About Us

The Duke of Marlborough Hotel Since 1827

The Duke of Marlborough Hotel, situated on the waterfront, in Russell Bay of Islands has been operating since 1827 – legally since 1840 and offers a unique restaurant and accommodation experience.

With 38 rooms, an award-winning restaurant and an amazing function and event, the Duke - a 4.5-star hotel can’t be missed if you visit Russell or the Bay of Islands.   Take a tour by click here

The Restaurant

With two lovely decks overlooking the water, two restaurant spaces and a charming garden bar the Duke restaurant can’t be beaten for location. Or for that matter food! Serving up delectable delights for lunch and dinner the Duke of Marlborough restaurant is at the heart of this historical hotel.  The menu showcases locally sourced seasonal produce, presenting a new take on classic favorites. Click here to see our current menu and here to see our current wine list.

Being surrounded by water the menu is influenced by the sea and all it has to offer - from our local Waikare Inlet Oysters or perhaps our market fish to the timeless fish and chips served in a crisp beer batter with hand cut chips - simply divine!  Carnivores will not be disappointed, dishes include our classic slow roasted lamb shoulder or Grass Fed “Savannah” Eye Fillet - there is something for everyone.

Every menu contains vegetarian options and we can cater to most dietary requirements.  We have an extensive beverage list with over 100 wines and 30 beers all of which are specially chosen to complement our menu.

Be sure to book.  It’s popular!


The Rooms

Since the current owners bought the Duke in 2010 the rooms have been extensively renovated and with an additional 13 been added in 2018, there is a great choice of rooms. From our premium waterfront room that opens onto a balcony with views to Paihia and Waitangi and overlooks the magnificent Bay of Islands to our new superior rooms with balconies overlooking the village, there is a range of rooms to suit. Whatever your choice, The Duke of Marlborough Hotel and Russell provide a great launching pad for all The Bay of Islands has to offer.

A recent addition to our guest service is a hotel exclusive Gym, plus the use of the tennis courts right next door to the gym and of course the ocean on our doorstep!



Weddings & Functions

With views over the water, magnificent sunsets, and outstanding food and service you could not wish for a better place to hold your wedding or corporate function. We have a dedicated wedding and function team who have a wealth of experience in running weddings and functions making sure each event is unique and special in its own right. 

The Duke is a venue where you can embrace the history and charm of New Zealand’s first licensed Hotel – a truly unique wedding and conference venue. Just imagine yourself there! 


The Location

In terms of a location, The Duke couldn’t be located in a sweeter spot. Overlooking the water towards Paihia and Waitangi, the Duke is situated right in the heart of Russell and facing west has the most AMAZING water views and sunsets.   A 10-minute stroll to one of our best beaches – Long Beach and a bit more of a huff and a puff up to Flag Staff Historic Reserve for the best views in the Bay of Islands. Jump in the car and you are only minutes away from Tapeka beach – locals best-kept secret (until now).

And of course being situated in the Bay of Islands – there are activities aplenty on the water, fishing, sailing, swimming, diving you name it, it’s here.  And don’t worry there is plenty for land lovers as well.  Our new mountain bike park in Waitangi, cycle trail, and an abundance of walks and history and culture tours are a great choice for those who fancy a change from the water.

For more on the Bay of Islands and things to do click here

The History

You pretty much can’t go anywhere in Russell without coming across some part of New Zealand’s history – and The Duke is no different. Established in 1827 – and received NZ’s New Zealand’s first Liquor license in 1840, the Duke holds a special place in many people’s hearts.  

It’s present owners  Anton and Bridget Haagah, Riki Kinnaird and Jayne Shirley who purchased the property in 2010 are doing their best to continue its long and successful history and make sure the Duke remains in pride of place in Russell and the Bay of islands long after they have departed.  For more information about the history of the Duke click here 

What our customers say

Mark and I would like to thank you, Bridget, Ida, Janna and all the Duke team for being so fabulous with the organisation of our wedding. Words cannot express how indebted we are to you all. This was not an easy wedding to organise, with having the Hindu ceremony at 1pm and then having to transform the hall for the reception at 5pm. However you all made it look so easy and everything was perfect. At the start of the reception, Bruce informed me that we were only 4 mins behind the schedule prepared months ago. To achieve this is testimony to the fabulous organisational skills of the rest of the Duke team. On the day, I knew I was in good hands and didn't have to worry about a thing. I have had so many great compliments about how fantastic the food was so would you please pass on my regards to the chef. The venison was delightful and simply melted in your mouth. From what I understand the canapés were a real hit with the guests too. Also thank you for being so accommodating with the Sri Lankan food for the Hindu ceremony. I have to say a big thank you for all the hard work you have all put over the last 9 months. You were so fantastic with coming up with solutions to any problem I had and so efficient at getting things organised. You were always ready to talk and never too busy. And of course all of this hard work was always done with a smile. When we chose to have the wedding at the Duke 11 months ago, it was because we loved the fabulous meals we had there and loved the decor and feel of the place. But let me tell you, the Duke now holds a very special place in our hearts and it is because of the fabulous team of people who we have gotten to know so well and who made our wedding day so special. Mark and I will be up there to visit from time to time and we have already planned to spend our wedding anniversary at the Duke too. Thank-you so much. Shivani & Mark

- Shivani & Mark 19th March 2016,

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