A Poker Game Was the Reason the Maison De La Mer Came into Being

When it comes to beauty, New Zealand has got to be at the top of the list. Those who visit this wonderful country for the first time are often blown away by the wonderful scenery. However, like with all things in life, not all things are created equally, and some places are more beautiful than others. The Maison De La Mer in Akaroa is one such place.

How Did It Come into Being?

A man by the name of T.E. Taylor built this 5-bedroom guest house back in 1910. It is situated right on the waterfront and is surrounded by rolling hills, making it a fantastic place for a weekend break.

Taylor was born and raised in Akora and ever since he was a teenager studying architecture, he wanted to build a small resort where people from all over the country (or from all over the world) could stay and experience the beauty of this small town. He wanted to build a place where people could relax and forget all about their troubles for a small period of time.

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However, his only issue was that he didn’t have enough money to carry out his dream. That was until Lady Luck smiled upon him during a trip to America in 1907. Him and his girlfriend were visiting her parents in Las Vegas, but over dinner it became clear to him that they didn’t think he was a suitable match for her.

Annoyed, he went for a walk down what is now known as the Las Vegas Strip, he decided to go into Hotel Nevada, which is now the oldest casino in the United States. He wasn’t really a gambling man, but his friends were always telling him that he was one of the best poker players that they had ever seen.

Therefore, he decided to go in and have a round of poker. It was the best decision that he has ever made as he wiped the floor with his opponents and walked away with $8,000 in his pocket. Now, while that might not sound like much money, it was a lot back then and was the equivalent to nearly $250,000 in today's money.

He went back to his girlfriend’s parents’ house, but he didn’t tell them about his huge winnings. They had made it clear that they didn’t like him, and he didn’t want them to start acting nice to him just because he was now rich.

He told his girlfriend when they got back to New Zealand and asked her to marry him. She said yes and then he set about realising his dream of building a beautiful guesthouse right on the water’s edge.

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How Long Did It Take?

Taylor won his fortune in March 1907 and him and his girlfriend returned to New Zealand in April. He immediately set about designing plans for the property, but as he wanted it to be one of the best guesthouses in the country, he kept finding small faults with what he had come up with. It actually took him a year to come up with a design that he was well and truly pleased with.

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It then took a year to build, but as he was about to open it in May 1909 a pipe burst and flooded the place, meaning that it would be another 8 months before the first guests were able to walk through the doors.

It was the huge success that Taylor had hoped it would be and it is still extremely popular more than 100 years later. Although Taylor has been dead for more than half a century, the lodge is still in his family and is being run by his great grandchildren. This is something that he would be immensely proud of.

It is now not only a great place to relax, but there are also a lot of entertaining activities that guests can enjoy. For example, they can swim with wild Hector dolphins, go on a boat cruise to see the wonderful scenery, go fishing, go kayaking, and go and see the Pohatu penguins. In short, anyone who spends some time at the Maison De La Mer will have a fantastic experience.