Wellesley Boutique Hotel: rugby, fashion, politics and me
Isn’t it funny how things happen: in Wellington for nearly two years, I had never heard of The Wellesley Boutique Hotel when in less than ten days I find myself attending three events there – rugby, fashion, and a soiree.
At the first, I was invited by Peter Cullen (The Employment Law Firm) to breakfast to hear the great Hugo Porta (legendary Argentinian No.1 fly half ) speak along with the All Blacks coach Steve Hanson, and Los Pumas former player and now coach, Santiago Phelan, talking before the 2012 Rugby Championship match in Wellington, New Zealand. I enjoyed hearing all of them talk and especially, Hugo talking of the charity he runs – he is in the New Zealand Rugby Hall of Fame.
A week later, also by invitation to breakfast from Peter Cullen, I was there to hear Dame Suzie Moncrieff talk about WOW, the World of Wearable Art, due to start only days later. I have not been to a show, yet, but have been to its Gallery in Nelson – I have also seen the touring exhibition when it was showing in Christchurch – at the museum – recently.
Dame Suzie, the founder of the World of Wearable Art (WOW) show, has made an outstanding contribution locally, nationally and internationally in the arts scene.
Once described as “Mardi Gras meets Haute Couture at a Peter Gabriel concert directed by Salvador Dali,” WOW twists conventional perceptions of art and fashion. WOW creates a world where art and the human form combine, and where dance, music and lighting blur the lines of fashion and art.
WOW is proudly a New Zealand event, but the extravaganza attracts thousands of visitors and dozens of entries from all over the world each year. Now in its 24th year, this year has been a big year for Dame Suzie:
- She has been made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to the arts in the New Years Honours;
- She was a finalist in the Kiwibank New Zealander of the year;
- She took WOW to Hong Kong for its first public show overseas where it played to sold out audiences.
She was an inspirational speaker.
The following day I was back at The Wellesley Boutique Hotel for a celebration of their hotels in the greater Wellington region, and which is now part of the Heritage Boutique Collection, a division of Heritage Hotel Management.
As someone new to Wellington it was good to meet travel industry people from the Martinborough and Wairarapa areas – they have convinced me I need to head over the hill for a few days to explore the region – and it’s great that summers coming!
I’m told the “Heritage Boutique Collection Hotels are designed for corporate, leisure and the conference traveller, and offer guests a certainty when selecting boutique accommodation because of our high and exacting standards” said Ronnie Ronalde, General Manager of Heritage Boutique Collection.
The Wellesley is a four-story Georgian Revival building (seems it won an architectural gold medal in 1932) that sits solidly on a quiet corner in the CBD – perfect for any guest to Wellington – handy to everything in this great walking city.
I haven’t eaten at the Wellesley’s Maginnity Restaurant – once I have I’ll let you know about it!
So there you go – never heard of a place and suddenly I’m a regular –and I’m back there later in October to hear the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key.