About Us

About the history of Hulbert House, our hosts, and a few recommendations

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 rooms has its 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 Room 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 its historical significance for future generations. 

The new interior design was created for us by Neil McLachlan.  He was careful to preserve the period details and further enhance these with the use of splendid English wallpapers and a custom milled carpet was commissioned from New Zealand wool with the design inspired by willow pattern china. A judicious combination of patterned textiles have added further zing, while large scale French antiques and chandeliers ensure a pervading sense of opulence. A newly constructed 'Palm House' in what was the rear courtyard of the dwelling incorporates the original service wing and features custom made tiles which adorn a full height chimney breast. Close attention to detail has resulted in a truly extraordinary interior.

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.

Such is its significance Hulbert House is a Category 2 Historic Place listing and protected by a covenant with Heritage New Zealand.

What our patrons say

"I travel frequently and I have never stayed in such a special place. The Hulbert House has been lovingly restored, its beds are so comfy, its gardens are beautiful, its location perfect, and the views spectacular. But it's the staff that makes this place so incredibly special. We were warmly greeted upon arrival with tea and honey as we settled into our rooms. Then invited us down for delicious canapes and wine in the lovely living/dining room. They made dinner reservations for us and then drove us to and from the restaurant!"

"This is a very special place. It is a boutique hotel with only 6 rooms. The rooms are beautifully decorated, the beds are super comfortable, and the place is immaculate. It is located on a hill just a short walk from the center of town and has some fantastic views of the lake. But what makes this hotel special is the staff. They are the most friendly, helpful, kind, and professional people that I have ever met in my travels.They welcome you as soon as you get there and make you feel like you are part of the family."

"Our stay was perfect from check-in to check-out at this beautiful inn. Every detail was considered and well attended to, the bed (and the robe) very comfortable and cozy, the view from our room was stunning, and the evening drinks and nibbles were superb. The entire staff was exceptionally warm and helpful."

"Had a lovely stay at Hulbert House. Staff were great and very helpful. The environment was breathtaking. Beautiful furnishings and cozy vibe. Will definitely be back when we are next in New Zealand. Great views across the water."