The Rees Hotel Queenstown achieves rare dual Qualmark Gold
Two of the tourism sector’s highest official marks of quality, the ‘Qualmark 5 Star Hotel and Gold Tourism Business Sustainability Award’ have been achieved for the second year running by The Rees Hotel, Luxury Apartments & Lakeside Residences.
It’s the first time the independently owned luxury operator has been assessed across all three of its different accommodation offerings. Situated overlooking Lake Wakatipu, the property has 60 hotel rooms, 90 apartments and 5 brand new private lakeside residences that opened in December 2017.
The Rees is one of only 5 hotels amongst 900 accommodation providers in New Zealand to receive both awards – 5 Star and Gold Sustainability certification, that encompasses the triple bottom line (social, environmental and financial performance). According to Qualmark only ten percent of total Qualmark license holders (1837 internationally ready tourism businesses) have ever received Gold Status.
A year ago the tourism rating system received a rigorous makeover after being considerably upgraded. Back then The Rees was one of only two hotels in the South Island that won the gold seal of approval signifying it met the standard for reaching the most high-quality experience New Zealand has to offer.
After being benchmarked twelve months later for best practice against all other top hotel operators across the country, the Gold Qualmark sustainability award is particularly satisfying for The Rees CEO, Mark Rose.
He believes it’s an “important tool from a very relevant organisation that ensures our New Zealand offerings are world class, safe and sustainable”.
The Rees team he says have consciously focused on being responsible operators through leaving a “light footprint” through many staff-initiated actions that both reduce the impact on the natural environment and preserve it.
“This Gold status underlines our total commitment to our environment, for both our visitors and the generations to follow us – we all need to do whatever we can to protect our pristine country” Rose says.
“Being audited by an independent assessor who is able to compare us with the best hotels across New Zealand is such an important tool. Every day we put a huge amount of effort in to keep The Rees in the best condition with the most up to date offerings and services – so to be officially recognised with a 5 Star rating is terrific” says Rose.
During peak season, while running at high occupancy The Rees was subjected to an on-site assessment and document audit by Amanda Cushen, a Tourism Business Advisor at Qualmark New Zealand.
In her report, she rated The Rees as being at the forefront of the industry leading by example and continuously improving noting “excellent examples of robust systems and procedures in place that are underpinned by documented processes that continue to add value”.
Using an expansive brief, Cushen scored The Rees performance across a wide range of areas such as; operational sustainability practices, cultural interpretation and integration, service standards and product knowledge, team culture, health and safety systems, décor and cleanliness.
“The Rees within the industry are seen as leaders with some outstanding practices in place so every area is evolving, not just one in particular. Excellent systems are embedded within the business like the Optii housekeeping software that has improved efficiency. It’s also an employer of choice with strong team relationships. It is obvious staff are selected very carefully as they all have a very welcoming and friendly manner. Never complacent, they’re always on the lookout to improve as excellence is a journey, not a destination” she says.
A Gold Award recognises the best sustainable tourism businesses in New Zealand, with the delivery of exceptional customer experiences. A Gold Sustainable Award identifies businesses leading the way in making the New Zealand tourism industryaworld class sustainable visitor destination.
The Rees polled hundreds of travellers in March about how important sustainable practices were to them. 65 percent said it was “very important” which matches figures released in a global study by Booking.com showing that 65 percent of travellers seek out green accommodation – nearly double that of last year and forty five percent consider themselves a sustainable traveller.
The top initiatives travellers’ rated in order of preference in the Rees survey were recycling and paperless communications, followed by recycling towels daily. In its Qualmark Award The Rees was recognised for its many environmental and social practices on-site including Bees at The Rees (the hotel’s apiary operation), native tree planting, electric car charging station, waste management and philanthropic social community commitments.
Qualmark was first established in 1997 and is wholly owned by Tourism New Zealand. It is the tourism industry’s official quality assurance organisation for accommodation providers, and an endorsement programme for attractions and leisure activities.
The Rees Hotel Queenstown blends chic five-star accommodation with all the comforts of home and the service and facilities of an elite international hotel. Situated on the absolute lakefront, The Rees’ terraced construction delivers complete privacy and showcases panoramic views overlooking Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables Mountains in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Its landmark restaurant is the True South Dining Room.