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Rydges Resort Hunter Valley heralds new era

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The word “excitement” was bandied around a lot at the rebranding of Rydges Resort Hunter Valley this week.

The luxurious Lovedale premises, formerly known as Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, heralded a new era for tourism and entertainment in the region on Monday 22 May, with managers EVT planning to repower the hotel as NSW’s premier destination.

Assisting them in their quest was the unveiling of the Hunter Valley’s first fully-electric passenger train, a tour celebrating local artists and the creation of three self-guided walking trails.

EVT director of hotels and resorts Norman Arundel and Schwartz Family Company director Dr Jerry Schwartz unveil the rebranded Rydges Resort Hunter Valley. Photo: Rod Thompson

Venue owner and Schwartz Family Company (SFC) director Dr Jerry Schwartz welcomed the arrival of Rydges, enthusiastic about the future direction both enterprises were heading in.

“I’m so thrilled to have them and EVT on board,” he said.

“It’s not just about rebranding the hotel, it’s about the rejuvenation of tourism, too.

“So, it is fantastic to work with a partner who wants to bring experiences to the region.

“That’s what I’m all about – experiences.

“One would hope we’d receive assistance from local council with these things, but we don’t.

“It’s up to ourselves to do everything [to promote the Hunter Valley].

“So, I need partners who help push the tourism message.

“This is the opening of a whole new era of bringing ‘experiences’ here.”

Dr Schwartz said Rydges Resort was pivotal to the Hunter Valley’s recalibration away from its former mining background.

“This area’s been a lot about coal and energy in the past,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“But, coal’s almost gone.

“This is our opportunity to encourage growth in the leisure industry.

“I think the Hunter Valley is the best touristic location in NSW… even Australia.

“We’re more than just wine.

“That’s why I’ve invested in other things; introducing facilities for kids, bringing the brewery and distillery into prominence, encouraging sports with the new equestrian arena; and embracing the construction of tennis courts, in addition to food and beverage.

“EVT stands for Entertainment Ventures Travel – so we’re doing that.

“I’m really excited about what lays ahead.”

EVT director of hotels and resorts Norman Arundel and Schwartz Family Company director Dr Jerry Schwartz. Photo: Rod Thompson

EVT director of hotels and resorts Norman Arundel admitted he was looking forward to the continued alliance with SFC.

“We’ve done business with the Schwartz Family Company since 2007,” he said.

“We have jointly collaborated on many hotels.

“However, this particular resort’s the one we’re most excited about.

“The reason for that is because everything EVT stands for and the SFC stands for comes together.

“Our company’s all about great restaurants and bars, so is Jerry.

“He’s focussed on bringing new innovation and pushing tourism in regional areas; we are, too.

“It’s the same in regards to entertainment.

“So, as the fifth SFC property under EVT’s management, the synergy between Jerry’s passion for the Hunter Valley and our operational expertise will deliver a truly unique guest experience.

“The property is a sprawling playground in the heart of wine country and a destination in its own right, with something for everyone.

“So, we’re very excited.

“In fact, we’re quite humbled by the responsibility Jerry’s put on us.”

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