During my days living in Christchurch in the late 1980s, I embraced the Goth culture wholeheartedly. Decades later, I find myself staying in a Gothic-style building nestled in The Arts Centre precinct—a locale I frequented in those younger years.
The Observatory Hotel is an embodiment of grace, offering 33 modern rooms, all set within this magnificent historical edifice. Emerged from the aftermath of the Christchurch Earthquakes, much like a Phoenix rising, the restoration of the Christchurch Arts Centre stands as a beacon of resilience and architectural splendour. You might even find a gargoyle that commemorates this rebirth among the many that decorate its facade.
With the guidance of architects Warren and Mahoney, this cherished heritage has been thoughtfully revived. Tracing back to its roots, the design was the brainchild of architect Benjamin Mountford. The Observatory and Biology buildings, completed in 1896, played significant roles in the academic landscape. The Observatory housed an equatorial telescope, a generous gift to the then College in 1871. Later, in 1974, as the University of Canterbury transitioned to its Ilam campus, the Arts Centre of Christchurch came into being.
For anyone visiting Christchurch, this renovated landmark is definitely a worthwhile accommodation option. The wider precinct stands as a testament to the city's dedication to preserving what remains of its rich Architectural Heritage. It’s an ever expanding area that now stretches to include the Museum ( under renovation), Christs College, Botanical Gardens, The Cathedral and Oxford Terrace where our store is situated.
The Observatory Hotel
Imagery courtesy of the NZIA