Antonio Rodrigues, born on the Portuguese island of Madeira, came to Akaroa in 1858. In 1860 he built the first part of the building now known as Chez la Mer and ran a butchery and bakery business in it.
After letting his business, he ran the Criterion Hotel (see Turenne Dairy) for a few years, before taking his own premises over again. These he eventually extended and improved for the 1871 opening of the Madeira Hotel, which he ran until his death in 1905. A new Madeira Hotel was built next door to the old in 1907. The old building was retained.
A plain weatherboard building with dormers and sash windows, it is a fine example of early colonial architecture in New Zealand.