Cordis Auckland’s Our Land is Alive bar bucks the trend of Covid hospitality closures

While scores of hospitality venues have closed in the past 12 months,Cordis Auckland hotel is opening a new restaurant and bar.

The Cordis’ “Our land is Alive” has been developed within the existing building’s footprint and opens out to the main entrance of the hotel, which is on track to be New Zealand’s biggest by room count.

Managing director of Cordis Auckland Franz Mascarenhas said the exclusively Kiwi offering was not seen elsewhere in the bar scene and the hotel remained optimistic about the hospitality sector in the long term.

“This is the basis of our continuance with investments that will see us open our new bar this weekend and our new Pinnacle Tower this October,” he said.

“At a time when we are focused on domestic business only, we thought it appropriate to launch the new bar as we know our guests and locals alike will support what is ultimately a celebration of New Zealand.”

The Restaurant Association says hospitality is under severe strain, with more than 120 businesses among 2500 members closing their doors due to Covid-19.

Mascarenhas said the new tower was unlikely to have high occupancy initially, but there would be demand from corporate travellers for the new suites, meeting rooms and club lounge that will have panoramic views of the harbour and central city.

“This doesn’t mean we are not concerned by business conditions over the immediate future, as we anticipate a slow recovery and a long road to returning to pre-Covid conditions,” he said.

The hotel, part of the Langham group, has not been part of the Government’s quarantine scheme.

It will continue to market domestically and in Australia when a transtasman bubble is open, and overseas as signs emerge that more borders will open early next year.

“There is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel,” said Mascarenhas. “We are optimistic that once the world has seen the last of the long Covid tail, New Zealand will benefit from a surge in arrivals as a consequence of past suppressed demand.”

Mascarenhas said the lockdowns had been devastating for tourism and hospitality businesses.

The Government offer of wage subsidies for lockdown periods that exceed seven days, “sadly does not take into account the huge loss through forward business cancellations that businesses have to bear for periods well in excess of the lockdown itself.”

He called on the Government to contemplate specific Industry support that reaches all tourism operators.

“One form could be the provision of a longer period of wage subsidy for tourism businesses while international borders are closed, given that even in our so-called summer peak months, businesses are finding it hard to break even, thanks to high fixed costs that go beyond just payroll.”

Mascarenhas said councils and the Government must no impose any new taxes or rates on tourism businesses for the foreseeable future.

“It is very much in the interests of the Government to support the recovery of Tourism given its strong contribution to the health of the overall economy.”

The Cordis’ new bar is made of locally sourced materials including recycled kauri, and has a Kiwi-inspired food and beverage menu using New Zealand ingredients.

There are about 60 New Zealand sourced spirits at the venue.

A Restaurant Association survey in February found that nearly 70 per cent of members were reporting lower revenue than in the same month last year and average monthly revenue was down by a third.

“We are now seeing the fallout from a year of doing it tough, with businesses closing and people losing their livelihoods,” said association chief executive Marisa Bidois.

“We need our Government to come to the table and show some kindness towards those industries most hard hit by the pandemic. The Government needs to step up and ensure that our industry is not overlooked when allocating relief.”

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