This stunning place has quite a history. This morning we took a trip out to nearby Russell and after exploring the town we decided to have lunch here at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel. This is the back of the building situated along the main road near the shops.
This is the front entrance of the hotel and it faces the waterfront named "The Strand". The sign outside says "Refreshing rascals and reprobates since 1827".
According to the hotel's website the information on here says: It began it's life as Johnny Johnston's Grog Shop (liquor store). The owner Johnny was an ex convict who turned his life around and learned the local Maori language. The interior at first glance looks extremely well maintained but I'm thinking under that 1970's carpet that I recognize as being similar to what my mother had when I was a child probably has polished Kauri floorboards underneath.
Anyway the friendship between Johnny and the Maori people lead to him being able to purchase the freehold site of the hotel which was one of the first land sales to a European in NZ.
Back then in the 1830's Russell was named Kororareka and was the largest whaling port in the Southern Hemisphere. Johnny changed the name of of the hotel to the Duke of Marlborough and his first alcohol licence still hangs up in the bar today.
The first hotel burned down during the battle of Kororareka in 1845 and was rebuilt . From 1878 to 1923 the hotel changed hands 8 times. Between 1923 and 1974 it was owned by Hancock Hotels (aka Lion Breweries). In 1931 the second building again caught fire and burned down then a third building was built in 1875 and housed the telegraph workers at Cable bay but was shipped down the coast and dragged into place by steam traction engine in 1932.
After this the hotel again changed hands 5 times and is currently owned by 4 owners who have restored it beautifully. It's now being used as a restaurant/bar and a wedding venue. Today I ordered a Yellowfin Tuna dish, and as you can see above it looks and was delicious.
With a view like this I'm not surprised the hotel and town is a very popular tourist destination.