The Ohtel Story
Ohtel was designed and built by architect Alan Blundell. After a trip to visit New York in September 2000, he was inspired to create a baby ‘design hotel’. In April 2006 Alan discovered a small villa on a steep 162 sqm site near the waterfront, and after negotiating to purchase the property, he set about designing the 10 room, 4 storey structure. It took just over a year to document, obtain consents and finance for the work. The process was a 12 month project and presented its own unique set of challenges; the tiny site, excavation and anchoring the cliff face to maximise the footprint, and the complex precast concrete work used in construction. During the build, there were a lot of decisions to be made in terms of style, fittings and finishes, and of course ways in which the final building would minimise it's carbon footprint.
One thing that remained consistent throughout the project was the choice of furniture and art work. Alan coincidently came across a pair of original 60’s silk upholstered casual seats at a second hand shop in Nelson, and began a 3 year habit of lurking in antique, second-hand shops and surfing the internet in search of high-quality mid-century designs to fill the rooms and lobby. He also added choice pieces of contemporary New Zealand art and ceramics to ensure the hotel had a distinctive kiwi flavour.
In March 2008, the doors opened. In 2017 Alan sold the business, and Ohtel is now run and managed by New Zealand based Village Accomodation Group.