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Great Business Great People - The Vista Motor Lodge

Vista 1 lr23264

Despite Cyclone Gabrielle shutting down the Vista Motor Lodge and restaurant for most of 2023 – the business is back and better than ever.

As a result of the cyclone, the Bridge Street motel, set on the banks of the Wairoa River, had 21 of the 29 units flooded, including the four-bedroom lodge. Flood waters also went through the restaurant, service areas, office and the home of lease owners Anne and John McDonald.

“2023 was about getting back on our feet and literally involved one job after the other, setting goals as we went. We were walking through sludge, but we just had to dig in and fix it,” says Anne, who vividly recalls when the flooding began, and guests had to be evacuated as the flood waters rose to hip height.

The couple has leased the Vista for the past six years, and their focus has been to build back better. Units are now repainted and recarpeted, with new beds, linen, fittings, and air conditioning.

“Our rooms were already spacious, and now we have been able to modernise them with each room having a different theme right through to the music room.”

Anne says that while the rebuild has been exhausting, it has also been exciting to provide the best they can for their guests. “We have colour themes running through the rooms and have worked to make each unit as comfortable as possible while keeping them affordable.”

The flooding of the Café Kitchen Bar restaurant was devastating as the McDonalds had just finished doing it up. “That was really disappointing, so we have now refurbished it again, lightening, brightening and modernising and decked the kitchen out with stainless steel fittings.”

The restaurant is a key part of the operation, providing daily in-room breakfasts for guests and in-room evening meals on Mondays and Tuesdays. The restaurant is open to everyone from Wednesday to Saturday from 5.30pm, with bookings recommended.

The Kiwi-fare is a popular go-to and ranges from popular à la carte meal choices of bbq ribs, surfs up meats down prawns over steak and chicken Diane. The smorgasbord catering is ideal for functions and family get-togethers, and group lunch bookings and catering are available on request.

Anne has also made a point of revamping the grounds with new colourful gardens created out of silt, outdoor seating with new wrought iron furniture and a barbecue area planned.

Anne said their goal was to get the business open again in time for the start of the 2023 summer season. The restaurant was back open by December 1, and the accommodation shortly after, with a few finishing touches ongoing. “We are excited about what we have been able to achieve. It has been an opportunity to reset and help boost our town by providing revamped, comfortable, clean accommodation and a tasty dining experience.”

06 838 8279

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6 May 2024

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