New Zealand’s largest independently owned and operated hotel group, Scenic Hotel Group welcomes a return to Level 2 in what it hopes will signal a restart to its tourism and hospitality business.

Managing Director Brendan Taylor says, “While it will be a gradual restart and unfortunately does not come without COVID-19 associated talent casualties, it is nonetheless a start back to business and it is with a sense of relief and cautious excitement that we can begin the process of welcoming back our valued guests and staff.”

It is no secret that New Zealand’s tourism sector has been among the hardest hit during the global COVID-19 crisis and like much of the tourism industry, Scenic Hotel Group has also relied heavily on key international markets for business. This has meant that some of the hardest decisions in the group’s 40-year history that have seen employee reductions both in hotel and support staff. Taylor says, “It has been really tough as many of our staff have been with the Group for over a decade. Our people are at the heart of everything we do, but without making these hard decisions now, we would not have been able to sure up the future of the group and the many employees who we can continue on this journey with.”

Over the past weeks Scenic Hotel Group has been involved in a robust consultative process with all staff across all aspects of its operations where everyone has had a voice and the opportunity to contribute to our future. The result is that the majority of Scenic Hotel Group’s properties are scheduled to reopen from Level 2 with some rationalisation of capacity in centres where there are two properties or where there is a seasonal pattern of hibernation over the winter months.

The first to open will be;

  • Airedale Boutique Suites (formerly Scenic Hotel Auckland in CBD)
  • Heartland Hotel Auckland Airport
  • Heartland Ambassador Hotel Hamilton
  • Scenic Hotel Te Pania, Napier
  • Scenic Hotel Marlborough
  • Scenic Hotel Southern Cross, Dunedin
  • Heartland Hotel Croydon, Gore
  • Heartland Hotel Queenstown
  • Scenic Suites Queenstown
  • Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier
  • Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
  • Heartland Hotel Haast

These hotels will be followed in early July with the planned re-opening of Heartland Hotel Cotswold followed later in September with Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands. The popular Paihia property will however be open for groups and special events prior to this time and is encouraging groups and special occasions to consider the opportunity to ‘Book their own Bubble’ in the Scenic Bay of Islands.

The West Coast of the South Island traditionally goes into hibernation over the winter months, and for the five-star eco-luxe Te Waonui Forest Retreat this will be extended until the 2021 season along with Heartland Hotel Glacier Country and Scenic Hotel Dunedin City which will also be placed in hibernation until 2021 unless demand enables an earlier opening. Guests to these regions will be well accommodated at sister Scenic properties within close proximity.

In preparation for a domestic restart, Scenic Hotel Group has embarked on a company- wide programme to further enhance cleaning and protective hygiene across all aspects of the business for both staff and guests. For this, Scenic Hotel Group has been working with leading global hygiene company, EcoLab to deliver solutions to its hotels. These include both practical solutions as well as the implementation of some high tech enhancements utilising UV and steam cleaning processes. As part of the hotel’s commitment to guest safety and comfort, Brendan points out that no hotels were used during the COVID-19 lockdown for Government managed quarantine facilities.

For now, Scenic Hotel Group looks forward to welcoming guests where they can and in sating the appetite of Kiwis keen to explore their own backyard and enjoy great Kiwi hospitality with a New Zealand owned and operated hotel group serving many of the country’s most scenic destinations.