Hotelier Sue Hanning stops in her verbal tracks and asks: “Did I mention Max? He’s an alpha male, highly social and got a big attitude. People mention him on TripAdvisor, he’s quite a legend.”
Max may be a rather large miniature poodle, but there’s no way Sue is going to underplay his role at the Best Western Dunedin, where he is clearly top dog.
Sue and her husband Richard have owned the property for the past 12 years and love living in Dunedin, a pretty city on New Zealand’s east coast.
They moved to Dunedin after spending 35 years in Queenstown, where the couple worked in hotels and ran an American-style diner for a quarter century, so they know the hospitality industry extremely well.
And are clearly good at it, judging by the online reviews.
Sue says Dunedin is becoming increasingly popular, thanks to its heritage architecture, dramatic landscape and vibrant and easily accessible wildlife including rare yellow-eyed penguins, fur seals and the world’s only mainland albatross colony.
“We have the most beautiful architecture in New Zealand,” Sue adds. “Dunedin never succumbed to bulldozing historic buildings and replacing them with glass monstrosities.
“There’s some stunning buildings here: gothic, Flemish renaissance – it’s all going on.”
Another highlight is Olveston Historic Home. The house was gifted to the city of Dunedin in 1966 by Dorothy Theomin, the last remaining member of a prominent Dunedin family.
The Theomins were great travellers and collectors and the property came with furniture and art accumulated over a lifetime.
“We also have a castle,” says Sue, but that’s another story altogether.
She adds, “We’ve been very busy with tourists especially Chinese. They’re generally coming in small family groups, often three generations travelling together: mum, dad, children and grandparents.”
Best Western Dunedin makes a great base with direct access to the Otago Peninsula, one of the region’s main tourist attractions.