And just like that, Aura is born.

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It seems like a distant memory, sitting in Room 7 of the Havana Motor Lodge, looking out the window waiting for the cars to roll in. They had too. Just one.

They didn’t come in, and for 2 nights we waited, looking at our lonely cars in the car park, pondering if our decision to buy a run down 1960’s motel was a good one.

We’d chucked in Auckland and Hamilton, and moved to Rotorua at short notice, so short in fact we didn’t even get to see some of our closest friend. It would be fair to say, many people didn’t see the opportunity we saw, didn’t see the little gem we did.

Yesterday, as the signs went up sporting our own brand, there was a real sense of both excitement and accomplishment. Just how far we have come from those lonely night at the end of June, sitting in a dark and dingy motel.

We’ve poured so much of our time and energy into this place, and to finally have that feeling of ownership. Something we have created. Something we can be really proud of.

Aura is just that, something that we can proudly share with everyone.

Of course, we didn’t do it alone, we could not have done this without a huge amount of support from our family and friends. Posing in photos, cooking meals, manning the office, sharing their knowledge or hanging art work. Every little bit has helped.

We have also had a huge amount of professional support.

A massive thank-you to all those that have been part of our journey. Glenn at Redspot Creative, he has absolutely killed it with all our branding, website and general design throughout the entire place, plus he has been just a top operator in really clarifying what we are all about. Jo from Glovers Garden Design got our vision then really took over the reins for our garden and has produced an absolute masterpiece. The boys from Decorative Services worked here for one day short of 3 months, judging jobs, weather and steam box lunches to deliver our crisp look. The guys at Luke Gilbert Electrical, braving the Mamaku’s over winter, getting the job done. The team at Dubzz for putting our site in front of the people. Tracey Robinson Photography for her flexibility in waiting to capture each scene in the right light. The team at Cloud IT for eliminating the biggest pain point for our guest in Wi-Fi. Preno, providing such a quality reservation system we had time to do everything else. Sherry and Kate at Advocate Print for getting all our print looking perfect, and Eugene from Super Dooper Signs for producing all our outdoor signage and battling the elements in getting them up on the day.

Thanks to the Artisan for getting our coffee fix by the day, Oppies Takeaways for sorting our last weeks diet, and Terrace Kitchen and Personnel Temp Resources for making yesterday just feel that little bit more special.

It’s been one hell of a journey so far. But now. Back to business. 7 days a week. 365 days a year. Delivering the best experience for each and every one of our guests.