Oamaru’s Poshtel has earned an international award within two years of opening.
The former Stringer and Co building on the corner of Thames and Eden Sts was converted by property developer and director Phillip McNicholl into luxury accommodation comprising 15 double bedrooms plus a lounge, art gallery and manager’s apartment. It opened in January 2019.
Now, it has been named a Travellers’ Choice Winner by Tripadvisor, which said that put it “in the top 10% of hotels worldwide”.
“Each year, we comb through reviews, ratings, and saves from travellers everywhere and use that info to award the very best,” Tripadvisor said.
The award takes pride of place on the counter in the Thames St reception area.
New managers Shelley and Aidan McGonigle, who have been there for six weeks, said the credit was due to their predecessors Lindsay and Dalaine Walker and to Mr McNicholl’s wife Jacqui, who filled in for a few months before the McGonigles’ arrival.
Mr McGonigle hails from County Tyrone in Ireland.
He came to New Zealand in 1981 to be the chef at the THC Waitangi hotel in the Bay of Islands.
Mrs McGonigle grew up nearby – her mother was the owner of the famed Duke of Marlborough Hotel on the Russell foreshore.
The couple have worked together in the hospitality sector in Ireland and England for the past 13 years, Mrs McGonigle in management and Mr McGonigle as a chef. They returned to this country in January.
They have fallen for Oamaru, which they already knew because Mrs McGonigle’s cousin lived here.
“We love architecture,” Mrs McGonigle said.
They intend to buy a house in town.
Mr McGonigle no longer wanted to work as a chef, but was providing a light continental breakfast at the Poshtel as a thank-you to guests who booked directly with them.
They are enjoying welcoming people to the Poshtel, where they appreciate the attention to detail that went into its fit-out.
“It has a good feeling,” Mrs McGonigle said.
Business had been going well, she said.
“August was a good month. But we missed the Aucklanders; they’re important part of the market.”
There were lots of bookings being made for the near future, including by people cycling the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail.