rooms, two residential penthouses, and an independent restaurant that is integrated with the ground floor lobby, and it sits perfectly within the natural alpine environment.
Damien Taylor, a director with developers the Safari Group of companies, confirmed that the building had to be designed around the impressive Wellingtonia tree and its complex root system.
Describing the design, Damien said: “The inspiration was to create a clear base, middle and top to the building form. The base two levels, which include schist and rectangular-shaped windows framed with plaster, draw reference from local historic buildings and help to reflect key design values of the area. While the top-level draws inspiration from the surrounding lake.”
The key central location of the property and the complexities that came with designing around the tree made this development quite a challenge. Nevertheless, Damien says the project “has been like a dream come true, constructed in just over 12 months, and completely sold out prior to completion”.
Greg Ewen is the very proud general manager of Ramada Queenstown Central, and he told us guests and staff love the hotel – but for different reasons.
He said: “Guest feedback confirms that a combination of prime location along with comfortable rooms, spectacular views and fantastic in-room features ensures this property stands out.
“For those who seek the ultimate Queenstown luxury and position, we also offer Penthouse 416, arguably the best room available in Queenstown right now. One look conveys just how special this penthouse is – simply stunning!
“On the other hand, staff enjoy coming to work because of the praise and positive feedback from guests who are over-the-moon with their hotel experience. After all, happy guests make for happy staff! Our very busy team also really appreciate the significant investment in systems and technology within this property and the housekeeping team are especially happy that their request for more storage was listened to.”
He added: “A really functional property with plenty of usable space has been developed, one that many other hotel operators would be envious of.”
GM Greg is inspired by a need to create an exceptional team who will deliver a service to guests that is “second to none”. His career began 34 years ago, and he has worked in a variety of world class hotels from Auckland to Melbourne and Seattle.
He stated: “I trained in a five-star environment which helped me understand that, irrespective of the property’s star rating, you can always deliver five-star service. My mantra for all new staff is that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. So, for our guests entering Ramada Queenstown Central the priority is for us to create a memorable sense of arrival that sets the tone for the rest of their stay.”
Greg also takes immense pride in the fact that his wife, Pauline Ewen, jointly shares the position of GM with him. He explained: “Together we have opened both Ramada Remarkables Park and now Ramada Queenstown Central.
“As general managers, we were brought in a couple of months prior to the opening date with an extensive ‘to-do’ list, one that naturally comes with opening a hotel and making it a successful operation.
“I believe it takes a special team to deal with the types of pressures that come with that, but there is also a huge sense of achievement from working as a couple in the role of GM of Ramada’s flagship property in New Zealand.”
As for Greg’s favourite feature of Ramada Queenstown Central?
“Of course, it is the magnificent Wellingtonia tree that stands tall at the front our hotel, also known as a Sequoiadendron Giganteum or Redwood tree, one of the largest individual trees in the world,” he said.
“I don’t know of another hotel anywhere in the world that has been built in such harmony alongside a tree of such magnificent stature.”