Arcadia Lodge, the boutique B&B accommodation in Russell, has just received two of the top accolades on Trip Advisor.
They are number 2 for New Zealand and number 4 for Australasia in the B&B and Inns category. It’s high praise indeed but there’s a precedent.
When Greg Hoover and Peter Gillan took over the ownership of Arcadia Lodge five years ago it has previously been listed in the Trip Advisor Top 10. They have worked hard and have steadily climbed the rating ranks.
The pair have had a circuitous route to B&B ownership. Peter was a chef for 20 years, mainly concentrating on out-catering. He then went nursing for 14 years in the emergency department of Middlemore Hospital in Auckland before venturing into primary care and mental health.
Greg sold classified advertising for a Dallas-based publication for 20 years before he decided he wanted to go sailing. He crewed for other people and then sold his house and his car and bought his own boat, something he vows he would never do again. For four years he crewed for other people, found himself in New Zealand and met Peter.
“The Lodge was sitting in Trade Me and Greg shows me the photographs,” said Peter.
“We were thinking about what we were going to do, looked at a couple of other businesses and Greg decided he wanted to stay in New Zealand so we said let’s do something together.”
The rest, as they say, is history but it has not been without its challenges and sheer hard work and they are “extremely grateful” for the government assistance received during Covid lockdowns.
The lodge houses six separate suites, including a cottage, and was built in 1902 by the Revd Bolar who was the first resident minister in New Zealand.
It was built on a clay base with whale bone foundations. A couple of the bone foundations have shifted which makes the floor slightly wavy in parts.
“It’s quirky,” says Greg. “But I love it, it’s what makes it unique.”
Throughout there are period furnishings, an eclectic array of photos, mementos, object d’art and collectables.
The property has been afforded 4.5 stars in the the Qualmark (NZ Tourism) Gold category Lodge and Boutique, the only Gold level property in the Bay of Islands.
Greg says the borders opening are not an overnight fix. But they have more bookings this time for next year than they have ever had – November, February March are “going nuts, it’s phenomenal.” So the ratio is now 30% domestic and 70% international.