skip to Main Content

Like all good things, The Rutherford Hotel Nelson has a story…

It’s the tallest building in Nelson City. The view out the windows is like no other. If you are like me and occasionally get a little lost sometimes in town, the Rutherford Hotel Nelson acts like a landmark for all to see!

Back when the early settlers arrived in Nelson the Cathedral was front and centre, with the jailhouse located behind it. Fifeshire House, which is near the entrance of the Rutherford Hotel was the home of several families including the owner of a brewing company. As the company grew, it was later sold to Dominion Breweries in the early 70’s, so the ground floor was a thriving brewery, and is now the reception area to the Rutherford Hotel Nelson.

Incidentally, Fifeshire House is now the home of MediaWorks and The Fifeshire Foundation (Charity Trust)

It’s in a prime location as Nelson grew in all directions from the centre, so Dominion Breweries engaged JASMAD Architects to design the new multi-level hotel and Fletcher Construction Ltd was responsible for the build. Sir Henry and Lady Evelyn Kelliher of Dominion Breweries took a personal interest in the development of the hotel, with Lady Kelliher choosing the interior fit-out items such as carpet, curtains, bedspreads and wallpaper. The fine paintings of the Kelliher art collection adorned the walls of the new hotel which was named The Rutherford after the famous local identity Ernest Rutherford, who is known for his pioneering studies of radioactivity and the atom.

The hotel was sold in 1987 and became a Quality Inn. The Rutherford name was replaced by Quality Inn, much to the dislike of the local people. In 1991 the hotel was purchased by Rutherford Hotel Holdings Limited and has since carried the name Rutherford Hotel again.

Today it’s had new rooms added, double-glazed windows and has been undergoing a new paint finish. They have been upgrading the beds, and the conferences and events area has attracted people from all around the globe.

They employ over 80 staff of which many bring international hotel experience. There’s the Oceano Restaurant, a well-equipped gym, a sunny cafe that makes great coffee and an intimate bar named the ‘Port of Call Bar’ which features interesting photos of the early settlers as they arrived on sailing ships from England.

Sarah MacRitchie is the new Conference and Events Manager at the hotel and brings with her over 20 years of Hotel Management Experience from Auckland, Taupo and Melbourne, Australia.

“I was born in Auckland and over the years my two brothers and recently my parents made the move to sunny Nelson to enjoy grandparent duties. After working for many years away from family in Melbourne I decided to move back to NZ and then to Nelson to be closer to family and the outdoor lifestyle which Nelson is famous for. The team here are like one big family and we enjoy delivering a high level of service to our guests.” says Sarah.

The Conferences and Events role involves emails, planning, and recommending layouts for the various clients who want to use the 6 multipurpose event spaces. Its well-designed rooms can be arranged for smaller local business networking events, wedding receptions, and full-scale conference events with impressive lighting, media screens and live music.

“If you are planning an event; talking to the same person each time who has all the local contacts is key to making it into a success – and stress-free occasion.”

It’s a great place for locals to meet for coffee or book for a special occasion. It’s a luxury experience that tastefully echoes the tradition from a previous era.

You are always greeted by the main reception staff, and it’s so nice to be called sir or madam. It makes you feel extra special.
Find them at 27 Nile Street West, Nelson.

To learn more visit their website.

Explore the virtual tour at Rutherford Hotel Nelson

Click here to find out more…

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top