Sofitel Auckland Folds & Enters Liquidation

Accor affiliated hotel in Auckland is facing financial headwinds and has voluntarily entered the liquidation process.

Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, previously Westin, has ceased operations and laid off all 139 employees after receiving N$929K in wage subsidies from the local government.

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Here’s an excerpt from the NZ Herald (access their piece here):

“The Pandey Group recognise that the future landscape for tourist accommodation in New Zealand will be very different. To this end the Pandey Group is planning to reposition the hotel as a more boutique offering in the market place as part of its recently announced strategic review and upgrade of its various hotel assets,” Farry said.

“They have already commenced a multi million dollar renovation of the Sofitel Viaduct with that in mind and with the intention to reopen as soon as practicable.”

Farry said as the liquidation is a voluntary solvent liquidation the directors have advised they do not expect there to be any losses to third party creditors.

According to the Stuff (access their article here):

The hotel building comprises 191 individual unit titles made up of different owners, one of which is a separate company directed by Pandey and Fong.

Here’s a video that I took from the suite I had at the hotel:

Conclusion

Not quite sure what is going on with this hotel? It went into liquidation, yet there are works done at the property to position it to be a more “boutique,” and there should be no losses to third-party creditors.

The building has quite an unusual financial structure as well because it consists of 191 individual units (I guess that one room/suite is one unit).

Hotels in most markets and especially in New Zealand, will be distressed for an extended period. It is unclear when New Zealand will open for international arrivals outside of possible “Pacific Bubble.” I would assume that we may have to wait well until 2021.

I stayed at this hotel for the first time last year and thought that it was ok. Nothing wrong, but nothing exceptional either. For Accor elite members, SO/ Auckland is a much better option.

Let’s see when the Park Hyatt Auckland opens (much delayed) and whether America’s Cup will take place in Auckland in March 2021. We will see many more permanent hotel closures and reflags before this Covid-19 pandemic is behind us.

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