Ho­tel’s last hur­rah

Hamilton News - - OPINION - Jamie Strange Labour List MP

I re­cently had the plea­sure of at­tend­ing the Hamil­ton CBD Awards at the Hamil­ton Ho­tel. It was an op­por­tu­nity to cel­e­brate lo­cal busi­nesses and hon­our the key peo­ple who help our city thrive.

Ear­lier this year, Hamil­ton CBD gen­eral man­ager Vanessa Wil­liams, formed the idea of host­ing the 2018 in­stal­ment at the his­toric Hamil­ton Ho­tel, a build­ing that had been closed for many years.

With the ap­proval of build­ing own­ers the Plaw fam­ily, and the hard work by the team at Fos­ter Main­tain, the build­ing was trans­formed to cre­ate a qual­ity space for 200 guests to min­gle and cel­e­brate to­gether.

Door­men in top hats and tails warmly greeted the guests, and a 1930s band per­formed pe­riod mu­sic. The event was a glam­orous oc­ca­sion, fit­ting for the his­tory of the build­ing.

In 1953, Her Majesty Queen El­iz­a­beth II and the Duke of Ed­in­burgh stayed in the Hamil­ton Ho­tel dur­ing their 1953 Com­mon­wealth Tour.

The 96-year-old her­itage build­ing on Vic­to­ria Street showed some of its for­mer sparkle and glam­our for the awards, be­fore it is set to be re­pur­posed as part of the wider de­vel­op­ment site for the new Waikato Re­gional The­atre.

When Vanessa shared her vi­sion to re­open Hamil­ton Ho­tel for a one-night-only event, I sug­gested we at­tempt to ob­tain a per­sonal let­ter from Queen El­iz­a­beth II.

Af­ter dis­cus­sions with the New Zealand Cab­i­net Of­fice and Buck­ing­ham Palace, Vanessa re­ceived a per­sonal let­ter from the Queen. In the let­ter, Her Majesty noted that and she and the Duke of Ed­in­burgh re­mem­ber their visit to Hamil­ton with fond­ness. She wished the CBD As­so­ci­a­tion all the very best for their evening.

As Vanessa read the let­ter out, jaws dropped, as peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ated that mag­ni­tude of where they were stand­ing and what they were ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.

I am con­stantly im­pressed by the cal­i­bre of busi­nesses in Hamil­ton’s CBD. These awards were a timely re­minder of some of the ex­cit­ing eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity hap­pen­ing in the heart of our city. This night of glam­our and cel­e­bra­tion cer­tainly felt like a fit­ting way to give Hamil­ton Ho­tel the farewell cel­e­bra­tion she de­served.

Photo / Sup­plied

A news­pa­per cut­ting of Queen El­iz­a­beth’s visit to Hamil­ton in 1953.

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