A Nelson landmark for nearly 50 years, the Rutherford is a hotel of refined luxury, writes Helen van Berkel
Location: A short stroll away is Nelson's central business district and the dining precinct of upper Trafalgar St.
In the neighbourhood: Nelson's Cathedral is just across the road and the inner city's many attractions: Queen's Gardens, Founders Park, South St, Suter Art Gallery are all nearby. Further afield are the beaches, rivers, mountains, vineyards that make Nelson one of the country's favourite playgrounds.
Style: Its stately air of traditional opulence makes the Rutherford special.
Perfect for: Conference rooms named after Nelson localities and big screens bring in business travellers. Modern suites attract well-heeled visitors sampling the city's many attractions.
First impressions: Pull into the drive-in entrance like royalty to unload the luggage. An elegant lobby is cleaved by a curved staircase leading to a mezzanine gallery. I first stayed at this hotel as a child and it was comforting to see that although thoroughly modernised, the lobby still has that feel of calm grandeur I loved back then. Guests' visitors can park on the streets immediately surrounding the hotel but be warned: parking wardens prowl and warning signs are scarce.
The room: A corner desk allowed me to get some work done but the view of Nelson's cathedral spire just outside the window was distracting. My bed was huge, its pillows soft, and a day of sightseeing was nicely rounded off with a bit of TV on the big screen. Despite the Rutherford's central location, not a whisper of traffic noise leaked through the two walls of windows, shielded after dark by black-out curtains.
Bathroom: A bath! Indulging in my winter holiday pleasure was bliss: bubbles, book and more bubbles. The hotel gets another tick for the wall-affixed shampoos and body washes, the latter coming in handy for my bubble bath.
Food and drink: We kicked back with a burger and a chowder at the on-site Port O' Call bar. The Oceano restaurant concentrates on local produce and were it not for an early flight we would've had breakfast there.
Facilities: Guests can park in the covered carpark. In summer, take a dip in the pool. And of course, there's free and ample Wi-Fi.
Accessibility: Premium Rooms and Two Bedroom Family Rooms can be made accessible for disabled travellers on request.
Price: From $195 per night.
Contact details: rutherfordhotel.nz