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The Parnell Hotel & Conference Centre

  Parnell is Auckland’s oldest suburb, filled with its tree-lined streets, well kept hedges and numerous Art Galleries, bordered by the Domain on one side and the ocean on the other. The Auckland War Memorial Museum and Holy Trinity Cathedral are both landmarks in Parnell and draw thousands every year, but there is another venue in Parnell which draws equally as many people to enjoy the best of Auckland hospitality … welcome to The Parnell Hotel & Conference Centre.
  Founded by Norman Barry as the Barrycourt Motel & Tourists Flats, it originally consisted of a Bed & Breakfast occupying an early 1900’s homestead and adjacent tennis court, where the motel wing was established.
  The 1970s saw a neighbouring apartment block purchased where the property was upgraded into a 101 room hotel, adding in many amenities for guest convenience and for sustainability of the property. The original homestead, now a restaurant, was built up with purpose-built conference facilities added.
  Norman was very active in the hospitality industry and was a founding Director of Qualmark. He saw it important to foster new entrants into the market and provide mentorship.
  When Norman Barry passed away in 2007, he left the ownership of hotel in trust, that it could continue to operate and that it could keep ‘doing good’ in the community. The Norman Barry Foundation, a registered charitable trust, was established to do this work, the hotel also became a charity in its own right.
  The Directors and Trustees appointed sought to forge a new path ahead for the hotel and, whilst independent at the time, looked at joining a hotel chain in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, which had affected occupancies in hotels across the world. The Trustees decided to join Choice Hotels as a franchisee, which saw the property branded as Quality Hotel Barrycourt.
  An evolving landscape with new hotels coming in the lead up to the 2011 Rugby World Cup meant to remain competitive in the market, the hotel would need to undergo a significant multimillion-dollar renovation. This was one of the most significant projects ever undertaken at the property. Due to the many changes involved, rooms were totally transformed or in some cases reconfigured to better suit the evolving accommodation needs of guests.
  With work completed in 2012, there was a desire by the Directors to brand the property more to the area that it was based in, Parnell, Auckland. Quality Hotel Parnell as guests were already calling it, was decided.
  The boom of visitors to Auckland allowed the hotel to continue to grow and reinvest and more importantly give back to the community.
  Since 2015, more than $2.4 million in donations has been given. Donations ranging from several thousand to several hundred thousand have been given to named charities, medical and research organisations, the largest of which was to the Liggins Institute, part of the University of Auckland. The donations are an extension of Norman Barry’s generosity through his lifetime as he gave to causes important to him.
  One of the latest donations in 2020 was a car to Blind and Low Vision NZ (formerly The Blind Foundation) who are based locally in Parnell. Seeing where the donations do go and the work that can be done because of them, allows the hotel to communicate to guests that their support allowed that good work to happen.
  Delivering comfortable accommodation is one important aspect to the guest experience, value for the guest has always been at the forefront for the hotel. Free parking, seen now as a luxury in Auckland has always been complimentary, the daily national paper, guest Wi-Fi, satellite TV to name a few have been what guests have asked for and what the hotel offered.
  Work on improving a hotel was not an idle exercise and significant projects were still to come, air conditioning in guest rooms, an additional guest elevator, outdoor dining area for the restaurant to name a few. Twenty-five bathroom renovations have been completed to date, signalling the next area of reinvestment by the hotel.
  Whilst being part of a chain brought benefits over the years, the Directors and Trustees looked where they could deliver more value to guests and lessen overheads so more money could be reinvested and be given out in donations. The trustees of the Norman Barry Foundation decided not to renew its franchise agreement and to become an independent hotel. With six months until the exit date there was much to do with new systems to be selected and staff to be trained, new branding and smaller tasks like the ‘Do Not Disturb’ hangers all had to change. The staff worked diligently through this transition getting the new systems operational and working with local partners who could deliver the best service for the hotel.
  On March 5th 2020 the hotel became independent, and is now known as The Parnell Hotel & Conference Centre.
  Centred around its world-class customer service, comfortable accommodation and its charitable status, The Parnell Hotel & Conference Centre looks to stand apart in the Auckland hospitality market, doing more and giving back.
  Whilst not an official motto for the hotel, ‘Doing a world of good’ has been synonymous with the property for some time and epitomises what the hotel is about. The Parnell Hotel & Conference Centre has been welcoming guests from all walks of life for over 50 years and will continue to do so for the next 50.