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Belmont House, Dunedin, New Zealand

by Gaycation Magazine

Belmont House

The Otago coast stretches from the Waitaki north of Oamaru to the mighty Clutha River south of Dunedin. Unlike its Central namesake, coastal Otago is moist, green and often misty with its population seeded evenly along its shores. Dunedin is the city of the south and known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand, it wears its Scottish heritage with pride. Surrounded by dramatic hills and at the foot of a long harbour, Dunedin is one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere. On the city’s doorstep you will find incredible wildlife including the world’s rarest penguins and, at Taiaroa Head, the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross. Head further south, and you join the Southern Scenic Route, a tourism must of the South Island that follows the wild coast down to Invercargill and then north-west to Manapouri and Te Anau.

Belmont House is a gracious two storey Victorian Villa sitting on the city rise close to the centre of town offering comfortable and relaxed accommodation in three beautifully and individually appointed rooms, all located on the upper floor of the house. Whatever your reason for visiting Dunedin, Belmont House is the perfect base to explore the wonderful attractions of the city and Otago Peninsula. Robin and Stuart own Belmont House. Stuart has lived all his life in Dunedin and is an active member of Rotary in Dunedin. Robin hails from a farming background in the Taieri Gorge, inland from Dunedin, and has worked in New Zealand and Scotland. They purchased Belmont House in July 2003, and have been welcoming guests from all walks of life and from all over the world since late 2003.

Victorian Style

Belmont House was built in 1879 when following the Otago gold rush of the 1860’s Dunedin was the leading city of New Zealand. The house is constructed of plaster over double brick with a Welsh slate roof. The construction is typical of its time and many similar examples of this architecture can be found in Dunedin, Melbourne, and Sydney in Australia and throughout England and Scotland. Unlike a number of older stately homes in Dunedin, Belmont House has retained many of its attractive Victorian features such as the ornate wrought iron balustrades, Welsh slate roof, stunning plaster ceilings, marble and slate fireplaces, tiled fire surrounds and the original front door lock and key.

Throughout its history Belmont House has largely been a private home except for two periods of time in the 1940’s and the 1970’s when it was split into rental flats. Previous owners started the extensive renovations of Belmont House back to its former glory. Stuart and Robin continued upgrading of the property, and developing the formal front garden and the courtyard cottage garden at the rear. The former stables, and outbuilding built in 1902 add a charming backdrop to the cottage garden. As they only cater to a maximum of six guests you will always be assured of personal service, attention to detail, and a feeling of space at Belmont House.

Belmont House offers three beautifully appointed guest rooms, each with their own individual character. The spacious bedrooms and guest lounge are all located on the upper floor of the house. All bedrooms are individually heated and furnished to a high standard with period and contemporary furniture plus New Zealand art. To provide you with optimum comfort the beds have feather and down or wool duvets and pillows, fresh cotton linen, and electric blankets. A selection of current New Zealand and international lifestyle magazines and books, clock radio, cotton bathrobes, fresh flowers, chocolates and fresh seasonal fruit completes each room.

Lounge With Fireplace

Breakfast is served in the formal Dining Room with its magnificent plaster ceiling, marble fireplace, and Georgian furniture. You are welcome to help yourself to fresh juices, a selection of cereals, yogurts, a selection of fresh or preserved fruit, baked croissants, toasted breads, jams and marmalade, and endless cups of fresh coffee and tea. A traditional cooked breakfast is also available. Where possible they use free range eggs and bacon. If you have any special dietary requirements please advise when booking. The dining room is also a superb venue for a small business meetings or for private dining for up to eight people.

The guest lounge at Belmont House is an inviting room located on the upper floor of the house and features a diverse range of New Zealand art. It has expansive views over the city from the bay window. You can relax on the sofas and chairs and listen to a CD, there is a selection of everything from Bach to Robbie Williams. Alternatively watch TV or a DVD from the collection that includes some of New Zealand’s best loved movies, browse through the selection of the latest magazines and books from New Zealand and round the world, or just take time out, relax and enjoy the views. Fresh ground coffee, plunger pots, a selection of black and herbal teas, chilled sparkling mineral water, and fresh biscuits are available anytime. In the cool nights enjoy the heat of the gas fire and central heating. Wine glasses are provided if you wish to enjoy that bottle of New Zealand wine you have purchased.

A large, covered, north-facing veranda overlooking the private cottage garden and former stables provides a pleasant retreat. Enjoy a drink, write that postcard home, or relax in whatever way you choose. It is a great place to unwind before your next Dunedin adventure. You are welcome to wander round the small cottage garden which Robin and Stuart continue to develop.

Beautiful Veranda

These gay-owned lodgings are the perfect place to call home while exploring Dunedin and the surrounding countryside.

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