Geothermally-heated seats, native timber and volcanic rock have been architecturally incorporated into the upgrade of a newly refurbished modern café for Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa.
The redevelopment of the visitor café at the popular geothermal bathing complex is part of a $1 million project that includes a new health and wellness-focused juice bar and outdoor courtyard.
Polynesian Spa chief executive Gert Taljaard says the innovative design complements the heritage of the building which is registered with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and dates back to the 1930s.
“All of the materials used in the café have a story to tell about this wonderful geothermal environment and the rich history of Polynesian Spa,” Taljaard says.
“We’ve incorporated plenty of seating options with banquette seating, communal and group table settings, bar leaners, as well as lounge areas and countertops with USB charging points for visitors to use.”
The concrete bench seating in the outdoor courtyard is heated using the geothermal water supply and the full height glass doors can slide wide open on sunny days.
Wingate Architects say they were inspired by Rotorua’s natural beauty, nearby lake and history of the Polynesian Spa when designing the new space.
“Rotorua has a wild charm to it and we chose a lot of hand-made natural materials that reflected this so the imperfections and irregularities can be celebrated,” explained David Wingate.
“You’ll see mossy green hand-glazed tiles on the servery and a flax green hand-applied decorative plaster finish on the walls. Sustainably-sourced rimu was used for all of the furniture and South Island bluestone for the table tops. All of the floor tiles were hand-made in New Zealand by artisans Terrazzo & Stoneworks who helped us source local aggregates like volcanic rock and river stone to create a blend that is completely unique and relevant to the Polynesian Spa.”
Wingate also wanted the café to mirror the beautiful lakefront pools and greenery created by landscape architect Chris Stone over the past 30 years. “We wanted the inside to reflect this and enable a seamless transition from the pools to the cafe that keeps guests feeling calm, relaxed and energised.”
In addition to the new physical surrounds, the café’s food and beverage selection has also been revamped. Rotorua’s own Volcanic Hills Winery and Croucher Brewing will be showcased, along with craft beers from the Garage Project.
The new juice bar will serve delicious fruit smoothies and a range of healthy juices including Vitality (spirulina, ginger, orange), Detox (carrot, orange, cranberry juice) and Refresh (apple, orange, lemon, ginger). New Zealand-made gelato will also be served as a post-soak treat.
The café is now up and running with official opening held on November 3rd.
Polynesian Spa chief executive Gert Taljaard says the reinvestment shows the company is committed to providing a world-class immersive experience for locals and visitors. “The Polynesian Spa has always been a major tourist drawcard in Rotorua and we’re proud to have created yet another reason for people to come here to relax and unwind.”
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