Our History

Hulbert House is a beautifully restored Victorian villa dating back to 1888. A history of the House and its ownership is set out below.

Steeped in authentic history, we bring you a distinctive combination of historic elegance and contemporary service. Hulbert House offers a luxury, boutique accommodation experience suitable for all discerning international and domestic travellers.  Each of the stunning suites has it's own independent character and each is named after a prominent individual in the Homesteads history; from the Boult Suite named after Philip Burbage Boult who was granted the land in 1876 to the Firth Suite named after Horatio Nelson Firth, whose family lived here between 1889 and 1901 at which point Firth was sent to prison for embezzlement. 

Hulbert House has a New Zealand Historic Places covenant protecting it's historical significance for future generations.

The history of Hulbert House

1871 Land officially granted to Michael John Malaghan, owner of the Prince of Wales (Mountaineer) Hotel, who became Mayor of Queenstown shortly afterwards

1874 A small timber cottage is constructed on site, along with two outbuildings to the north

1876 Land granted to Philip Burbage Boult.  A timber building with stone foundations is built at the back of the site on the Ballarat/Hallenstein Street Corner

1886 Philip Burbage Boult sells the land to Horatio Nelson Firth, receiver of gold in Queenstown.  Mason & Wales architects commissioned to design a villa 'fit for a gentleman'

Between 1889 and 1901 the house was the Firth family home  

1901 Horatio Nelson Firth sent to prison for embezzlement, Firth's wife (Catherine) begins running the home as a boarding house

1910 Land and buildings owned by William Royston Ambler, and then Patrick McCarthy (the proprietor of the Mountaineer) 

1924 McCarthy passes away and the house is purchased by Elizabeth McFarlane and operated as a private nursing home.  In 1928 she became Mrs William Thompson (Australian 'Mulga Bill') 

1937 Mary Salmon (the daughter to the original builder John Salmond, contracted by Horatio Nelson Firth) purchased the house as a holiday home, letting rooms with kitchen facilities

Our history continued

1942 The house was leased by the Archerfield Girls' School of Dunedin as a refuge for girls due to the threat of war

1945 The property was leased by the Southland Hospital Board as a maternity home, and was known as 'Tutuila'.  

1948 Mary Salmond sold the property to Hazel Grant, who subsequently ran the property 'Tutuila' as a guest house.

1964 The house is taken over by the Salvation Army 

1968 Purchase of the property by Harry Ashurst

1971 Purchase of the property by Alex Arnott

1972 Purchase of the property by O'Connells Hotel for use as a staff hostel

1981 Purchase of the house by Edward Sturt as a family home and bed and breakfast - the house was carefully restored and refurbished name was changed to Hulbert House at this time.  

2009 Following the death of Edward Sturt the house became a backpackers' accommodation.

2013 Hulbert House sold to its present owner, and extensively renovated and refurbished before reopening as a luxury boutique Hotel managed by Brook Serene.  

Such is it's significance Hulbert House is a Category 2 Historic Place listing and protected by a convenant by Heritage New Zealand.

What our patrons say

"We were very fortunate to stay here. This place was breathtakingly beautiful, it has been refurbished into an amazing sophisticated villa with wonderful staff who take great care of the hotel. I would recommend this place highly to anyone wanting to getaway and stay in style. We are lucky to have been guests here, and we were looked after beautifully."

"A relaxed elegant property, that offers wonderful unobtrusive service, the rooms are superbly appointed and there is no outside noise or inside noise that one would expect from a restored 1800's villa. Overlooking Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu the views are stunning."

"The Hulbert House is spectacular. The perfectly appointed home, built in the 1800s is perfectly renovated in every detail. The staff makes guests feel like they are home in a very luxurious setting. Breakfast and afternoon canapes are exquisitely prepared and delicious. And the view from the property is breathtaking."

"Had an amazing stay - love the location and the views - pre dinner drinks a nice touch . The rooms are amazing, the team running the property most helpful. So many great restaurants on your front door."