As an historic building Gantleys has a unique place in the hearts of locals as well being of great interest to visitors.
Gantleys was built in 1863 as a wayside Inn for the gold miners during the Central Otago gold rush. The first name of the old schist building was Sportsmans Arms as it was located on the only stretch of flat, straight road in the area where the locals would organise running races. The first owner, Patrick Gantley, came to Queenstown to become the first policeman and also ran the Sportsmans Arms tavern. When he died in 1895 his niece took over and renamed it Gantleys after Patrick Gantley. Around 1920, when the gold ran out and the miners moved on, the building was abandoned. It then became a hay barn and wool shed for a local farm and fell into disrepair.
In 1960, 3 Queenstown businessmen got together and began a lengthy restoration. In 1970 it opened as “Packer’s Arms Restaurant” and operated very successfully throughout the 70’s and into the 80’s. A succession of owners then saw the restaurant decline and by the time that the current owners purchased the property in 1993 it was in desperate need of renovation.
The renovation, whilst sympathetic to the history of the building, introduced contemporary elements with the use of sumptuous fabrics and furnishings. The ambience created in this beautiful stone building is romantic and elegant. In conjunction with the renovation an extensive landscaping programme began, resulting in a magnificent 2 acre garden in the majestic mountain scenery.
The current owners reinstated the true historical name of Gantleys when they purchased the property in 1993.