The new 193-room Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square has opened, offering guests a combination of heritage, contemporary design and local art. The Novotel is located in the centre of the city on Cathedral Square and has incorporated the heritage-listed Warner’s Hotel, originally built in 1863, into the complex.
As part of the development, the Warner’s Hotel was fully restored to its former grandeur, with specialist tradesmen using tools over 100 years old to repair the building’s architraves and re-lay tiles in the foyer.
A new building has been constructed behind the existing hotel, adding 170 rooms to the existing 23 heritage rooms and suites.
General Manager of the Novotel, Zayne Boon, said guests could choose between rooms that had their origins almost 150 years apart.
Boon said that the challenge posed to Christchurch-based architect Richard Dalman, of Dalman Architecture Limited, was to offer a first-rate modern hotel while protecting and celebrating the historical value of the iconic Warner’s Hotel.
Dalman said: “The design features incorporated in the new Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square have been chosen to ensure the contrasts between old and new seem natural, yet appreciated. Modern décor has been mixed with some historic features to provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere while ensuring the functional requirements of a modern central city hotel are met.”
Rather than theme the design to any specific historic period, Richard Dalman says they chose to create a stylish interior that focused on the location – on the edge of Cathedral Square in the Garden City.
Dalan said: “Polished porcelain floor tiles, complemented by timber veneer walls, textured wallpaper and a feature wall, instantly create the feeling of luxury. Behind the reception area is a wall of curving stainless steel over carved flowing panels depicting the Avon River and the braided rivers of the Canterbury Plains.”
A feature of the interior design is the use of local artists to ensure the hotel lives up to its identity as a Canterbury icon.
A grand sweeping staircase leads up to the first floor bar and restaurant, where the area has been divided into a number of spaces by golden sheer drapes, a curving wine display wall, and pivoting timber fin screens. The restaurant has views overlooking Cathedral Square.
The Square restaurant debuts ‘personal dining pods’, which provide solo diners with a discretely designed television screen as well as internet access.
Conferences will be a key focus of the Novotel, with five meeting rooms and a capacity for up to 200 delegates. Recreation facilities include a gym.