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Trade cl | Month 20 | Summer

Eichardt's Private Hotel


‘How full is the hotel?’ I enquired.
‘Tonight sir? You are the only guest’.
My external reaction was an understanding nod of the head, as if someone had just told me about the way they tend to their rose garden. You see the news came to me right after I had been shown the brandy room, which came after the viewing of my luxury room with bathrobe and slippers. Hotel alone. Brandy. Bathrobe. Slippers... I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

The Pixel Trade took me back into the heart of Queenstown, right on Lake Wakatipu, in a small luxury hotel that goes by the fine name of Eichardt’s. Our focus was to photograph the food that made up Eichardt’s new menu for the hotels bar as well as the bar itself and a few details around the space. Every morning I woke up in this fluffy cloud-of-a-bed and couldn’t help grin from the gin, but more so the lifestyle and diverse scenarios that come from removing money from the equation. ‘Sir’ faded away within the first day and my nickname replaced it, before I knew it this hotel was home.

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Interview with James


Describe your most memorable adventure as a child.

When I was younger the family took a month long road trip around the south Island of NZ, lots of fun times, and as a kid on school holidays my brothers and I used to go and stay with relatives on a farm down the line, adventures in the back paddock for city kids – dogs, duck shooting, driving tractors, chasing cattle etc.

In the time that you’ve managed hotels, what’s the strangest thing you’ve seen?

Working at a 5 star many years back, hosting a global music superstar and family for a week – watching them interact with their family and get told off by their parents was amusing, but having them jam on the house piano after closing with the staff hanging around polishing glassware, awesome.  And then there are the sheiks and entourages…

What is the most challenging thing about managing a hotel?

Managing people – all different walks of life, with different priorities and ethics, and different motivations. Moulding all these variables to deliver a consistent experience to hugely demanding customer base is extremely rewarding.

Are there any secrets the guests don’t know about?

Plenty, we like to keep them that way, you know what they say about magic, its not exciting if you know the trick!

Do you have any hidden talents?

Nothing extraordinary – I do loads of things somewhat well – mostly sports!

Was there a time that you realised you achieved independence?

I left home around 18 yrs, went to study overseas (Australia) and lived in college housing, but leaving Aus to go and work in Bali was cutting the cord.

Tell me of a dangerous time in your life.

I’ve surfed in a few spots I probably shouldn’t have and looking back been lucky to come out in one piece.  Bouncing off the bottom of a reef in Fiji made me think a bit!  I worked at a resort on Mt Ruapehu when it errupted, we never even thought of leaving the area and stayed for another 3 months – looking back that may not have been wise, but loved it.

What is something you haven’t told someone in a long time?

We don’t tell people we are scared, clearly we all are from time to time, right?

Describe your most memorable adventure as an adult.

Adventure is a strong word, but I love to travel and get off the beaten track.  Back country skiing is a passion as well as surfing, which naturally puts you into amazing places and makes you feel like you’re living the dream!

If you had to recommend a favourite music album, what would it be?

I love Pulp’s Different Class – track after track of perfection! we usually associate albums with an era or period though don’t we.  The same goes for Radiohead OK Computer, and introducing non-kiwis to The Exponents!