Historic homestead re-opens doors after quake damage fixed

Five month project restores Otahuna.

Last updated 09:43 31/07/2011
Miles Refo (left) and Hall Cannon outside Otahuna Lodge which is reopening after months of fixing earthquake damage.

Miles Refo (left) and Hall Cannon outside Otahuna Lodge which is reopening after months of fixing earthquake damage.

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A little bit of Canterbury luxury is back in action after a major restoration project since the earthquakes that struck the region this year.

A five-month project has just been completed to restore Otahuna Lodge to its full glory, and the luxury venue opens its doors again tomorrow.

The beautiful old homestead has had major strengthening after damage to its walls and ceilings in the February 22 earthquake.

Owners Hall Cannon and Miles Refo are chuffed to be back in business. "We are incredibly thankful for the support we received and we're thrilled to be welcoming our first guests since February," Hall said.

Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter said the region was making good progress in getting tourism beds back into the market, but having the lodge back was special.

"We're delighted that an iconic property like Otahuna is back in operation and ready to welcome luxury travellers to our region. We now have 98% of operators back in action and ready to offer visitors a hearty Canterbury welcome," he said.

He was determined to attract more Australian travellers across the ditch and a marketing campaign was being planned to pitch the South Island's outstanding road trips.

Sir Heaton Rhodes created Otahuna in 1895. It is now among the country's most important privately owned historic estates.

In 2007 Cannon and Refo embarked on a programme to make the mansion one of the world's premier luxury destinations and only a year later British high society magazine Tatler named it one of the world's 101 best hotels.

The Queen Anne-style property has 12-hectare gardens filled with the original oaks Rhodes planted and vast daffodil fields.

It also features seven guest suites, 15 fireplaces, a heated pool, jacuzzi, tennis court, gym and a spa treatment room.

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