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
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.
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
Because Napier lies in the premium wine-producing region of
Hawkes Bay, McHardy House is the ideal base for touring the
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
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
Until Sept. 30, 2008, rates run between $295 and $330 per suite,
and include a five-course breakfast and taxes. Commission: 10