Braemar House (pronounced “bray-maa”), was built in 1880 - which makes it one of the oldest houses in Whanganui. It was first built as a private residence and now operates as a welcoming Bed & Breakfast and YHA Hostel with a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets. Free unlimited high-speed wifi is available throughout the property as well as a number of hire facilities such as a laundry, lockers and bicycles. Braemar also accommodates group bookings for small private and business functions.
The on-site owners and operators Alice and Calvyn moved from South Africa to Whanganui in 1998 and now call NZ home. They’re very welcoming and have travelled extensively through NZ so they’re a great source of information for your travel plans. They can also help you to make bookings for any attractions you’re interested in doing in the area.
Braemar House is adjacent to the Whanganui River and next to an extensive walkway along the river that leads to the iSite (Tourist Information Centre), the Waimarie River Steamboat dock, the main street Victoria Avenue and and other popular tourist attractions.
Braemar House has had an interesting history. It was constructed in 1880 by John Frame McBeth, the postmaster of Wanganui till 1895. In that year is was passed on to Mr "Hope" Gibbons. Hopeful Gibbons was named after the character in John Bunyan's "Pilgrim’s Progress". He went on to become the mayor of Whanganui in 1924 till 1927 and was the founder of one of New Zealand's largest family businesses. He sold the building in 1911 to Misses Alice and Kit Gordon, who converted it into Braemar Hospital for private, surgical, and maternity care. They named it “Braemar Private Hospital” as their clan, the Gordans have their annual gathering at Braemar Castle.
In 1927 the property passed to Mrs Eliza Christie who firstly continued the private hospital, running it for 50 years. In the latter years is was a geriatric home as the cost of running a hospital become too much.
By 1976 the hospital closed its doors. It stood empty for about a year till the owner of the Riverside Tavern, Bryce Jones saw its potential as a Bed and Breakfast and hostel for his guests at the Tavern. Bryce named it the "Riverside Inn". Bryce's son Dean managed it with Gary and Marilyn Ruby. Gary started some of the renovations. It was then sold, together with the Tavern to Clayton Crowe, and had a chequered history with several owners until 1987 when Don and Marree Adams bought the lease from a Wellington owner. They were energetic enthusiasts for the potential of the fine house. Don and Maree started the YHA hostel, ran 4 and 5 day canoe trips on the river and then coach tours in the area. They also did the rural mail run up the Whanganui River Road to Pipiriki and took passengers. To this day guests can still book to go on the mail run and get an insight to the unique communities it serves. After a few more owners it fell into disrepair.
In 1991 the "Riverside Inn" passed to the Gedye family. Phillip and Joy continued the renovations of the grand old lady.
In 2002, the property was renamed "Braemar House" by the new owners, Clive Rivers and Rob Gooch. They took over the YHA hostel and B&B restyled and continued the renovation of the house over the next 14 years and saw thousands of visitors from every corner of the world through the doors. They have now retired to the good life in the country nearby.
The new owners, (the 12th owners) Calvyn and Alice, and their daughter Claire, took over the Bed & Breakfast and YHA Hostel in January 2017. You will find that they are delightful hosts who will do their utmost to make you welcome. We do hope that you will enjoy Braemar House and Whanganui.