The Observatory Hotel will open next week in a landmark for the historic center of the arts
Peter Meecham / Stuff
The Drawing Room has been described as the ‘heart’ of the new Christchurch Arts Center hotel.
The $290 million restoration of the Christchurch Center for the Arts will take a big step forward next week with the opening of a new boutique hotel.
The 33-room Observatory Hotel will open in the historic complex of buildings on May 7.
Arts Center director Philip Aldridge said the hotel, which occupies the historic Biology and Physics buildings on Hereford Street, was unique for its location and design.
“This hotel is of national importance. We don’t know of any other hotel in New Zealand like this.
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Hotel manager Vicki Bretherton said each room was unique.
The largest room, tucked into the rafters of the historic building, costs over $1,000 a night during high season. Smaller rooms are available from $279 in fall and winter. There are 22 king rooms and 11 premium rooms.
“Every bedroom is different,” she said.
“There is no cookie-cutter approach to this building in terms of design and layout. It makes it much more interesting.
Frank Film is handling the gigantic restoration project of the Christchurch Center for the Arts, the largest of its kind in the world. (First published June 2019)
The hotel’s layout was overseen by interior designer Jessica Close, who wanted it to look like a grand historic home.
“Each piece has its own design scheme and its own personality,” she said.
“The design is my modern take on the arts and crafts movement. I have used William Morris prints throughout – a historic nod to the movement and the neo-Gothic buildings in which the hotel sits.
“The Center des arts is an extraordinary place, and it was a privilege and a pleasure to participate in the reinvention of these buildings. »
The public areas feature artwork for sale curated by the Central Art Gallery, with artwork in the rooms curated by The Creators Room.
In the hotel’s ornate drawing room, described as the “heart of the hotel” by Bretherton, paintings by Dick Frizzel and Leigh Martin are on display and available for purchase.
The Arts Center was badly damaged in the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes and has been slowly restored over the past 11 years. The hotel is one of the last buildings to be restored.
The project was funded with $168 million in insurance money, as well as grants and fundraising.