Decades of secrets to uncover in old hotel cellar

The historic Danseys Pass Hotel has many stories to tell - but some are more elusive than others.

Hotel general managers Phillip O’Reilly and Rita Yamgurova have unearthed a number of treasures hailing from the pub’s early years - at nearly 160-years-old there is much to be found.

Wagon wheels, tin baths and oil lanterns buried in the grounds, bottles of booze completely untouched and stories of a ghost.

It is the cellar in Room 6 - the hotel’s original bar - and an underground tunnel from the hotel to the river that have the couple intrigued.

 Danseys Pass Hotel general managers Rita Yamgurova and Phillip O’Reilly. PHOTOS: SHANNON THOMSON
Danseys Pass Hotel general managers Rita Yamgurova and Phillip O’Reilly. PHOTOS: SHANNON THOMSON

Stories passed on to the hotel owner Chris Jameson from the area’s old-timers, patches to the exterior stone work outside the room and photos of the original building make clear the bar’s original location.

Mr O’Reilly had hoped renovations in the hotel’s accommodation wing would finally uncover access to the cellar and decades of secrets.

When the carpet was finally lifted he was disappointed but still hopeful.

What lies beneath? The original bar at the Danseys Pass Hotel was located in what is now Room 6....
What lies beneath? The original bar at the Danseys Pass Hotel was located in what is now Room 6. The hotel cellar is believed to be under the floor but its precise location remains a mystery.

There was no obvious cellar access but the concrete was different from the other rooms, with patched repairs and parts which sounded hollow.

"I was gutted. I’m like, how am I going to explain this? I wanted to go and drill all of the floors in the hotel to find it," he said.

The floors will remain intact for now, but Mr O’Reilly said he intends to look at options for infrared mapping to locate the cellar.

"Who knows what’s eluding us in that cellar? You just don’t know.

"At Scott Base in Antarctica they found old whisky — this area was known for gold mining and drink. Maybe someone’s still down there drinking."

--  shannon.thomson@odt.co.nz

 

 

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