Before turning into a hotelier, Julia Ashwood was a globetrotter, documenting her travel finds and adventures on Instagram. But that all changed when Ashwood, her husband Matt Rabbidge and business partner Luke Sullivan came across the Eltham Hotel. It’s a historic Northern Rivers pub, built in 1903, with a colourful history: in addition to being a public house, it was also a brothel.

But the trio fell in love with the building, and resolved to restore it.

Each room at the Eltham hotel has its own colour palette and design motif. In one room, there are cornflower blue walls and bedding, contrasted with eye-popping mustard pillows. In another, you’ll find artfully upholstered sage green chairs and midnight blue cushions, set against blush pink walls.

Ashwood and Rabbidge spent a long time scouring online vintage stores to furnish and accessorise the Eltham. The end result feels chintzy but elegant.

Downstairs is more of a classic pub affair. Chef Greg Andren runs the kitchen with a menu that respects pub classics, while offering a rotating selection of more inventive specials.

After a meal that might span guindilla peppers, or classic schnitties and steak sandwiches, guests and locals can choose from an extensive selection of regional beer and wine, then settle in for an evening of great live music downstairs.

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Updated: December 15th, 2022

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