We had a wonderful two days in the capital city of Wellington. It has never been a favourite city of mine - which stems, I think, from childhood. I grew up in Marlborough and went to Wellington quite a bit on the Cook Strait ferry, which I have never loved, and Wellington always seemed a dreary, rainy, windy, dirty place, coming from my little, pretty hometown.
But I know there are so many people who love Wellington - including my mother who spent her nursing years there.
With our children happily ensconced at their grandparents, Rob and I drove the 2 1/2 hours to the city. Our main purpose in going as to see Agatha Christie's long-running play, The Mousetrap. It has been one of my life ambitions to see this play, and I never thought I would, because it plays in London and I hate flying, so didn't think I'd ever get over there in time to see it. But this year is the 60th anniversary - incredible, isn't it! And to celebrate the Mousetrap was touring down under - Australia and in Wellington, NZ. We were meeting our long-time family friends, Glenn and Linda from Blenheim and seeing it together with them. Glenn runs the library in Blenheim and hosted my book launch back in 2007. But I have known them since I was small.
I was a little nervous going to Wellington as the city sits on a fault-line - and they are always getting small earthquakes, so we spent quite a bit of time choosing a hotel that was not a skyscraper and not old. I would have loved to have gone to the Lighthouse, but it was too far out of the city for my husband's liking. This was our weekend to enjoy city-living - to feel young again.
I found the Wellesley Hotel. A small, boutique hotel in the heart of the city. It is an historic building, but I read on the website that they have recently had it extensively refurbished and earthquake strengthened, so that was the one for us! Most of the hotels in Wellington are multiple stories high, and after Christchurch that kind of freaks us out. As it was we had to go onto the 16th story of a hotel for an appointment, and I nearly cancelled. We got up there and there were glass walls with nothing between you but the long drop to the city streets. The floor was also uneven, sparking vivid memories of earthquaked damaged buildings in Christchurch.
So the Wellesley suited us fine. As it was, our room was on the 3rd floor, but I just kept reminding myself about the earthquake strengthening.
The Wellesley has an oldworlde charm about it. Just perfect for our Agatha Christie-themed weekend.
Since seeing the Mousetrap, I can now claim to have read all of Agatha Christie's writings. The Wellesley reminded me so much of Bertram's Hotel, which was just lovely, as long as nobody shot at us! The elevator was even one of those old-fashioned elevators with the iron gate door that you close behind you. Such fun!
And look at this romantically, sweeping staircase:
Looking down on city streets from our room:
The rooms had an old-fashioned air. Dark and comfortable with little reading lamps and old desks and flouncy, full curtains. High ceilings and paneled wood doors. I raved over the bathroom. For a hotel, it was enormous! That's what I like about old hotels - they are more spacious than their modern, newer cousins.