By SHELLEY TOPP
From the outside Rangiora’s Charles Upham Retirement Village makes a big impact.
On the inside it resembles a five-star luxury retreat.
Neatly clipped lawns, colourful flower beds, a fountain, bowling green and tidy pathways provide a classy entrance to Ryman Healthcare’s new $120 million village.
The opulent look continues indoors with sumptuous fittings, luxurious furniture, stylish interior design and many special touches including super friendly staff.
In the spacious foyer of the main building there is a tribute to Charles Upham, the war hero the village is named for.
Further along there is a sumptuous restaurant/dining area and lounge complete with baby grand piano, large flat-screen television and interesting art work on the walls.
In the same building there is a gym with state-of the art cross-trainer equipment, activities room and an indoor heated swimming pool.
There is also a billiards room, hair salon, beauty parlour, interview room, chapel, a 16-seat cinema, and a large library complete with big comfy chairs, a huge jigsaw puzzle, and a long table for reading the newspaper on, with a large magnifying glass handy to help with the small print.
There is even a coffee shop with two baristas. Cafe Positano is for the residents and their families, but it is also open to the public.
Named after Positano the beautiful Italian town on the Amalfi Coast, the cafe sells Three Llamas Gourmet coffee, roasted locally in Woodend at the Three Llamas Coffee House and food made in the village’s commercial kitchen.
No expense has been spared to ensure the accommodation and lifestyle at this retirement village is the best that it can be.
“It is all about the residents,” Ryman Healthcare corporate affairs manager David King said.
“We just want them to love living here. If they love living here they will tell their friends.”
The village provides a mix of accommodation including independent townhouse and apartment living, assisted living and serviced apartments, resthome, hospital and dementia care.
Excitement is building around the official open day with a special guest expected.
“We are hoping Dame Malvina Major will sing. She sings at most of our openings,” David said
Although the official opening is not until December 9 more than 100 independent residents already live in the village.
Work on the huge project began last year. At the height of the construction there were 500 workers on site.
The lead-up to the opening is a hectic time for the village manager Rachel Garrard, of Fernside, who has a background in health management in the occupational health and safety sector.
“It’s busy – it’s a bit like Grand Central station. The main thing at the moment is interviewing new staff and building up the team for opening.”
When the village is fully up and running it will be home to more than 400 residents with 120 staff required.
Rachel approached Ryman for a role after hearing managing director Simon Challies speak at a leadership seminar.
“I decided that Ryman was the company I wanted to work for so I approached them. I feel very privileged to work for Ryman and I’m very excited to be part of this amazing village,” she said.