Hospitality Galore

Clients will feel at home at New Zealand’s hosted lodgings

By: Janice Mucalov

When it comes to manaakitanga a Maori concept meaning “hospitality” New Zealand’s “hosted” accommodations offer a warm, friendly and personal Kiwi experience. Your stay may be in a farm, country inn, lodge or home. The owners typically welcome you upon arrival, perhaps inviting you to join them for a glass of wine before dinner, so they can talk about the local sights and history.

A delicious breakfast at a communal guest table is included in the rate; dinner is sometimes offered too. And when you set off for a day’s touring, your hosts will be there, giving you maps, directions, restaurant recommendations (and even beach mats!) making sure you have everything you need to enjoy the day.

A Villa in Auckland
The gracious Stafford Villa, built from one of New Zealand’s magnificent Kauri trees in 1903, has two guestrooms. We stayed in the Tuscany Summer Suite a light-filled carpeted retreat with a king bed adorned with white damask sheets and piles of goose-feather pillows. A silver vase of roses scented the room, a box of handmade truffles begged to be opened, and a welcome note bid us to help ourselves to complimentary port or sherry in the library. In the en suite bathroom, I discovered lavender soaps, fragrant candles and silk kimonos. The second guestroom, the China Blue Suite, has its own balcony overlooking the lush sub-tropical garden.

Located in a leafy residential area on the northern shore of Auckland, Stafford Villa is surrounded by several parks, beaches and “bushwalks.” Breakfast included poached pears and fresh fruit, natural yogurt, free-range eggs and vanilla French toast with bacon, sliced banana and maple syrup. The property is just a short walk from the 10-minute passenger ferry to Auckland’s city center. It’s also only a short drive away from the historic seaside village of Devonport a lovely day trip. On the way to Devonport, we stopped to stroll and watch sailboats in the bay.

McHardy Mansion
Built before 1910, McHardy House is a grand mansion in a suburb of Napier. It’s renovated to perfection, with 15-foot ceilings, polished wood floors and antique furniture.

There are three suites with a king bed and separate bathtub and shower, and three queen-bedded rooms with shower only. Our very large Venice suite, decorated in navy blue tones, had an inviting bay window seating area. Nearby, the sunny Versailles overlooks the forest.

Because Napier lies in the premium wine-producing region of Hawkes Bay, McHardy House is the ideal base for touring the wineries.

The other must-do activity is to book a “gannet safari” to see the world’s largest, most accessible nesting colony of gannets members of the booby bird family. Gannett Beach Adventures takes clients along the ocean’s edge at nearby Cape Kidnappers, from where you climb up a hill to see the 1,500 breeding pairs of gannets nesting on the ground. The birds aren’t shy, so you can observe them from as close as three feet away.

At the end of the day, back at McHardy House, clients are only a five- minute drive from dinner at one of Napier’s waterfront restaurants.


McHardy House
Facilities include a billiards room and small heated swimming pool. Rates include breakfast and run from $457 for a room with a queen bed (the 12½ percent tax is extra). Commission: 10 percent

Stafford Villa
Until Sept. 30, 2008, rates run between $295 and $330 per suite, and include a five-course breakfast and taxes. Commission: 10 percent