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Heritage Auckland celebrates 100 years

April 17, 2014 Hotel News No Comments Email Email

Farmers BuildingHeritage Auckland’s iconic Hobson Street building turns 100 years old this month, and to celebrate is launching a special 100-year accommodation package and Mother’s Day High Tea.

On Mother’s Day, Sunday 11th May, the Heritage Auckland is recreating a High Tea in the roof-top Grand Tearoom, originally installed in 1930. Grand Tearoom

The room will be presented as it was in its heyday with individual tables for families of all ages and friends to share together. Guests can immerse themselves in another era and come along in a chic hat to win a prize on the day.

The delicious tea includes a glass of bubbles on arrival, tea presented in silver teapots with fine china, tea stand presented treats and a centennial shopping bag with a selection of gifts and souvenir items including a commemorative teaspoon.

The tea is NZ$75 per person and NZ$45 for children under 14 years. Children three years and under are free.

unnamed (3)The Heritage Auckland is also offering a special 100-year leisure package which for $269 includes one night’s accommodation with a complimentary upgrade to a Deluxe Suite, the Heritage High Tea for two with a free glass of sparkling wine, a full breakfast for two, 500MB of WiFi, complimentary parking and a late checkout of 12pm. The 100-year package is valid from May through to September 2014.

The Hobson Street building was originally commissioned as a catalogue sales Hectorwarehouse for a company called Laidlaw Leeds.

When the business owner, Robert Laidlaw, was called up to WW1 he sold the company to the Farmers Union Trading Company, but was soon asked back as general manager of what was to become ‘Farmers,’ one of the largest stores in New Zealand.

In 1930, a bold deco building façade was installed and a stunning roof top tearoom, now the hotel’s ChristmasGrand Tearoom. The room boasts an ornate vaulted ceiling and tinkling water fountain that has provided a delightful dining back drop for decades.

Also in the 1930s Hector ‘the parrot’, actually a sulphur crested cockatoo (and a female), was gifted to the store by an old lady who could no longer care for the bird. Hector became a popular figure and there were many ‘Hector’s sales’ run in the bird’s honour. The cockatoo’s memory continues in the hotel’s Hector’s restaurant, located in a seven-storey atrium, once the location of the store’s escalators.

In 1934 Robert Laidlaw created the city’s biggest Christmas parade event which still runs today. He continued to be part of the management of the store until his death in 1971. Robert Laidlaw and his management team are immortalised in the names of the Heritage Auckland’s many conference rooms.

The Hobson St store closed in late 1992 followed by an ambitious transformation into the Heritage Auckland Hotel, opened in July 1998. Alongside its modern hotel facilities, the building retained many of its early features.  Polished wooden floors, exposed beams, and timber pillars all point to the building’s hard-working pedigree.

Dining ladies old style

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