This story was originally published in FQ Life, June 2016.
Te Mata Peak towers in the foreground while the Tukituki River meanders gently along behind Hawke’s Bay’s newest luxury accommodation, Craggy Range Lodge.
Its chic doors opened in March this year in the dramatic setting that is home to the winery and its restaurant, Terroir.
The lodge is tucked inobtrusively behind the commanding building that is Craggy Range Giants Winery in the Tukituki Valley.
Like the winery, the lodge exudes high class chic with no expense spared. Its four large king bedrooms each have vast ensuites, oversized window seats looking up to the peak and across to the river. These comfortable big rooms are designed around a large, open plan living area with a kitchen so well kitted out that it would easily be the envy of any professional chef, let alone a budding one.
There are two living areas in the lodge. One includes the kitchen, a long dining table and a casual lounge while the second one offers a more formal living room and dining table. An outdoor atrium courtyard has its own barbecue, fireplace and spectacular views up to the rocky peak above the winery.
The lodge was designed in stages by architects John Blair and Simon Clarkson, while its locally sourced artwork, antiques and furnishings were selected by the mother-daughter design team, Mary Peabody and her daughter Mary-Jeanne Hutchinson, both members of the family who own Craggy Range Winery.
“It was important to us to use as many locally sourced materials as possible. New Zealand, and in particular Napier and Havelock North, offer a world class range of artwork, antiques and furnishings and we felt the lodge was an ideal location to showcase the region’s treasures,” says Hutchinson, who worked alongside interior designer Andrew Melville to channel the lodge’s classic country look and feel.
Rustic wooden floors, sandstone surfaces and pewter finishes provide the lodge with a soft and natural colour palate.
Guests can take early morning walks to the top of Te Mata Peak up a clearly marked track across the road from the lodge. Helicopter rides over the peak, private tutored wine tastings and dinner at Terroir Restaurant are among the activites on offer to guests at the lodge.
Craggy Range Wines was established in 1997 and its winemaking focus is on single vineyard wines with flavours that reflect the microclimates of different vineyards. These wines are available for guests, as is a personal, in-lodge chef.
A stay can include bike riding around wineries, golf at the nearby coastal lodge at Cape Kidnappers and guided fly fishing. Craggy Range Lodge’s no-holds-barred luxury comes at a relatively modest price compared to many other top end luxury getaways. And with the winery right next door, it is possible to enjoy winery tours, tastings and knowledge while taking time out.
Craggy Range Lodge and the Giants Winery are at 253 Waimarama Road, Havelock North, phone (06) 873 7126. www.craggyrange.com
Marlborough winery accommodation
The Bell Tower on Dog Point
Luxury New Zealand style is the theme for the French-Tuscan looking Bell Tower on Dog Point. The most luxurious aspects of tower are its spectacular view of vines as the building nestles into the top of a Marlborough hillside, surrounded by the region’s sea of Sauvignon Blanc vines. The vast tower has large lounges, bedrooms and en suites (all with baths) are spacious and comfortable with high spec’ linen, heated floors and a host to drive guests out for dinner and back again. A self-catered separate facility called The French Farm was constructed at the same time as the majestic tower, but has a more rustic recycled feel. This contrasts strongly with the main tower’s straw bale construction.
“We want guests to have a very relaxing stay that feels instantly chilled and also super luxurious,” says host Kirsty Sutherland, daughter of Ivan and Margaret, who bought the Bell Tower in 2007. The Sutherlands were among the first to plant Vitis vinifera grapes (the European wine grape species, which makes wine) in Marlborough in the 1970s. Ivan is a former Olympic rower, who won bronze for New Zealand in 1976. He is also the co-founder of Dog Point Vineyards, along with winemaker James Healy. Their flagship wine is Dog Point Section 94, a maverick style of Sauvignon Blanc. The Bell Tower is open year-round and is a five minute drive from the Blenheim airport.
The Bell Tower is at 71 Brookby Road, Blenheim, phone 03 572 8831 or email: email@example.com
Ruth and Barry Struthers moved from busy corporate lives in Timaru to a more languid existence on the outskirts of Blenheim in 2008, planting French lavender, Tuscan olives and opening French Fields Bed & Breakfast – a humble name for their luxurious accommodation. There are three suites and a studio called Petite Maison. All have fully working shuttered windows – helpful on Marlborough’s hot days, long nights and windy spring weather. All rooms include walk-in showers, bath robes, beautiful views and access to a swimming pool. Not to mention wifi, mod cons and decadently delicious local ingredients at breakfast, which is a full French, three course affair. Most visitors spend the day at wineries or yachting in the nearby Marlborough Sounds. The property is within five minutes’ drive of a day spa and golf course. Its theme was inspired by holidays in the south of France, which Ruth says reminded them of Marlborough. They moved there after their children left home and they realized they had at least one good adventure left in them. That adventure has become their home and work at French Fields. It’s an apt description. Visitors can enjoy wine and platters of local produce (including French Fields olive oil) in the sun drenched courtyard.
French Fields is at Fairbourne Drive, Blenheim, phone 03 578 6801, email: firstname.lastname@example.org