The Ascot Park Hotel in Invercargill recently finished refurbishing their restaurant Emberz as part of a planned staged upgrade for the hotel. Spanning 17 acres the 40-year-old hotel has differing wings, Classic, Deluxe Wing and Apartment. The Classic rooms are the first being refurbished and during the process, executive manager Bryan Townley said they are managing customer expectations well by marketing the hotel in a very transparent manner. "The Hotel has a Qualmark 4 star rating, however, our room types are clearly identified. Our website and online booking engines all have good pictures and descriptions of each room type," Townley said.

The Emberz restaurant was designed by Lynn Gray Interior Design. All the furniture, carpet, paint, paper and fixtures were on site before the builders arrived and was completed in just under four weeks. The goal for the restaurant's new look was to create a functional space that offered good utilisation of the area available in order to maximise dining numbers. "We also wanted to provide a haven for the diner. That when you walk into Emberz, you feel that you are in a totally different environment from the rest of the hotel which makes the area more of a destination rather than an extension of the business," said Townley. He also stated that fortunately there were no hurdles and everything was seamless, on time and on budget.

A highlight of the process so far has been working with Lynn Gray and the tradespeople. "The process was well planned and organised, and the disruption to our diners was minimal," he added. The finished product is exactly what they set out to achieve and has been well-received by customers and the restaurant team love working in their new environment.

The next step for the Ascot Park Hotel is upgrading their 53 'Classic' hotel rooms which is divided into two wings. They are starting with setting up a prototype room and from here they can analyse the overall design, functionality and practicality before they go into full refurbishment mode. These 53 rooms have a cathedral style ceilings, which Townley is now considering squaring off. Otherwise, the room structure will remain the same. Ferryway Mattress Company supplies the Imperial Luxury beds paired with a polyester and wool blend pillow top. Locally-owned McCullum's Laundry provides all linen. The bathrooms will be re-tiled and will feature new updated fixtures.

“I believe the refurbished ‘Classic Rooms’ will provide a new level of comfort for our guests, offering modern surrounds which will lift the overall standard of the entire Hotel. No doubt some guests will still have a room type preference, which they do now, however the classic wings will be as equally appointed as the rest of the Hotel,” Townley explained.