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Ben Bayly breathes new life into Queenstown’s 100-year-old Bathhouse restaurant

By Kathryn Chung

<em>Sam Stewart Photography</em>
Sam Stewart Photography
Acclaimed restaurateur Ben Bayly has taken over the helm of Queenstown's iconic Bathhouse Restaurant, introducing an elegant new era for the lakeside heritage building.

Originally built in 1911 as the Coronation Bathhouse to commemorate the coronation of King George V, the heritage building has long been considered one of Queenstown’s hidden historic gems.

Partner in the business Vicki Onions, says she had long admired the Bathhouse building and jumped at the opportunity to breath new life into the grand old dame.

“I felt a tremendous responsibility to be a part of its revitalisation, to do something authentic and special with this historic building, and equally a desire to create opportunities for the next generation of superstars in the hospitality arena.”

Sam Stewart Photography

Led by executive chef Steven Sepsy, who is also behind Bayly’s beloved Aosta and Little Aosta, the Bathhouse Lakefront Restaurant celebrates old-school British cuisine, with modern New Zealand twists, such as Smoked Salmon and Elderflower open sandwich with shaved courgette and Scotch Egg with white anchovy mayo and confit yolk.

“Nostalgia is so on trend right now, my ancestors are British and we simply had to have a British theme as this building was built for the coronation of King George V,” says Bayly.

Sam Stewart Photography

The restaurants stunning heritage interiors have been lovingly designed by award-winning architect Anna Marie Chin, boasting a grand red crown perched on top of the rotunda, polished metal bar to reflect the views and a striking mirrored chandelier.

“I just love the location of The Bathhouse, nestled between the botanical gardens and the river, and beside the revamped promenade which is going to look amazing when it reopens,” says Bayly.

Sam Stewart Photography

“The Bathhouse is one year older than the Earnslaw which had its maiden voyage in 1912. For me, this is all about preserving and protecting the heritage of this amazing  building, I feel so honoured and privileged to be working with my friends Vicki and Steve as we collectively become the next custodians”.

The Bathhouse is open from sunrise to sunset for à la carte dining, transitioning to wedding and events venue in the evening. Visit


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