Previously known as Mangapapa Petit Hotel, Mangapapa Hotel in Hawke’s Bay has undergone a $4 million refurbishment encompassing every room on the property, with inspiration drawn from the hotel’s history and the Art Deco Capital, Napier.

The public areas and the outside of the hotel had a facelift with a new front reception area built, new roof and wall colours, an upgrade on windows, insulation, and heating. Every room was gutted and rebuilt, meaning it was a building site for several months. The gardens were also landscaped creating a whole new look for the face of the hotel.

Mangapapa closed for six months over the winter of 2015 to refurbish and officially reopened in November last year. It has since had a very successful season and within only one summer of being reopened Mangapapa won a Trip Advisor Travellers Choice Award for 2016.

Guest relations Emily Atkinson said the biggest challenge of undertaking the refurbishment was having to close the hotel; something they were reluctant to do.
“We have loyal customers and a lot of repeat customers so we didn’t want to disappoint them. We had to make sure the refurbishment was going to be worthwhile and really improve the guests’ stay and impress them with how comfortable and luxurious the refurb was going to be,” she said.

“We aimed high, and I think we achieved that given the guest’s feedback and the interest we have had from across the country.”
For Atkinson, it was really important to support local businesses and local tradies throughout the refurbishment, so local interior designer Jodie Robertson was chosen, as well as local architect Paul Dougan and local build company Gemco.

“They had a great understanding of our historic homestead known famously as Sir James Watties home. They knew we had to be sympathetic to the history and character of the building.”

The main homestead was originally built in 1885, so the owners wanted to keep that character. The original fireplace, stained glass windows and the old wooden staircase have been kept and given a little bit of tender loving care. As Hawke’s Bay is known for its Art Deco Capital, Napier, the suites, in particular, have been inspired by the art deco theme, and this can be seen in the wallpapers used to ordain the walls. A crisp colour palette with lots of greys and blues was used to create tranquility and a sense of peace for guests upon walking into the room.

The owners love red, so red wallpaper and tiling were added to the restaurant in creating a feeling of grandeur and making the rooms romantic at evening.
Atkinson said they couldn’t have asked for better feedback from guests.

“We have a visitor’s book in our reception area, and we ask accommodation guests to fill in customer feedback forms. All of these forms have feedback that has been so valuable to us, and we have had such a great response. Continuous comments on the setting of the hotel, being so picturesque with our beautiful orchards and gardens. But also the fact they don’t want to leave. That’s the ultimate compliment and repeat custom with some people returning the next month!

“It’s awesome, and we are so proud as a team to achieve that. The refurb has definitely improved the level of quality that we offer; we have recently been qualmarked assessed at five stars. The guest experience is our main motivation, ultimately our service and what the hotel feels and looks like for a guest is the most important. I think the refurbishment has meant we have the confidence to compete with international hotel standards but also we are offering something unique in Hawke’s Bay in terms of accommodation. I believe from the feedback we have received that we are achieving that perspective with our guests.”

The choice of interiors was made to ensure they will not date quickly, but the hotel still run audits on the rooms and décor to make sure everything looks fresh and clean. With people coming and going, the hotel is under constant use.

She said it was important for hotel owners to continually refurbish and refresh.

“I don’t think there’s a time when any business can rest on their laurels as that usually means complacency. Improvement is so important.”

“We can only keep moving forward from this beautiful refurbishment.

“We hope we are seen as a gem in Hawke’s Bay for locals and travellers to visit and enjoy, whether it’s a High Tea in our restaurant, a spa day with some friends or a night’s stay in one of our beautiful suites.”