The Hermitage Hotel has long been synonymous with the Kiwi spirit of adventure. Its history is scattered with flood, fire, triumph and tragedy. Since first being built in 1884, The Hermitage has stood as a perfect escape destination for generations of Kiwis and international travelers, spell-bound by the Mount Cook region.
The first Hermitage was built in 1884, under the direction of Frank Huddleston. Huddleston, surveyor and water colour artist from Timaru, was appointed ranger for the Mount Cook area because of fears that local vegetation, especially the bush and the native lilies and daisies, would be destroyed by grazing and burning. This initial accommodation house was set in twelve hectares near the base of the Mueller Glacier, beside White Horse Hill. It was a small cob building, with a pond formed from the hole where the clay was dug for the sun-dried bricks. The present Hermitage looks out past White Horse Hill to the Hooker Valley and Mount Cook.