CHATHAM ISLANDS HOTEL EXPANDS

The Chatham Islands largest accommodation provider, Hotel Chatham, has new developments on the way. Hotel Chatham was built in the 1860s on the Chatham’s main settlement, Waitangi. For the last 25 years, the historic site has been owned and operated by the Croon family.

Two years ago, Toni Croon, purchased more land and invested $100,000 in designing the developments with KVA Architects.

“The exterior envelope references typical rural building forms but is refined to produce a more contemporary aesthetic,” said Warren Burton of KVA Architects. “The building has been carefully configured to allow easy construction on its remote location and suit the needs of both the traveller and the owner for the years to come.”

As both the owner and project manager of the build, Croon currently employs 27 people at the hotel. For a settlement with a total population of about 600 people, the hotel is already one of the area’s biggest employers. Giving back to the local community is important to Croon, who plans to employ more locals and involve residents in the site’s construction and operations. Chatham Islands landowners will receive concessions and with more guests coming in, local businesses will attract more customers.

“Tourism is a growing industry on the Chatham Islands and at present, there is not enough accommodation on the island,” said Francesca Bonventre of Hotel Chatham.

Forget-me-not flowers grow all over the Chatham Islands.

The new developments will be called the Waitangi Bay Forget Me Not Suites, taking the name from the Forget-me-not plants, which grow all over the Chatham Islands. It will include 18 self-contained five-star rooms as well as a restaurant and other facilities.

The new Waitangi Bay Forget Me Not Suites will run in conjunction with the existing hotel.

“In the end, we think an extra 18 rooms suits the Chathams as it is a unique place and we don’t want the Chathams to lose its uniqueness by making the build too big.”

The heart of the building is known as the ‘Te Ao’ area and it will host the lounge, bar area, reception and offices. The namesake is taken from Toni’s grandmother who left Toni shares of five arches of Maori land that are the base of the family’s fortune on the Chatham Islands.

Designed with Chatham Islands’ unique weather conditions in mind, the building will have a high level of insulation making it energy efficient. Keeping energy expenses down in the Chatham Islands is vital to combat the area’s pricey electricity, fuel and utilities costs.

“High ceilings and full height glazing link the interior with the outside. A high level of thermal performance and the use of energy efficient electrical services have been integrated into the design,” Burton said.

The building’s exterior will feature steel clotting, which is designed to be durable and perform well in the island’s harsh weather conditions.

The suites are all self-contained, made-up of ecological materials and have high-level acoustic performance control, making the living interior comfortable for guests in every room.

The project will cost an estimated $2 million and is aiming to be completed by 2019.