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Jucy plans to expand pod-style hotel chain

NZN 16/05/2016 Fiona Rotherham

Tourism business Jucy is considering opening its new pod-style budget hotels in Australia later next year if the New Zealand rollout proves successful.

The first of the pod-style Jucy Snooze hotels will open at Christchurch Airport in November and one in Queenstown next July while another in Auckland is also on the drawing board.

The hotels will contain hundreds of fibreglass and steel bed capsules stacked bunk-style eight to a room, with a communal bathroom and kitchen/lounge areas. Compact en-suite rooms will also be available.

It has operated a budget Jucy Snooze in Auckland since 2010, mainly aimed at its own rental vehicle customers, which has achieved over 85 per cent occupancy. However it doesn't feature the new capsules which measure 1.9 metre long, 1.1 wide, and 1.2 m high with a roll-down blind for privacy.

The pods cost between $35 to $45 per night and can also be rented per hour. They're being made by the company's Auckland manufacturing division, Jucy By Design, which also produces its distinctive green and purple campervans.

It's a concept that has been trialled in China and Japan and the $9 million, 271-bed hotel leased for 15 years from Christchurch Airport will be the first in Australasia. Jucy is paying for the $1 million fit-out.

Jucy was co-founded in 2001 by brothers Tim and Dan Alpe initially as a campervan company with its brand led by the 1950's pin up girl Lucy. It started out with 35 vehicles and now has 3,500 and has grown to a sizeable company by New Zealand standards with multiple interests.

It has since expanded into rental cars, a cruise boat at Milford Sound, coaches, hotels, and a new tourism app, Skoot, developed with Tourism Radio and Spark's app company Putti.

The 256 bed Queenstown hotel will be part of an existing building owned by local property developer Ian Hamilton on a long-term lease. Queenstown has had shortages in tourism accommodation over the peak season.

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