A colourful country pub that fell off the back of a truck can be yours for $1.2 million.
Themed charity dress-ups, national awards, plenty of laughs and a flying ute are all part of the story of the Victorian-style White Swan Hotel in Greytown, put on the market recently by owners Rob and Jaime Slater.
The pub has become a favourite with locals and weekenders from Wellington and Hawke's Bay, and a frequent finalist in the national hospitality association's annual awards.
Former Wellingtonian Rob Slater put its success down to his hard-working staff and hands-on management style.
"People want to chat with the owner or general manager and have you greet them, gidday, how are your kids - people think of it as partly theirs, like a home away from home."
While the property itself sold last year for nearly $2.5m, that sale did not affect Slater's 30-year lease for a boutique hospitality and accommodation operation.
The elegant building was the Lower Hutt railway workshop administration building before it was cut into sections and trucked over the Rimutaka Hill in 2002.
One of the sections toppled off the truck on to the road during the move but the restored building bounced back to become a landmark.
Features include a popular deck opening on to Greytown's picturesque Main St, seven themed suites upstairs and six suites in a separate building.
A highlight of the Slaters' proprietorship has been an annual child cancer charity event, raising thousands each year through an auction and fancy-dress party with memorable themes, including 1970s fashion and casino millionaires.
Slater's management style has been characterised by his sense of humour, notably when an out-of-control stolen Toyota Hilux driven by a teenager careened across the road last year and along the deck, narrowly missing several diners. Slater posted a photo on the pub's Facebook page offering a $100 bar tab for the best caption, receiving thousands of hits and captions such as: "Roll into the club" and "What up, I got a Hilux".
Slater is looking for a new challenge.
- The Dominion Post
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