Internationally experienced hotelier, Paul Columbus, has taken up the role of General Manager of the new Novotel Auckland Airport and is currently positioning it for a May 27 take-off.
The hotel will be officially launched by Maori King Tuheitia Paki and Prime Minister John Key in a traditional dawn blessing ceremony.
Paul Columbus brings over 30 years experience in hotel management, including 20 years in New Zealand with Millennium Copthorne Hotels and other groups in a variety of hotels, including a short stint at an Auckland Airport hotel.
He moved to the UK in the early 2000s, before joining Accor in 2003. Paul worked in a number of Novotel hotels in northern England, and was promoted to Area General Manager for Accor responsible for seven hotels in Yorkshire and the north-west of England.
The prospect of opening one of New Zealand's most dynamic new hotels proved too great an incentive for Paul and he returned to Auckland to pilot the launch of Novotel Auckland Airport.
"It is an incredible year to return to New Zealand," said Paul. "After the tragedy of the Christchurch earthquake I think it is incumbent on the rest of the country to ensure that 2011 is remembered for more positive reasons. We have a unique opportunity to showcase the country to the rest of the world during this period.
"The World Cup will be a remarkable event and the launch of Novotel Auckland Airport is going to play an important part in its successful staging. Auckland Airport will now be an even busier gateway for the country and we believe the Novotel will provide an exemplary first and last impression to visitors travelling to New Zealand for the World Cup.
"Obviously its role will go well beyond the World Cup and that's why it has been so cleverly designed with its sophisticated and multi-functional facilities. We will be able to offer everything from deluxe suites to affordable hotel rooms, along with extensive meeting and function venues, and a high-quality restaurant.
"It will be a showcase for local design, with a distinctly green tinge, including our unique 'living wall' that will greet guests as they arrive in the hotel's lobby."
The NZ$65 million Novotel Auckland Airport project is a joint venture between Tainui Group Holdings and Auckland International Airport, with Accor as the hotel operator.
The 263 room hotel has been designed by Warren & Mahoney Architects, and blends 21st century contemporary design and hi-tech features with subtle references to New Zealand culture and heritage,
With the opening of the Novotel – which will be followed by another Accor hotel, Formule 1 Auckland Airport – Accor will extend its New Zealand hotel network to 31 – the largest network in the country.
Rates start from NZ$179 a night, but there is a special 25%-off opening deal till the end of June,
Further information: www.novotel.com