A grand old lady at 146 years old, the Kaikoura Boutique Hotel has just had an expensive makeover.
The owners were celebrating their one-year anniversary of buying the historic building and the completion of major renovations right before the earthquake struck.
If you have ever spent a long time making something or working a project, you could imagine just how gutting it has been.
The last lick of paint went on just last week following nine months of renovations, and all the five-star rooms in the boutique hotel were trashed in seconds, forcing the owners and the guests to flee for their lives.
The guests fled their shattered second-floor rooms, where glass was flying and the walls cracking.
"I'm just grateful. I'm really grateful no one was hurt."
Owner Jen Barnes is now back at the hotel to inspect the devastating and costly damage.
"We were full all the way through to March, and Warren managed to get some signal and download his emails and we had 204 cancellations in the last 24 hours," says Ms Barnes.
Dutch couple Hilde and Silve Casanellas were among the guests who escaped unharmed, and it was their first night in the hotel on their honeymoon.
"At first my husband thought someone drunk in the yard was trying to get into our room, but I had been in an earthquake years and years ago and I said, 'No, this is an earthquake,' and then I was paralysed," recalls Ms Casanellas.
The building is an icon in Kaikoura and dates back to 1870. Ms Barnes is determined to rebuild the hotel.
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