Little lodge the big winner
BEST BUSINESS: Maungatautari Lodge owners Peter and Christine Scoular (and Spot) in the lounge of their award winning business. 198071AD
By Dean Taylor
A ‘little luxury hotel’ bounding Maungatautari Mountain and Lake Karapiro has taken out this year’s Waipa Networks Supreme Business Award.
Maungatautari Lodge is the vision of Peter and Christine Scoular - an Auckland couple who left the city behind for the natural beauty of Waipa. The couple purchased their land on Maungatautari Road some years ago with the lodge in mind. Now open just five years, the award winning business is starting to hit its straps.
The Scoulars have been in the hospitality game for some years, the last 20 running a motel and licensed restaurant in Parnell. Mr Scoular says he knew as an eight-year-old that he wanted to be in the hotel game - back then it was all about glamour and finery.
And that is a little of what Maungatautari Lodge is about. With its three ground level villas and five upstairs apartments, each with stunning rural and lake views, grand dining area and lounge it is a world apart from the norm. The lodge also has a versatile conference room, which can be configured for different numbers and groupings, and also doubles as a television room.
The Scoulars built the villas first, then lived in them while the main lodge was constructed. Using all local designers and contractors, they are rapt with the result. They went with a full gas system for heating, hot water and cooking and say the instant availability and versatility has been a winner.
At present the couple occupy one of the upstairs apartments, so the lodge can cater for seven couples. But plans are afoot to expand.
The Scoulars always had a home design in mind for the section - a design that influenced the lodge - and they plan to eventually build for themselves and also add more villas to increase capacity. They say increased business will actually give them more time to themselves as it would justify employing more staff and release them from acting as hosts and chef.
But its not that the couple aren’t enjoying the experience, and with new marketing from Karine Thomas’ Navigate Oceania working well, the lodge is enjoying a growing reputation with both overseas and New Zealand travellers. The couple say the high dollar has reduced overseas tourism slightly, but Kiwis are also taking to the experience.
The locality makes it central to popular tourist attractions such as Rotorua and Waitomo Caves and it is an easy drive from Auckland and Tauranga where many clients travel from. Corporate clientele is also increasing, especially with the conference facilities, and recently it was chosen as a retreat for Health Journeys NZ - a five day immersion programme for people battling cancer.
But mainly it is the ability of Maungatautari Lodge to provide that complete getaway experience that is proving a winner.
More information on the lodge can be viewed at www.maungatautarilodge.com. Te Awamutu Courier will publish a full list of Waipa Networks Business Awards results on Thursday.