“People still come in today and think this is a new motel. You wouldn’t get that with any other construction.”
– Brian Murray, Lockwood Manor Motel owner
These are the words Brian Murray chooses to describe Lockwood Manor Motel, the Taranaki establishment he has owned since 1983, currently rated in the top 5 hotels in New Plymouth on TripAdvisor with a 4.5 star rating. Offering 12 units with all modern amenities just several hundred metres from New Plymouth’s world-famous coastal walkway, the Lockwood Manor Motel consists of three buildings. Two buildings provide guest accommodation, while the third is the manager’s home.
All are solid wood Lockwood designs, and indeed, the Manor’s name carries purpose: it’s called Lockwood because it is Lockwood.
Over three decades ago when Murray wanted to build a motel on the current site of the Manor, he recognised the advantage of a low-maintenance structure over cheaper alternatives. “In hospitality, maintenance is one of your major ongoing operational costs,” he relates. “So, for me, this was the biggest issue.”
With a clear understanding of the types of construction available on the market, Murray had no hesitation in selecting Lockwood. “The other stuff is GIB, it requires regular repairs and painting, that sort of stuff.” Requirements for regular maintenance activities of this nature carry a dual impact for motel operators: not only does it cost money, it impacts income as rooms undergoing renovations cannot be occupied.
There was a further advantage in the choice of Lockwood. With all components precision-manufactured in Rotorua and then assembled on site, time to completion is reduced. “Paul Jones was involved as the project manager back then and is still with Lockwood, currently the building contractor for Taranaki,” says Murray. “And yes, our buildings did go up quickly.”
He’s already said the rooms at Lockwood Manor are routinely complimented by guests as appearing brand new, and Murray goes into further detail. “Maintenance on the structures themselves over the years has been virtually none,” he points out. “Compare that with just about everything else. The carpets have been replaced maybe five times, the kitchens and showers, at least three times. By contrast, the Lockwood interiors look as good as the day we put them up.”
Clearly fond of his buildings, Murray describes them as ‘good, solid timber buildings that can take all the knocks’. “Lockwood is ideal for the hospitality industry. They are pretty sound-proof, naturally insulated and our customers love them.”
There’s no hesitation about the choice of Lockwood. “We added a new bedroom to the main house and Paul Jones did the job with Lockwood. These buildings have been fantastic and if I were to do it again, Lockwood would be the first choice. No question.”
Finally, why did he name his enterprise Lockwood Manor? “Because they are Lockwood buildings. And that’s part of the experience our guests can expect.”
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