The closure of Wellington’s Amora Hotel from next month has not just affected would-be travellers – it has left one couple scrambling to find a new venue for their wedding.
The couple, who did not want to be named, had put down a deposit for the city centre hotel, and the invitations had already been printed.
But the announcement on Wednesday that the hotel will close for about a year from the end of May has thrown their plans into disarray.
A relative posted a comment on Stuff’s story, saying to the hotel and to the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency: “I appreciate that you probably didn’t know you were closing when the booking was taken, but you have no excuse for not contacting clients. And refunding for that matter.”
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The relative said on Friday that the Amora had since been in touch, and general manager Liam Craughwell said it was looking to help all of those affected by the closure.
“We are working with other Wellington hotels, Business Events Wellington and travel management companies to relocate accommodation, conference and event bookings at alternative properties.
“We have secured accommodation at an alternative hotel for the small number of bookings held for the Lions tour,” Craughwell said.
The 192-room Amora Hotel will close its doors on May 27 for refurbishment – which could see it closed for 12 months – exactly a month ahead of the British and Irish Lions match against the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium.
Four days later, the Lions face the All Blacks at the same venue, and accommodation was said to be “near capacity” for the big week, with 20,000 international fans and a similar number of domestic visitors expected.
However, David Perks, venues manager for the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, said the city would cope.
“A lot of the bookings made in the first place are made by the official agents from overseas, who block a huge amount of rooms before selling tickets.
“In some ways those are speculative bookings, which we have to honour until they are confirmed or released.
“In the period since the middle of November, a lot of those bookings would have either been confirmed or released by the official agency, meaning some hotels are completely booked, and others will release rooms. They can then sell those rooms to other people.”
There was no good time to close the hotel, but the Amora had had no choice but to make a call, Hospitality New Zealand regional manager for Wellington Raewyn Tan said.
“A lot of the people booked for the Lions tour would have booked well in advance, and so should have sorted their accommodation by now. Over the winter months demand dipped, so closing the hotel now was better than closing it during summer.
“Amora are a good operator, they know what they’re doing … for them it’s a good call and a brave call as well, to want to do it all in one shot and minimise inconvenience.
“This is really biting the bullet to save inconvenience to patrons.”
She said it would be exciting when the refurbished hotel reopened.