Case Study: Bavarian Motel

It has been a busy six and a half years for John Horn and Annabel Mounsey and their two boys since they took over as owner-operators of the Bavarian Motel, Invercargill in October 2002.

The Bavarian Motel is situated in North Road, Invercargill, the first motel from Queenstown and Te Anau and halfway along the famous southern scenic route.

The motel was originally built in 1977 with one studio added in 1985. The original units were clean and serviceable but 25 years of minor maintenance had left them in need of serious work.

“The original six units were not able to support a viable business,” said John “Our decision was to use the existing business to provide an income so we could plan and build new units and then renovate the existing ones, once the cash flow was established.”

The couple decided to design and construct six new motel units and completely renovate the five existing 30-year-old units to lift their Qualmark rating from three stars. Renovations are still ongoing and have included replacing all wall linings, including the bathrooms and kitchens and all new electrics, insulation, plumbing and kitchen joinery. Carpets and vinyl were also replaced but the couple retained the existing ceilings with their exposed Oregon timber beams.


They have also employed the latest communications cabling and building infrastructure, for example two data/telephone cables and two TV co-ax cables to each unit and better than minimum code for insulation, wallboard and glazing. The under floor heating added $10,000 to the initial build cost and has proved reliable and economical to run.

John and Annabel have also included large skylights in the bathrooms. The showers are all wet floor style with non-skid vinyl made more elegant with the use of glass wall panels. Improvements were made in water usage with new showerhead design and power savings were gained with new light fittings and energy efficient lamps. The couple also added power points, DVD players and SKY Decoders to all units along with large mirrors, easy to use Internet connections, work and dining tables and comfortable chairs.


All the units are one- or two-bedroom and the architecture of the new units matches the existing. The six new units were completed in 17 working weeks at an approximate cost of $580,000, with the renovations costing $200,000.

The architects were Gordon McMillan and Keith Pyne and John and Annabel used local builders, tradesmen and suppliers.

Has the project provided the required solutions? The owners’ answer is an unequivocal, “Yes.”


Bavarian Motel is now four stars plus and Enviro Silver Qualmark rated.

“Business has increased,” said Annabel. “We’ve enjoyed building new units in the same style but with a very modern interior, as well as refurbishing the existing units. Our renovated units are every bit as ‘new’ as the new units and our guests let us know how much they like them all.”

Want to show-off your refurbishments?
Email [email protected] or call (07) 5440 5322

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