Creditors of 'beyond five-star' luxury hotel owed millions

Millions of dollars are owed to creditors on the boutique Carlin Hotel, which is in receivership....
Millions of dollars are owed to creditors on the boutique Carlin Hotel, which is in receivership. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The companies behind a luxury Queenstown hotel described as "beyond five-star" owe creditors more than $30 million after making significant trading losses since opening.

The Carlin Hotel was built at a cost of more than $30m by property developer and hospitality expert Kevin Carlin, who died suddenly in December last year aged 69. It opened in April 2022.

A handful of suites in the boutique hotel included rooftop spas and could come with extras such as hot tubs, fire pits and an in-room chef or self-playing grand piano.

In March last year, Mr Carlin, a Californian native, listed The Carlin Hotel building for sale with an asking price of $35m.

In February this year, receivers Diana Matchett and Colin Gower, of BDO Christchurch, were appointed to both Carlin Hotel Property Management (CHPML) — the management company operating the hotel — and Queenstown Views Villas Ltd (QVVL), which owned six units subject to to a management agreement with CHPML.

The receivers said CHPML had sustained significant trading losses and cashflow constraints which had impacted its future viability.

As a result, QVVL was unable to recover amounts from CHMPL under the terms of the management agreement.

Since their appointment, they had considered various receivership strategies. The business continued to operate from the property and the support of key staff, customers and suppliers had been gained to ensure continued trading.

Three units were owned by Pablo (Aust) Pty Ltd — an Australian proprietary company with a Queensland address — which held security over the land, buildings and business for the companies, and which appointed the receivers.

Money due to Pablo, a secured creditor, from CHPML, either directly or through cross guarantees, totalled $12.5 million as at February 26, including accrued interest. The amounts due related to various loan facilities.

Other secured creditors totalled $116,000 which related to creditors with specific security interests on the Personal Property Securities Register and were subject to the receivers’ review and confirmation of validity.

On the receivers’ appointment, outstanding employee preferential claims totalled about $62,000. On February 28, about $28,000 of that was paid to employees for pre-receivership wages for the period ended February 25 in order to maintain hotel operations.

A preferential claim had been received from Inland Revenue for about $317,000. The receivers understood that IRD might further amend their claim against the company once outstanding pre-receivership GST returns had been processed.

Total claims of $2.5m had been received to date from unsecured creditors and the receivers had not accepted or rejected any creditor claims received.

The process of realising the company’s assets was not yet complete and it was too early to determine whether there were likely to be any funds available for unsecured creditors.

The receivers’ report for Queenstown Views Villas said the receivers were realising the company’s business and/or assets through a formal confidential sales process. Assets were listed with a book value of just over $26m.