A hotel with comfort and charm: Governors Bay

Finding a place to stay that is comfortable and charming and has incredible views is surprisingly hard, even in this beautiful country that has so many picturesque spots. So when I find one, I want to shout about it from the rooftops.

Governors Bay Hotel is such a place. I stayed here in room No 1 on the first night of a mini road trip to Akaroa. I wish I could have stayed longer.

The hotel dates from 1870 so alongside the modern facilities and features, there are wooden floors that creak just like they’re supposed to and all the other charms of a heritage hotel like a wide balcony that runs the length of the hotel and has views across Lyttleton Harbour. It’s a great spot for an early evening pinot or a breakfast coffee.

Governors Bay Hotel

Governors Bay Hotel

Governors Bay wharf

Governors Bay wharf. Still closed because of earthquake damage but if you look closely you’ll see a couple of people who climbed through the barrier to take photographs. 

None of the 6 rooms have ensuites which may surprise some guests but it’s how hotels of this era have always been. But that’s where the nod to tradition ends. The shared bathrooms and toilets are spacious and modern, the showers are devilishly powerful and there are eco-friendly toiletries and piles of fluffy towels. In every room thick white bathrobes are provided to snuggle into while you pad along the corridor. Just like being at home but more luxurious.

Room No 1 has an open fireplace (great for chilly winter’s evenings), elegant light fittings that cast magical shadows on the walls and ceiling, and a bed dressed with feather pillows, beautiful white cotton sheets and plenty of quilts and soft warm blankets. And there were fresh roses in a vase on the table.

In a nod to the European style of breakfasting, the breakfast room at the end of the corridor has everything for a DIY breakfast with a Kiwi twist: weetbix and other cereals, Vogels bread (for toast), jams, honey and marmite and a basket of fresh fruit. A cup of tea or Nespresso coffee on the balcony is a very pleasant way to start the day.

Across the road from the Hotel is the She Universe – a cafe, restaurant and chocolate school. You can watch the chocolate makers in action downstairs and then buy your favourites to save for later or book into one of the many chocolate making classes.

She Chocolatier

She Universe is across the road from the Governors Bay Hotel.

Governors Bay is only 15 minutes from Christchurch via Dyers Pass – a windy road that is still under repair after the earthquakes of 4 years ago. Margaret Mahy – one of New Zealand’s most famous children’s authors – lived in Governors Bay and there is a small plaque in memory of her morning walks with her dog along the 3km coastal walking track.



Categories: New Zealand

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1 reply

  1. Definitely on my list of places to stay – thanks for sharing .


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