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High-profile developer, owner of six-star boutique hotel, Kevin Carlin dies suddenly

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Prominent Queenstown developer Kevin Carlin has died suddenly. Photo / James Allan

Prominent property developer and owner of a six-star boutique hotel in Queenstown, Kevin Carlin has died suddenly.

The 69-year-old owned The Carlin Boutique Hotel, a $30 million-plus project in Queenstown, in which he lived in a penthouse on top.

Speaking to Metropol magazine in September last year, the Californian native reflected on his difficult childhood, in which he fled from his abusive family home at the age of 17.

A cold, metal park bench was his first home-away-from-home, until offered a tent by a friend’s parents.

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He spent nine months living in the tent, accepting a government grant to attend chef school, and then “upgrading” to a caravan.

The Carlin Boutique Hotel opened in March last year. Photo / James Allan
The Carlin Boutique Hotel opened in March last year. Photo / James Allan

He prepared meals on the road for musicians such as Van Halen, Tom Petty and Olivia Newton John.

In 1980, he built his first mobile kitchen to prepare food on location. This was the beginning of his company, Carlin Manufacturing Inc, which produced mobile kitchens and specialty vehicles for clients in more than 30 countries, including Burger King, McDonalds, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. The company made Carlin’s fortune.

He first visited New Zealand in the early 90s and several holidays later bought land in Queenstown, where he moved.

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“I thought it would be a good place for my children to live. I didn’t like the attitude of people in the US and even back then, it was a pretty violent place. So I’ve never looked back and I’ll never live there again. I’m proud to be a New Zealander now, and my children have Kiwi accents.”

In 2003, Carlin composed 14 orchestral pieces, performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, for an album, The Princess of Wales. It reached number 23 on the New Zealand music charts.

The Carlin Boutique Hotel opened in March last year.



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