It’s always interesting asking local business operators how they ended up…
Having spent many years working within the tourism sector myself, I have never come across a more dedicated couple such as Max and Robyn. You can feel this as soon as you walk into the Italian inspired Qualmark 5 Star, Palazzo Motor Lodge on Rutherford St, Nelson.
After running eight different hospitality businesses, they have managed Palazzo for two and a half years but have always had a passion for the accommodation sector. Both of them are originally from the North Island, with Max living in Hartford, Connecticut for 12 years, selling insurance for a while. I believe this gave him a strong business background that was easily transferable to managing hospitality or accommodation businesses.
They have changed many aspects and the style of the Palazzo Motor Lodge to suit their own vision “My wife and I decided to refurbish the motel during lockdown in 2020 with new furniture, we repainted and finalised all the interiors of the motel, and this year, we re-painted the inside of all the rooms. Next year, we’re planning on having the exterior painted, so always adding that value”. As with most businesses, it was always about location as Max stated “Our site is in the city and the size of our sixteen room motel, its just got a huge footprint with a lovely present on the road”.
Another aspect of the service they provide besides accommodation is, they have become ambassadors for the whole region. Robyn said, “We spend a lot of time with our customers when they first arrive by providing in-depth knowledge of what to see and do. Which is the best restaurant to suits their needs, or which tourism attractions to visit in the time they have available to them. It is one of the most vital and essential parts of being a motel owner, and it’s almost like being an i-SITE”. Palazzo Motor Lodge has nothing but positive reviews on booking sites, with it being number one on trip Adviser and Booking.com and that’s occurred by providing an entire experience for their customers. They fully understand it’s a people industry and you have to have a lot of passion.
Once Covid has settled down, they would like to return to America, Canada, and Alaska as they had planned to go there just before Covid, but that came to a grinding halt like everything else. When they have free time (as running an accommodation business is very much 24/7), they frequently dine at Harry’s and enjoy shopping at Soul on Hardy St. Max and Robyn do have their own home away from the motel where they spend a lot of time in the garden. Of course, Max designed his own purpose-built man cave with a hundred and twenty-inch TV screen, so American. Interestingly, they both said the motel business could be pretty isolating, so you have to make time for your friends and family, which isn’t hard to do when you have lots of passion for life….and they both have that in abundance.
We’re calling it the “Deserving Competition”. Nominate anyone, including yourself, that you think deserves a break.
The prize includes a 2-night stay for two people at the fabulous Palazzo Motor Lodge, bubbles, in-house continental breakfast and a $50 hospitality voucher to be spent at any Nelson City restaurant, valued at $550.
Explore the virtual tour at Palazzo Motor Lodge