Arts-themed boutique hotel being explored for Arts Centre

The Arts Centre is liaising with six domestic and international hotel operators about operating a potential arts-themed, boutique, 32-room hotel on the site.

None of the hotel operators can be identified for commercial reasons but all have an established New Zealand presence. Following individual visits and briefings at the site, each has expressed an interest in establishing the boutique hotel that will be located in buildings facing Hereford Street, says Arts Centre CEO André Lovatt.

“A Request for Proposal (RFP) process is now underway, however no commitment has been made beyond this preliminary work. If the boutique hotel is to proceed, we expect that discussions and negotiations will commence with the preferred operator in July and a decision will be announced in August,” he says.

“A requirement of the RFP is that art and culture are to be placed at the core of the design and operation of the boutique hotel through commissioning local artists in the design, presentation, curation and storytelling opportunities that it represents.

“This type of artistic engagement will allow the Arts Centre to showcase its work in an alternate setting, beyond its formal exhibition spaces and retail stores.”

The proposed hotel will be located within the former Physics and Biology buildings, and the ground floor of the adjacent Observatory Tower, close to the Chemistry building that is leased by the University of Canterbury’s Classics and Music departments. The remainder of the historic Observatory Tower, including the Townsend Teece Telescope and a new education room, will be fully functional, open to the public and operated separately to the hotel.