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

French Consular Agency

French Consular Agency Christchurch

Monsieur Olivier Lacoua

Monsieur Olivier Lacoua has been appointed to the role of Honorary French Consul in Christchurch, following the recent retirement of Madame Marshall-Durieux.

The Consular Office is  no longer located within the premises of Le Petit Hotel, 16 Marriner Street, Sumner, Christchurch.

The new French Consular Agency Office is located within the Novotel Hotel at the Christchurch International Airport . The office open hours are between 10am and 12 noon on Friday’s only.  For transport to the Novotel Hotel from the city, the Metro Purple Line bus service is recommended.

For all communications with the new Hon. French Consul, contact is now by way of email : [email protected].

Monsieur Olivier Lacoua and Madame Martine Marshall-Durieux
New Honorary French Consul , Christchurch.
Share this...
Share on Facebook

Life’s Twists and Turns with Covid 19

In a previous post, titled The Changing Face of Hospitality, I never would have considered a future post about Life’s Twists and Turns, and certainly the thought never occurred to me,  that a global pandemic, (Covid 19) would rip the heart out of New Zealand’s finely tuned tourism industry, have us all baled up inside our residences out of fear for an extremely contagious virus, that had spun out of China around November/December 2019. The Government’s lock-up/stay-in /wash  hands strategy for fighting this virus has given us all, loads of time to pause and consider the meaning of life. It’s also shown the global family on planet Earth that despite all the money( phoney stuff included) in the world today, and all the technology that is able to be applied to our environment, a protein coated molecule was capable of totally disrupting everything that humans have come to regard as secure, and all but stop the planet from spinning.

For us here at Le Petit Hotel, Sumner, NZ,  the negative effect on business has been swift , dramatic, and like all the other hospitality operators everywhere on the planet, there is no escape from the fallout of seeing no travellers either domestic or international. The grounding of almost all commercial aircraft has made sure of that, and combined with countries establishing strict quarantining at their borders, life has been changed significantly at least for the medium term.  However, it would be true to say that things won’t be quite like they used to be, following this particular global pandemic. The true scale of the economic fallout for everyone is yet be be revealed.

In all of this, both Martine & I have had Kara , our “newly sighted” Sottish Terrier,  to care for, following her successful cataract operation by Steve Heap here in Christchurch.  To say that dogs can and do become part of the family is an undeniable truism and Kara is doing her bit to keep us both sane during our personal period of Covid 19 isolation in Le Petit Hotel.

Share this...
Share on Facebook

A Scottish Terrier’s Unknown Journey with Cataracts, continued.

Diabetic induced cataracts can happen overnight in some dogs.

Our previous blog page began a story about the unknown journey of our beloved Scottish Terrier – Kara,  who became stricken with blindness caused by large white cataracts.  I tried to imagine what Kara was thinking , now that she could no longer see, and it wasn’t hard for Martine & I to make the decision : we had to try and help her. The omens for success were seen to be good.  Once Kara’s insulin levels had been corrected, following her diabetes diagnosis, she had responded quickly & regained her lost weight, and notwithstanding that she was now fully blind, she showed lots of determination to try and cope. We also knew from experience that Kara had responded well in the past to antibiotics, antibiotics being a critical factor in the success or otherwise of dog eye operations.

And so it was that we delivered Kara into the kind hands of Dr Steve Heap at the Veterinary Practice of McMaster & Heap, on Friday 6th March 2020. It was a long day…I mowed lawns and tried not to worry about our dear “girl” . Later that afternoon, Steve phoned to say that all went relatively well,  one eye was easier to do than the other, but that Kara was out of the anesthesia and responding well…so we then knew that the first hurdle had been crossed.

Later that evening both Martine and I travelled across the city to the veterinary clinic where our reunion with her was one of happiness. Even in her post operation condition, we could detect that she was feeling ok and glad to be back in the company of familar voices. But we had yet to determine the outcome of the operation.

However, as I  write this note – Sunday the 8th, and barely 48 hours since her diabetic induced cataracts were operated on, Kara is beginning to realize that she is no longer totally blind.  Some of her sight is definitely returning and a good indication  this morning came when I suggested to her that we go for a ride in the buggy( a 3 wheeler push chair).  She made a fast walk towards the door leading to the patio where the buggy is stored, and was more than happy to have a ride around the neighbourhood. Our first real concrete sign that her confidence is returning & she is happy, despite her dad religiously placing a variety of drops into her eyes every 4 hours .

10 year old Scottish Terrier post an operation to remove cataracts
Kara , now minus her diabetes induced cataracts

Tomorrow Kara has her 1st Post Operation check.

P.S. Kara is progressing well so far.


Share this...
Share on Facebook

A Scottish Terrier’s Unknown Journey with Cataracts

Here at Le Petit Hotel,  our dearly loved Scottish Terrier Kara ,  in less that 48 hours, undergoes a procedure to remove the cataracts that have blinded her in both eyes…to give her a better than a very good chance of seeing again. This blog page  is about our Scottish Terrier’s unknown journey with cataracts.

To say that it’s an unknown journey also for Martine & Bruce here at Le Petit Hotel, is the understatement of the year . We are having to learn each step as we walk with Kara.

This is when you just learn what the word stoic means…as Kara squats down when she hears the click click of Levenmir Flexpen being readied …and then steels herself for the involuntary flinch that comes when Bruce injects her twice daily dose of insulin to counter her diabetic condition.

With looming on Friday this week , we are in a process now preparing her eyes with a number of meds including antibiotics, a necessity prior to the surgery.

Kara is 10 + years old, and while she has her ups and downs with health over the years, just as we do, the onset of diabetes crept up on her fast, albeit while our vet was looking for evidence of Cushings Disease as a cause for her thirst. But diabetes it was, and one night she went to sleep with normal eyesight, and in the morning she had no sight, just large white cataract saucers in front of her pupils. To say we were devastated is an understatement, particularly as we looked on and saw her doing her very best to negotiate in her new world of seeing nothing, and even more reliant on us both for love and care.

For both Martine & I,  there was no choice other than to do our very best for her, and become part of our Scottish Terrier’s unknown journey with Cataracts.

We have entrusted our beloved into the skilful and experienced hands of  Christchurch based Ophthalmologist – Dr Steve Heap.

Scottish Terrier's unknown journey with Cataracts
Do I have to wear this thing dad?
Share this...
Share on Facebook

Le Petit Hotel’s Unique Selling Proposition(USP)

Travellers looking for accommodation with a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) are currently presented with many different and bewildering options, as presented by AirBnB properties, Bookabach(s), Bachcare rentals , Motels, Hotels, Guest houses, and plain vanilla bed & breakfasts.

All sorts of tricks are being deployed  to attract  travellers to specific accommodations, for example here in Christchurch NZ, we have Black Houses and Black Huts being advertised! And just to complicate things, all of the above travellers’ accommodation options can and are marketed globally on a variety of booking channels, all offering the promise of extraordinary marketing, to the property owners, at the cost of a commission of course.  The attraction of a money making venture for the myriad of promoters of accommodation options having been well established by the huge conglomerates such as, Expedia, and of course not too forget – Trivago.  It’s big money up for grabs and easy money.

However , success depends on the unique benefit exhibited by a company, service, product or brand that enables it to stand out from competitors.

Le Petit Hotel, Sumner has a 14 year history , of its legendary unique selling proposition (USP).  The managers who reside on the property,  apart from providing clean, comfortable, tasteful accommodation, have a global reputation for their outstanding hospitality.  Part of the unique point of difference with Le Petit Hotel  is its friendly blend of French, Irish/Scottish on-site management,  that provides the recipe for a welcoming, relaxing stay by the sea, in a delightful friendly village just 20 minutes from the centre of Christchurch.

But wait, there’s even more to this French Hotel,  guests are treated to a served breakfast in the bistro lounge during their stay, and few can resist the grand Croissants,  fresh baked each morning.

Le Petit Hotel's Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
For breakfast you get the real deal .


Share this...
Share on Facebook

Seasons Greetings from Le Petit Hotel NZ

Dear Guests,

Whether you are intending or past, Martine and I, here at Le Petit Hotel, extend Seasons Greetings to one and all . We sincerely wish you a Happy Christmas. And as the Christmas cards of yesteryear put it, may the New Year, 2020, be a prosperous one for each and every one.

We all need to pause and remember that Seasons Greetings is the time honoured expression of goodwill to all.

There is nothing like operating a hotel, albeit a small one like Le Petit Hotel at Christmas time, to blur the days and weeks in December and January, but we see some of our nicest travellers at this time. Not that they are bearing gifts and riches like The Three Wise Men of Old, but rather they are generally simply carrying the Christmas spirit with them.

Our Christmas this year, for us personally, has been tinged with a little sadness as we continue to look after our hotel’s well known matriarch, Kara- our beloved Scottish Terrier who is currently completely blind from almost instant cataracts in both eyes. We are however carefully weighing up our options to help her, in the New Year. What has been quite emotional for both Martine & I , is the stoic manner in which she has begun to cope with this horrible medical condition. We can learn so much from looking at the loyalty, resilience, and love of a dog towards their owners. We can but just endeavour to return it .

On a business note, Martine  has now retired from the position of Honorary Consul France, as from on the 19th December, 2019, and her place has been taken by Monsieur Olivier Lacoua. The consular permanences of M. Lacoua  will usually take place at the Novotel hotel , Christchurch Airport.

We wish everyone, a safe and happy time.

Kindest regards to all.

Bruce & Martine


Share this...
Share on Facebook

A Scottish reason to stay at Le Petit Hotel Sumner.

A Reason to Stay at Le Petit Hotel

There are many reasons why travellers choose to stay at Le Petit Hotel, in Sumner,  and most of those relate to the genuine discrete French character and feel that Martine, my partner, has successfully imbued into the hotel’s seaside operation.

However, there is a genuine Scottish reason that many of our guests can relate to , and that is the presence of a  true Scottie dog….our beloved Kara who stepped into the big shoes of her kindred predecessor – Maggie,  10 years ago. In fact many of our return customers feel a connection with Kara as much as the hotel itself, its managers, and the French seaside accommodation offering.

But just as we humans have our own life health issues, Scottish Terriers have their share of troubles. It is very common for Scotties( and many other dog breeds) to be afflicted with cancer in one of its many forms, and so for the past couple of years we have been very focussed on her diet and also the use of what has now been globally proven to be a useful medication ( Denamarin) countering some of the by product (effects) of liver cancer.  We can also thank the antibiotic Clavaseptin  which we found to be very effective to dealing with pneumonia symptoms which hit her some months ago.

However , we are currently dealing with a sad development in that Kara is now diabetic and has become blind following the very rapid development of Cararacts in both eyes.  But we are looking at our options to try and help her.

It is at a time like this, I am reminded of the quote attributed to Anatole France: “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

It is just so true.

Share this...
Share on Facebook

The Changing Face of Hospitality

As the owner/operator of a small French Style Hotel providing a fully serviced bed and breakfast hospitality option to travellers, ( in New Zealand) we have seen considerable change in the accommodation environment, since we commenced operations.

Coming from the experience of nearly 15 years in the business here in Sumner, Christchurch, plus our regular sampling of similar hospitality offerings in both Europe and Asia, change is certainly afoot , and we believe largely driven by the global disruption generated by AirBnb.

But it’s not just AirBnB driving the changes. Travellers price and service expectations, their behaviours and attitudes to accommodation options, hosts, and services, are all evolving.  Also driving change within the industry is the behaviour of the historical booking channels most of which have been swallowed up by either or Expedia.  While these 2  global operators contribute to the cash-flows of accommodation businesses large & small, is their insatiable drive to gather more and more cash profit for their conglomerant owners, largely at the expense of the smaller hospitality operators, that is also going to drive change in the industry.  Small operators are being forced to innovate and market themselves directly to travellers.

Certainly , as the hosts of Le Petit Hotel here in Sumner,  New Zealand,  we have seen a wide cross section of global travellers pass through our front doors. In one sense this is the interesting, lifestyle side to small hosting businesses like ourselves.

It’s also an unescapable reality that guests who have become accustomed to, or aligned themselves to  the typical AirBnB walk in walk out – largely carefree attitude to their accommodation choice, are of a different ilk to what were/have been traditional bed & breakfast guests .  Even large chain hotels are not immune to the fallout of the shifting attitudes of travellers,  and in many cases it is leading to higher maintenance costs, eg. stains on carpets etc.

As the shake-out continues between the largely unregulated AirBnB accommodation providers and the more traditional hotel operators – both large and small, there are growing signs that Front office service combined with an effective “personality” differentiator is increasingly the success factor for the latter operators.



Share this...
Share on Facebook

Christchurch 360 Trail, an environmental discovery adventure

Christchurch 360 Trail

The Christchurch 360 Trail offers a unique opportunity for visitors to decode the diverse environment that makes up Christchurch city and its surrounds.

The brain child of Dr Colin Meurk, noted ecologist, and exponent of applied conservation work,  the Christchurch 360 Trail is the culmination of more than 25 years of work by Dr Meurk , translating a concept into a unique experience that highlights what makes Christchurch such a unique place in the South Island, in both a Maori and early European settlers context.

Broken into 8 individual and easily walked trails, the various routes provide a showcase for discovery  of the extensive diversity in ecology, history, culture, and architecture,  that the city has on offer. The average walk being about 7 hours in duration.

The trails also provide a showcase for the diversity of recreational and outdoor activities that Christchurch offers. It’s open season for rock climbers, paragliders and mountain bikers on the hills surrounding the city, while the coastal areas provide for bird watching, surfing and all manner of sailing craft.

Newly created cycle lanes and pedestrian walkways within the city are now increasingly popular with both residents and visitors alike.

However for visitors staying in and around the city, a walk can be selected to suit your particular location. Suggested accommodation options can also be chosen from a list :

Le Petit Hotel , Sumner, is ideally located to cater for walkers who would like to walk both the Godley Cliffs and Estuary Marshes legs of the Christchurch 360 Trail.


Share this...
Share on Facebook

Dog Friendly Hotel

Le Petit Hotel Sumner, Christchurch, couldn’t be anything but dog friendly !  In fact the hotel since its inception back in 2005/2006, has always been the home of a beloved Scottish Terrier.

Currently resident in house is Kara, who will be 10 years this October . Maggie her predecessor was also well known , and before that was Hamish, 

Lately, many Sumner locals will have been surprised to see Martine & Bruce, Le Petit Hotel’s owners, giving Kara a ride in a 3 wheeled buggy.

Sadly we are giving her lots of TLC as she now cannot walk very far. However she absolutely enjoys being “pushed around”.

Dog friendly Le Petit Hotel's beloved Kara
I really like my taxi!


Share this...
Share on Facebook