Duke of Marlborough completes multi-million dollar refurbishment

Amy Horsfield Amy Horsfield Uploaded 10 December 2018

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New Zealand: The Northland hotel completed a $12 million revamp and opened a new wing at the Duke of Marlborough in Russell.

A nine-year, $12 million revamp of an Northland hotel was finally completed on Saturday when Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters opened a new wing at the Duke of Marlborough in Russell.

The final stage of the upgrade included a 13-room accommodation wing bringing the total to 38, conference facilities, garden bar, gym, offices, staff accommodation and extra parking.

The current owners bought the historic hotel in 2010 when it employed six staff. It now employs more than 100, a number expected to grow now the hotel has sufficient rooms and the facilities to host conferences.

With conferences expected to take place year-round, the expansion would allow the Duke to reduce its reliance on seasonal workers and hire more permanent staff.

Co-owner Riki Kinnaird said the hotel had previously turned away about 40 group bookings a year because it couldn't provide enough accommodation or meeting areas.

Kinnaird said the upgrade would bring more tourism business to the Bay of Islands over the shoulder and low seasons.

The revamp of the exterior has been done sympathetically to the building's history and location by working with architect Salmond Reed, Heritage New Zealand and local residents.

Kinnaird said: "The Duke had been unloved for a long time and wasn't even roofed properly. The reason it's taken so long to complete the renovation and expansion work is because we were determined to do this grand old lady justice. We wanted to make the local community proud of the result and we wanted to make the old girl future-proof, she deserved that. Everyone seems to be happy that The Duke is back to her former glory and that the new wing has replaced the old rubbish shed facing York St. We're proud of what the team has done."

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