Hamil­ton ho­tel achieves at a gold level

Hamilton Press - - FRONT PAGE - KEL­LEY TANTAU

From city life in Auck­land to liv­ing on a re­mote trop­i­cal is­land, ho­tel man­ager Sarah King’s worldly experiences have paid off.

The for­mer wed­ding plan­ner, cook book au­thor and shop owner has man­aged the Am­bas­sador Ho­tel com­plex in Hamil­ton on Ul­ster St since 2015.

It re­cently achieved the Gold Award for its su­pe­rior hos­pi­tal­ity at the 2016 Choice Ho­tels Asia-Pac Fran­chisee Gold Awards for the sec­ond year in a row.

The ac­co­lade is the re­sult of King’s wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­dus­try, which in­cludes a stretch be­tween 2013-2014, when King and her fam­ily spent two years in Niue, run­ning the Matavai Re­sort and Mo­tel.

‘‘It was ex­tra­or­di­nary. We went over with our four chil­dren, packed up our life into a con­tainer and went to live on a re­mote Pa­cific is­land.

‘‘The sup­ply boat came once every six weeks and we had one weekly plane, and if the plane was full, our or­der just didn’t come. But you didn’t know that un­til the plane landed,’’ she said.

King ad­mit­ted that when they ar­rived back in New Zealand, her fam­ily would wan­der around su­per­mar­kets in awe.

‘‘We’ve taken huge risks,’’ she said. Opened in 2014, the 16 Clar­ion Suites are all eco-friendly and were built en­tirely us­ing lo­cal prod­ucts and ser­vices.

King said to come out tops two years in a row was ‘‘sideswip­ing’’.

‘‘To be win­ning against Aust-

‘‘That's the world of ho­tels, they're con­stant.’’

ralian prop­er­ties was cer­tainly not an­tic­i­pated. That’s what makes it an ex­tra­or­di­nary award for a New Zealand ho­tel to win.’’

To achieve a Gold Award, the ho­tel must be ranked in the top 10 per cent within each Choice Ho­tels brand, and Clar­ion Suites Am­bas­sador is the only Hamil­ton ho­tel to have re­ceived this award.

‘‘I’ve al­ways had a strange ob­ses­sion with air­ports and peo­ple trav­el­ling and how you sort of be­come some­one else when you’re trav­el­ling. I love watch­ing at air­ports, peo­ple come and go and say good­bye and say hello and this is a ver­sion of that in a lot of ways,’’ King said.

‘‘Peo­ple are here for a lot of rea­sons and there’s a sense of fam­ily around it, like they’re com­ing to your home, and that’s some­thing that re­ally ap­peals to me.

‘‘That’s the world of ho­tels, they’re con­stant. It’s peo­ple, com­ing and go­ing, and with that comes in­ter­est­ing sit­u­a­tions be­cause peo­ple are in­ter­est­ing.’’

Gen­eral man­ager Sarah King (front) and (back from left): Lee God­dard, An­nalise Ea­gles and Shazia Bano.

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