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Our journey

The Scenic Hotel Group was born from a love of New Zealand. A true passion for the country, its landscapes and its people.

In 1980, visionaries and founders of the group, Earl Hagaman and Ralph Brown visited New Zealand for the first time.  They fell under the spell of the magical beauty of the country, and in 1981 purchased their first hotel on the West Coast. The then 48-room Graham Motor Inn, to this day stands as one of the iconic “hero” locations of the group, the 130-room Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier.

After the acquisition of five properties around the South Island, Scenic Circle Hotels was created, and the next 15 years saw some incredible growth, as well as market challenges for the company. After Ralph Brown tragically passed away in 1995, Earl decided to continue with their mission. Together with wife Lani, Earl took the company to new heights and by 2009 they held 18 properties across New Zealand.

Always looking ahead, in 2009 Scenic Circle was divided into two distinct brands, opening up new market segments, and setting confidence in guest expectations. Heartland, aimed within a 3 star level offered an authentic, local flavour with affordable pricing, while the Scenic catered to a more discerning leisure and corporate travel at the 4 star mark. Both these brands still sit underneath the new parent company, Scenic Hotel Group.

That same year saw the construction and opening of Te Waonui Forest Retreat, a life-long dream for Earl and Lani. Since then, the group also expanded into the South Pacific, opening a resort on the rocky atoll of Niue. Sadly, in 2017, Earl Hagaman passed away. His legacy, vision and dream for the Scenic Hotel Group lives on and the group continues to thrive, under the direction of Lani Hagaman. With plans for expansion, both nationally and internationally, the group continues to reach for the stars and so in 2019 the Legacy Collection was created, a brand intended to house the group’s individual premium properties that each have their own story and legacy to share.

The Scenic Hotel Group is now New Zealand’s largest locally owned and operated hotel group, setting high standards of service, environmental and corporate responsibility, and leadership in the tourism industry.


1981

After visiting New Zealand in 1980, Earl Hagaman and Ralph Brown bought the first hotel on the West Coast.

1984

Whalers Inn, Picton is purchased.

1985

Southern Cross Hotel Dunedin and Glacier Country Hotel Fox Glacier are acquired.

1986

Lakeland Hotel, Queenstown is purchased.

Scenic Circle Hotels company is created and listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange.

1987

Stock market crash – Scenic Circle Hotels moves back to private holdings.

1995

Ralph Brown passes away two days after winning the World International Jet Boat Championships in Canada.

2009

With 18 properties nationwide, Scenic Circle Hotels becomes Scenic Hotel Group, developing the Heartland and Scenic brands.

Construction and opening of Te Waonui Forest Retreat in Franz Josef.

2014

Scenic Matavai Resort Niue opens.

2017

Earl Hagaman passes away, leaving a strong vision and desire for the group to continue its success.

2019

The Legacy Collection brand is launched to house the Scenic Hotel Group premium properties.

2020

The full refurbished Airedale Boutique Suites are launched to the world, only two weeks later New Zealand’s borders closed, and the country went into lockdown due to COVID-19. The group consolidated, hibernating two properties, and implemented stringent guest and staff safety protocols for all properties across the group, along with new technology and systems to position the group well into the future.

Current Day

Scenic Hotel Group continues to stay kiwi, with commitment to taking care of its people and place to ensure future generations have a beautiful safe destination to visit in years to come.

 
 
 

Our Collection

Need help with reservations?

Enquiries 0800 NZ OWNED (69 69 63)

International +64 3 357 1919

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