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Harbour View owner calls time on hotel and town he loves

Raglan’s historic Harbour View Hotel is up for tender despite the fact owner Jeff Holloway “really enjoys” working there still after 14 years in the business.

“It’s a great business in a fantastic town,” he told the Chronicle just before heading off to Europe for a month with wife Kerry.
“But it’s time for us to go,” he added, citing health reasons for his decision to sell up.

Jeff has also sold the business — though not the land and building — at his Katikati hotel, The Talisman. And he’s sold their farm at Okete too.

It’s a lifestyle change to get away from the daily commitments. He’s bought a section in the Gulf Harbour near Orewa on which to build, but old habits die hard and he admits he’s “looking at” a business there.

Jeff says moving out of Raglan will be difficult. He’s built the business up over the years and believes now it has “a pretty good reputation” for good quality, well-priced food and services.

And there’s a lot of repeat customers, he says, from motorbike and aero clubs to golf groups all stopping for lunches and sometimes overnight stays.

The upstairs accommodation has been completely refurbished during Jeff’s time at the hotel, which is one of the Waikato’s oldest. It was built in 1866 but almost 40 years later completely destroyed by fire.

Rebuilt in 1904, it now has a protection order from the Historic Places Trust, though this covers only the main building and not the extensive developments.

In its more recent history, the Harbour View has drawn punters from around the country even without the attraction of Midge Marsden and the Mudsharks, whose regular appearances at the pub in the ‘80s are the stuff of legend.

Jeff reckons the town has certainly changed during his time here, becoming increasingly attractive to both local and overseas tourists, with a “huge” influx of Europeans in particular.

A skeleton staff of 25 run the three separate bars — public, private and garden — as well as nine rooms for lodging, a wholesale liquor store and owner’s accommodation. But staff numbers swell in summer to 40 or 50, Jeff says, half of them overseas visitors who decide to stay in our “unique” town.

Prospective buyers have three options through Ray White Raglan Real Estate, says Jeff. They can buy the land and building, or the business, or the freehold going concern which is the “whole lot”.

“It’s a great opportunity and business for someone to carry on,” he adds.

The property has a total building area of 970sqm and sits on a 1709sqm section.

E. Symes

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