One of the most talked about additions to our new lobby is the model ship. It’s a replica of the Bolton, one of the first immigrant ships to arrive in New Zealand during the 19th Century.

Many of Wellington’s prominent streets such as Cuba and Tory were named after those early ships. Bolton Street and this hotel were named after the Bolton, which departed Gravesend, England on November 19, 1839 and arrived at Port Nicolson, Wellington on April 30, 1840.

The model took considerably less time to arrive but like its full sized predecessor it also came from England, albeit by air rather than by sea.  It took a team of craftsmen just 8 weeks to build the model out of teak before it was flown in and berthed in its specially made glass case.

If you’re in the lobby with a few minutes to spare, take some time to read about the voyage. And keep your eyes peeled for a tiny figure on deck holding a rose. It’s Sophia Harris, a passenger who brought a cutting of her favourite rose to plant in her new garden.

Legend has it that Sophia planted the cutting in a potato to keep it alive. The rose survived the long and hazardous journey and today you can see the same species (The Harris Rose) in gardens near the hotel.

This lovely story has been a continual inspiration for us to look after our guests just as carefully – to think independently, and to come up with new ways to care for them on their travels.