Just twenty-five minutes south of Christchurch city is the adorable little area of Governors Bay, which looks over Lyttelton Harbour. Standing tall on the hill and with a rich history dating back to its inception in 1870, is the gastro pub and accommodation venue Governors Bay Hotel.
Boasting a delicious dining menu along with quaint accommodation, this escape is perfect for tourists and locals alike. Accommodation ranges from a selection of six tidy rooms that have been rectified since the February 2010 earthquakes. Each of the guest rooms are located on the first floor level of the hotel and are fully equipped with 32 inch LCD TVs, queen size beds, free wifi broadband, heaters, alarm clock radios/iPhone chargers, electric blankets and vanities.
Four of the six rooms have access to the balcony through Parisian style doors, overlooking phenomenal views of Lyttelton Harbour, providing a great opportunity for guests to relax with a glass of wine and take in all this part of New Zealand has to offer.
The rooms currently range from about $119 per couple per night for a queen and up to $169 for a balcony king room. Accommodation across the six rooms includes a continental breakfast by the venue's chef, along with complimentary wifi.
The only small downside is that no room has its own bathroom facilities. Guests use two separate shower and toilet areas in the hotel. There are also no cooking facilities for hotel guests, as guests are encouraged to dine-in at the onsite restaurant or one of the cafes in the bay area.
One of the six rooms on offer @ Governors Bay Hotel (photo via www.booking.com)
Onto the dining. Governors Bay Hotel has an on-site restaurant which features a gastro-pub menu which changes seasonally. The eatery has a strong food focus with the chefs known to produce all dishes from base ingredients up. I noticed in the cuisine options that my partner and I picked that the even the sauces and jus accompanying our steak/fish respectively had a slight twist and lightness, as opposed to those that you get from a store bought bottled sauce.
With locally sourced staples such as seafood, lamb, salads, chicken and soups on the menu, there is something for everyone's palate. Currently, the picturesque gardens that draw patrons to this hotel, are providing the kitchen with a range of fresh fruit and vegetables along with a range of herbs all grown organically.
Seating options for dining guests are vast with outdoor dining in the garden under umbrellas and wooden deck chairs with an angle to sit back, relax and enjoy the view of Quail Island and Lyttelton Harbour. There is also an alfresco dining area along the side of Governors Bay Hotel, which is surrounded by inviting gardens, and a raised porch area alongside the main restaurant for those wishing to dine outside.
Having decided to seat ourselves on this beautiful summer's day outside overlooking the harbour, we noticed that we had just missed the lunch menu (served from 11am - 3pm) and had to select from the bar snacks menu, which luckily for us, housed some of the lunch items. We decided on the fish and chips and the porterhouse steak.
I noticed the interior area is also fantastic for casual dining (and especially if it is quite a cool winters day) the venue has its own fire place which is perfect for those winter nights. To keep the vintage feel of the venue there is also a Snug (formally known as the Ladies Lounge), which was used in the early days to accommodate the ladies of the venue, who wanted to enjoy a drink in private, as it was usually frowned upon for women to be in a pub.
Entertainment is also prevalent at Governors Bay Hotel with a gaming room including your staple pool table and darts board.
Garlic Breat, Porterhouse Steak & Fish n' Chips @ Governors Bay Hotel (photo by Praneel Lal)
Meals didn't take too long to come out, given they are made from scratch, there was about a 10-15 minute wait. My porterhouse steak was cooked medium and my salad was bigger than expected and had an abundance of home-made dressing which left no spinach leaf uncovered. It was accompanied by a side of shoe string fries, which was perfect to finish off the dish.
My partner ordered the fish and chips along with a side of rustic garlic bread, unfortunately the bread was a little bit of a let down as it was extremely hard at the ends and lacked that delicious garlic flavour. The fish was lightly beer battered leaving it crunchy on the outside and flakey on the inside. The 'Jetty Fish' as it is named on the menu, came with a side of shoestring fries and a garden salad with house dressing.
The dinner menu also looked very appetising so a next on the agenda. Governors Bay Hotel is open from 11am onwards seven days a week. It's a perfect location for a bite to eat, a coffee or a main meal and a beverage.