Accor hotel reopenings help revitalize Christchurch

Lobby at the Novotel in Christchurch
Lobby at the Novotel in Christchurch

Accor announced on Wednesday plans to open two of its four hotels in Christchurch, New Zealand, which were closed following the earthquake in February 2011.

Hotel Ibis Christchurch is the first hotel scheduled to re-open with a target date of September 2012. Novotel Christchurch will follow with a planned re-opening date of April 2013.

Decisions on the future of Accor’s two All Seasons hotels in Christchurch are still pending as access, particularly to the Cashel Street property, has been severely restricted by ongoing demolition work in the area.

“When we re-open the Ibis and Novotel hotels they will be effectively new hotels,” said Regional Manager Zayne Boon. “Both of the hotels were relatively new — the Ibis was built in 2007 and the Novotel 2010 — so they were built to very exacting standards, and their structures received only minor damage during the earthquakes. The main problems were internal and required a complete re-fit of both hotels, so when they re-open they will have a very fresh and new feel to them.”

Boon added, “The heritage Warners Hotel wing of the Novotel had to be demolished, but the new part of the hotel survived the impact of the earthquake very well, despite being located right in the heart of Cathedral Square. There is a critical shortage of accommodation in Christchurch, and the re-opening of these hotels will allow significant progress to be made in reviving Christchurch’s commercial and tourist fortunes. It will also provide employment and will help support the wider revival of Christchurch’s central business district.

“There are already encouraging signs, with permanent and temporary shopping precincts opening and more businesses returning to the city center, but the city really needs the confidence boost of major international hotels re-opening to cater for domestic and overseas visitors. It will really help accelerate the re-vitalization process.

“We are fully committed to the revitalizing of Christchurch and believe that developments over the next 12 months will send a very positive signal to the rest of the world that the city is ready to welcome tourists back.”