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Back in business . . . The doors to Naseby's Royal Hotel have reopened thanks to Jan Rutherford (left) and Adrian Hood (right) who have renovated the building, which they bought last year. PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON

ALEXIA.JOHNSTON
@alliedpress.co.nz

Naseby’s Royal Hotel has a new lease of life.

The 155-year-old building has been restored and renovated; and was reopened just in time to host competitors at last week’s World Curling Qualifying event.

Hotel owners Jan Rutherford and Adrian Hood could see the building’s potential when they bought it in June, last year, including the benefits of knocking out some walls to make use of every square inch the building has to offer.

One wall, which has been removed, once created a room for women to wait until their husbands had finished socialising in the bar – an area which was a no-go-zone for women in the hotel’s earlier years.

That space is now available to all customers as a dining area.

Due to the few women who would have entered the building during the earlier years, only one female toilet was available, even up until Ms Rutherford and Mr Hood took over the building.

They have since rectified that issue, a move which has brought the hotel into the 21st century.

Ms Rutherford and Mr Hood were focused on creating an equal space for both men and women, along with a menu that would tempt the tastebuds of either gender.

They have also renovated the hotel’s accommodation facilities, with the aim of creating “boutique” style rooms.

“The building has changed quite a bit over the years,” Mr Hood said.

” It’s a great location being right on the main street and it’s got a fantastic sun deck.”

Although they have given the hotel a new lease of life, they have worked hard to retain elements of its history.

The decor now includes various black and white photos of the building to entertain, create conversation and educate customers.

Many of those photos have been lent to the hotel by the neighbouring museum.

The Royal Hotel has a colourful history, according Heritage New Zealand documents.

It was destroyed in a storm two years after it opened, but was rebuilt soon after the event.

In 1869 Cobb and Co started using the hotel as its Naseby depot for mail and passengers and in 1878, a tender of was accepted for additions to the building.

Local trades workers have been called on to help complete the hotel’s latest renovation project, including Rodger Murphy, who was born and bred in the area.

One of his first apprenticeship jobs was working on the Royal Hotel, which is on the corner of Earne and Broome Sts.

“So it’s nice to have him involved,” Ms Rutherford said.

Ms Rutherford and Mr Hood also own the town’s Ancient Briton hotel, but agree that both buildings offer different experiences.

“The Ancient Briton is accommodation, it’s become a destination. Coming here [to the Royal Hotel] is [a] more casual, cafe/bar [environment].”