My wife and I had been under a bit of stress at work and we decided we both needed time out to relax. I knew this hotel existed purely by seeing it perched high up on a hill while travelling state highway one many times and decided to visit their website and tripadvisor to check it out.
Tripadvisor reviewers had nothing but good things to say about the place so I made a booking. I booked one of their three 1 bedroom suites (Mackintosh Suite) which is on the lower level of three - two other suites exist and are at the same end of the complex on the next two levels above. Our suite did look over the carpark but the view beyond was beautiful and a 200 degree panorama. I think one car moved about in the carpark for a minute or so while we were there so no problem. This place is not open to the public for dining or the bar, hotel guests only so it is very peaceful! The higher suites look over the roof of the other suites beneath them but still see the same magnificent view of the countryside. The view to the right (east) is right out to Mount Te Aroha and the Kaimai Ranges - to the west is the undulating Waikato countryside and a partial view of one of the many lakes west of the main highway, several hundred vertical feet below the hotel.
The restaurant and conference centre are on the top of the hotel complex and the views from the restaurant are special. At night we saw the lights of Hamilton glowing clearly to the south. There is an observation room above the restaurant with binoculars provided and the view is even better!
The Mackintosh suite we stayed in was beautiful inside and very spacious. We would stay there again in a heartbeat.
Our "Romance" package included a bottle of bubbles (in the fridge on arrival), a three course dinner and breakfast the next morning. All this and the beautiful suite was $375 NZ and really worth it. We had some drinks in the delightful house bar before our dinner and there was a nice artificial fire going with native bush outside the windows.
The three course meal was one of the finest I have ever had - smoked eel risotto with loads of flavour for an entree, the best eye fillet main I can remember and we both had a feijoa tart tartin with a beautiful sticky sauce and homemade ice-cream for dessert. Nothing could be faulted.
The waitress was very pleasant and I met the chef earlier and he was a really good bloke.
The breakfast lived up to expectations as well. We were told that a blueberry crepe with fresh cream was good but we both had the delicious "hearty" cooked breaky instead. We saw someone else having the crepes as we left and it looked nothing short of magnificent!
The next morning I went for a walk which started from the access road (Rangi's Track) below the hotel. This is a 4wd farm road but it passes through really nice native bush and open areas giving pleasant views. I walked it in July and it was surprisingly good underfoot but obviously no problem away from winter months. I only walked the first 2km of it each way.
All in all, it was a memorable stay and we will be back, especially since this peaceful spot is only an hour's drive south of Auckland where we live.
Thanks Hillside Hotel for a memorable weekend away!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Escape the city to fresh air and tranquility. Hillside Hotel is a country retreat and eco-lodge, a Qualmark four star boutique hotel with an enviro-gold rating. Nestled amongst native forest on top of the Taupiri Ranges, Hillside offers panoramic views of iconic New Zealand landscape scenery; Every room has a view.On the main tourist route south of Auckland; 1 hour drive from Auckland Airport and just 4km off the highway makes Hillside Hotel an ideal first stop or last stop in New Zealand; lovely stop point on the way to Hobbiton or Waitomo.Situated on Hillside Station -a large working farm with 300 acres of private native rain forest reserve with easy walking trails right from the hotel grounds. Beautiful photography opportunities from anywhere in the hotel.Free Wi-fi and parking; on-site licensed restaurant (reservations essential- may close early if no bookings) and cafes nearby. Rooms are very spacious and open direct to the outside. Rooms are connected by covered walkways and stairs sheltered by native bush. ... more less
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