As part of an ongoing commitment to a fresh new look, the Devon Hotel and Conference Centre in New Plymouth recently underwent a total refit from top to bottom.

The restaurant was completely gutted, the ceilings pulled out, the floor ripped up and nearly all of the walls re-lined as part of the four month build period from August until December last year.

“We discovered some interesting decor when the wall linings were pulled away revealing glimpses of wallpaper from the 60s,” general manager Robert Davies said.

The new design features more interactive live cooking, so the buffet areas were redesigned to accommodate this, and new equipment was installed in the live kitchen. All of the old style bain-maries were replaced with modern induction units, and the buffet layout was changed.

“We were keen to retain our food islands for ease of use and to avoid queuing, the idea being that the diners can gravitate to the dishes that most appeal to them.”

Behind the scenes, upgrades included new air conditioning, a fresh air system, and sound system with state-of-the-art audiovisual and new led lighting throughout. Located on Devon Street, the hotel’s new design features more partitions and areas in the aim of creating a more intimate dining experience. Sliding concertina doors on one side of the restaurant were installed to allow private dining from the Marbles Buffet.

Local firm Custom Construction were responsible for the majority of the work, with Future Products Group Ltd (FPG) from Hawke’s Bay responsible for the buffet and live kitchen fit-out.

“Initially, as work got underway we operated using only one side of the restaurant. As construction progressed, we completely relocated the restaurant to our new conference centre and operated temporarily in this area.”

The look has been changed completely, with a design chosen to compliment the rest of the hotel which has undergone a complete refurbishment over the last five years.

“The new look is modern and fresh. We have opted for solid wood tables, as opposed to tablecloths of the previous design.”

The flooring has been replaced with a similar design to the rest of the public areas of the hotel, and new tiles have been laid in the buffet and live kitchen area. The new buffets surfaces incorporate granite, pressed tin and wooden batons. New textured ceilings were also installed, and artworks are all locally commissioned scenes from Fay Looney.

So far, guests love the new look and the improved seating options with various rooms within a room have been a big hit.

“We have had nothing but positive comments from guests. However, the food remains the star of the show and our diners are enjoying the interactive live cooking options where they can choose from the options available on the station and have something created especially for them.”

Davies said the continual refurbish and refresh never stops at Devon.

“With a property this size, we always have a project underway.”