Sumner Hotel News Blog

Le Petit Hotel, Sumner, Christchurch, NZ  opened,  and the Sumner Hotel News Blog, went live,  on the 18th December 2005.

Writing on behalf of my partner – Martine,  in The French Company NZ Ltd., we both have enjoyed the journey, especially meeting and making friends with people from all corners of the world.

Christchurch City post the 2011 earthquakes, now has new beginnings with a unique mixture of old and new culture. Sumner also shares some of those.

While the original web site that we started all those years ago served us well, Google now prefers a mobile-smart presentation and our newly refurbished site reflects that shift especially with the introduction of direct on-line bookings.

We wish all travellers who cross the threshold of Le Petit Hotel, a very pleasant stay with us, and safe happy travelling.

Bruce Whitfield

Managing Director

Sumner’s Tram Track Archaeological Discovery

Sumner’s tram track

As work progresses steadily on the upgrade of Sumner’s roading and infrastructure, archaeologists working with the contractors recently uncovered historical evidence of Sumner’s tram track. Some of the original wooden sleepers used to support the tramway which originally linked the suburb to Christchurch Central, were exposed during the road works.  The extremely popular city to seaside tramway initially used horse drawn carriages in the late 1800’s , with the service being upgraded to electric trams in the 1900’s.

Uncovered during road reconstruction, wooden sleepers, that originally supported Sumner's tram track
Well preserved late 1800’s wooden tram line sleepers .
These particular sleepers were discovered  close to the corner of Marriner Street and Burgess Street. On the north western corner of this intersection was one of Sumner’s early Hotels, The Sumner Hotel which still stands today but derelict. 
Sumner Hotel - Geo Vincent's establishment in its prime.
A well dressed gathering outside the old Sumner Hotel.
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Dog Friendly Sumner Hotel Stay

Dog Friendly  Sumner Hotel is located in a community where many of the residents enjoy having a well loved dog in their family.  The  beach, and its esplanade perimeter walkway provide a great place for dog walking.  The coastal walkway currently under construction, will be connected with the Sumner Esplanade. Early morning risers in Sumner will also spot a lot of dogs accompanying their owners on their brisk pre-work exercise runs.

Nearby are several parks with loads of green space, suitable for exercising dogs. Barnett Park in Redcliffs and the Ferrymead Park at Heathcote being favourites for both Sumner, Redcliffs and city dog lovers.

Le Petit Hotel itself is the home of Kara, our 3rd “generational” Scottish Terrier, friendly and gentle with anyone. Hamish and Maggie came before her.

Kara ensures Le Petit Hotel maintains its dog friendly status
Just a couple of months old in this photo, Kara is now almost 10 .

 

 

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Le Petit Hotel, Ford Cars, and the Temuka Connection

Ford cars and the passing of Lee Iacocca…the noted designer of the American Mustang, was at the fore-front of the world automobile news this past week.

It reminded me of the reality that almost 100 years  ago…the USA was  exporting Model T cars in a knocked – down fashion to New Zealand.  My father, Bill Whitfield worked for Hally Motors in Temuka, and Model T’s in wooden boxes were shipped to NZ, some of which eventually ended up in the Temuka Railway Station yard, where a manual crank winch ( see photo) was used to unload the boxes off the railway flat – wagons, for unpacking and assembly by garage staff on the spot.

The photo is interesting for the fact that while the location of Hally Motors ( Corner of King and Wood Streets), was not very far from the railway station, it was clearly seen easier to assemble the Ford Cars right there in the Railway yard, than try and remove the box to the Hally premises.

It’s worth noting, given the current stress about the perceived fairness of global trading, that one of the main issues surrounding trade to & from the USA now , is simply one of the shipping costs, which even allowing for inflation over the years, place America at a disadvantage , compared to say shipping products to and from Asia.

W. Hally Temuka: Agency for Ford Cars
Early 1900’s , a genuine Ford Service Station, Temuka
Ford Cars (Model T's) railway yard assembly
Hally Motors Model T Ford car assembly line
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Winter Blue Skies in Sumner Christchurch

For Sumner Village visitors, Le Petit Hotel guests and suburb residents alike, there is no arguing that the shortest day of the year has past, and despite a few frosts, the weather has been simply amazing.  Daytime temps have reached 15-16 degrees Celcius, paraglider customers and model aircraft enthusiasts have been out in force, using the local Heathcote Ferrymead park as a rendevous point. Dog walkers have also been making the most of the pleasant clear blue sky winter days, either on the beach or in nearby parks.  Many of our guests, blessed with the good weather have headed out for walks to either Taylors Mistake or Godley Heads. However I’m told that things will change soon. It is winter after-all!

Le Petit Hotel manager Martine Marshall is currently in the south of France, enjoying time with family and friends, but in totally different climatic conditions…where daytime temperatures have soared into the 40’s C.

It’s fair to say that our hotel accommodation is known globally and locally for 3 things especially, and those being its french style, the morning fresh croissants, and the resident Scottish Terrier– known as Kara….which is Scottish vernacular for “beloved”.  However Kara is approaching 10 years this October…and her health has had its ups and downs lately.  As you can imagine we are given her a lot of attention at the moment. Frequent visits to the vet are the normal, as are the antibiotics she takes.  However the mild winter so far has been a bonus in that Kara can get to enjoy the sunshine and socialise with other dogs at the Ferrymead Park. 

Meanwhile back outside Le Petit Hotel and in Sumner village,  contractors are working steadily on the new roading surfaces, sorting out drainage issues, and even planting some more trees along Marriner Street and Wakefield Avenue in the village. Hurrah! I’m an unashamed tree-lover.  Sumner is going to look better than ever….in time for the new visitor season which for us starts in September.

Let’s all enjoy our winter whether it’s cold, wet or the blue sky stuff that we have been seeing lately.

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The New Year: 2019, Le Petit Hotel’s approach.

We are all talking about how fast 2018 has disappeared, and how quickly the New Year is appearing, and in the mix has been the discussions on December’s changeable at best, weather.

Certainly some of those farmers growing grain crops are probably very happy and looking forward to a hot & dry January February period now…the rain would have done its magic.   There may be thousands of cows out in the paddocks now, but when at least my ancestors arrived, they seized the moment, and worked 6 days on farms that were predominantly grain producing…particularly in North, South and Mid Canterbury. Yes there were cow farms, but not on the scale we see now, owned by conglomerates. It was also saddening to read a few days ago in the Washington Post that many dairy farmers in the US are essentially being driven off their land by the concentration of and buy-outs of small farm holdings, so what appears to be a global movement, is affecting many many ordinary , you could say middle  income people…not necessarily for the common good, but rather for an increasingly smaller group of already wealthy people. What does the reported Chinese proverb say…”May you live in interesting times” ..maybe not the best times! Certainly none of us can accurately anticipate  what the New Year will bring in terms of ever increasing changes in society, industry and science.

If you are reading this post, you may have noticed our very new mobile/smart phone/tablet compatible format, which we hope meets both Google’s  business system requirements and at the same time makes it easy for travellers to seek us out. Early indications just over a handful of days, suggests that our improved web presence is both productive and a welcome one. I believe that Google has indicated that more than 60% of Web searches at least initiated on small hand held devices now.

Many of our guests will be familiar with the Le Petit Hotel formula and part of that, a very important part,  is the presence of our beloved Scottish Terrier. We have our serious concerns at the moment about her health and we are pouring in the TLC at the moment….however again from a global perspective, the genetic pool for genuine Scottish Terriers is quite depleted, and worldwide many do not live to grand ages, because of their predisposition to the big C. Rest assured we are giving her our very best .

The period between Xmas and the New Year is a strange one from many aspects..and in particular for “Kiwis”,who like birds of a feather, migrate to other parts of the country trying to catch the long hot Sumner in the right place at the right time. So its appropriate that we should at this point wish every one, including our incoming and departing guests a very happy, safe and even prosperous, New Year.

 

 

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Good Vibes within Le Petit Hotel Sumner Christchurch

Good Vibes

We see a large proportion of international guests choosing to stay with us; from Antarctica staff on leave, to very interesting travellers from Norway, Russia, Latvia, & Estonia, to name just a few far distant countries.

And so it was that a few days ago, a couple who spent 2 nights with us as guests, gave us a quick review on-line with 10/10 plus the comment that the place had good vibes. That was a new one for Martine & myself, but we would be the first to acknowledge that there is good karma within the walls of Le Petit Hotel, and our current Scottie dog Kara and her predecessor Maggie , are in part responsible for setting the hospitality standard.

Good Vibes Kara
Just quiet surveillance in the long grass at Ferrymead Park.
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Pinus pinea; Italian Stone Pine trees common to France & Italy

Travellers arriving at Le Petit Hotel can’t help but notice the distinctive juvenile pine trees – Pinus Pinea, on the street frontage.  Our original news item copied below was published on the 4th Nov. 2010.  Still in their formative state, their umbrella type canopy is just beginning to take shape.

Martine & myself recently had some R & R in France during September…one of the best months in respect of the French climate. Some of the time was spent near Plan du la Tour near the Med. coast, http://lepetithotel.wordpress.com/2010/09/11/chasteuil-to-plan-de-la-tour/
and we couldn’t help noticing a tree with an attractive green umbrella like top…commonly called the Parasol Pine…its correct name being Pinus pinea. Clearly this was one tree which could survive not only the hot dry Mediterranean seaside environment but also the cold winter winds. For some time now here at Le Petit Hotel, we have been pondering what species of tree we could plant safely in our own Sumner location where the climate varies from hot summer winds, salt laden sea air, and also our cooler winter temperatures. So it has been a surprise, in the last few days to locate a source of these Pinus specimens here in NZ at a nursery in New Plymouth : http://www.conifers.co.nz/
Needless to say, we are looking forward to trying the species in our own unique NZ climate.
It’s interesting to note that the Pinus Pinea species is the one that produces genuine edible pine nuts, the tree and its nuts having a history of more than 6000 years at least.

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Conversational French tuition: Le Petit Hotel

 Conversational French

A stay in Le Petit Hotel accommodation in Sumner is different to AirBnB or motel stays especially if you are proposing a future trip to France. Why not seize the chance to either gain some Conversational French skills or just practice what you already know.

When you stay at Le Petit Hotel, you have that opportunity especially during le petit déjeuner.

Le Petit Hotel, Sumner is managed by Martine & Bruce. France is Martine’s home country but is a resident here in New Zealand and has been a French language teacher for many years.  Along with her Consular work and translation services, Martine also provides casual tuition in French.

 

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We are back to posting from Le Petit Hotel

Christchurch’s earthquakes have been very serious disruptors ( of life as we all knew it). Seven years on now (2018) and the reminders of what was, and what’s to come, in terms of the rebuild of Christchurch City, still affects us all greatly. Traffic guidance orange road cones have become the norm around the city as infrastructure and roading repairs/changes continue. The addition of cycle ways to the city roading network has created a lot of both positive and negative discussion particularly where the introduction of these dedicated mini cycle lanes has resulted in narrowed roads for both cars and trucks. One can suspect that much of this civil work may have to be undone when self guidance EV cars and buses make their appearance in the next decade . Roading design then will be concentrated on the removal of road lane encumberances such as the jut outs, now common place in the city, and street corners and intersections will also require simplification.

Here in Sumner, by the sea, we have a lot to be thankful for, including a community spirit that is alive and well, good local shopping for the essentials of life, and a view of the Pacific Ocean with a lovely beach to walk on while contemplating the meaning of life!  And then there are Sumner’s dogs, and I would suggest that our village has a lot of caring dog owners in residence who can be seen religiously street walking or beach walking their companions each day.

Of course I couldn’t let this post go by without mentioning that our own much loved Scottie dog…Kara , now about 9 years old, who is still performing her unique mix of meet and greet at the front door, security duties, and general icebreaker and conversation starter as required, in the hotel lounge. Simply put, we would not be without her. Such is the global interest in Scottish Terriers, there is a closed group on FaceBook called “Adopted by Scotties”.

 

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Menu, Gluten free & or Dairy free breakfast option

Menu option for travellers who endure food sensitivities ( sometime serious)  arising from certain ingredients which typically requires them to have gluten free and or dairy free breakfasts.

Le Petit Hotel management are more than happy to make adjustments to the continental fruit /cereal etc plus croissant breakfast to meet these requirements. Simply add your request to your accommodation booking notice.

Being a genuine French Bed & Breakfast, our renown fresh baked croissants are always available each morning, along with genuine french plunger coffee, hot chocolate, or a variety of teas, together with fresh fruit and yogurt. Recently, …made in France – French Brioche has been added to the petit déjeuner.

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