After traveling throughout the Easter break and staying at a variety of accommodation we arrived at Hamner Springs hoping to indulge in a spot of luxury. How wrong can one be!
I should have known better and at least read up on the what's on for the region as there was a Bull Riding & Rodeo "get together" and every single place was booked up, Just for that one night. So we moved on.
Kaikoura same thing totally full except one property with two rooms remaining but at $920.00 a night, including dinner but not wine!!!
Arriving in Blenheim, eventually we found a place about on par with the manger "At the Inn" But we will leave that review until later as the horror of the memory will cause further sleepless nights.
At first light we departed faster than a Greyhound out of the trap. We drove over to visit various vineyards heading out towards Renwick, keeping an eye open for that "special" place to make up for my prior night's disaster.
We drove around the Renwick township twice, catching a light breakfast on the way, but there were few vacancy signs, a visit back to information centre in Blenheim at 9.00am and a request to the receptionist for a really good villa or cottage accommodation in or close to several vineyards and we were offered The Vintners Retreat. I advised we had seen this but it had a "No Vacancy" sign outside when we passed earlier. No problem I will call they may have some check outs later in the morning.
Success, a two bedroomed "house" with attached covered garage.... ideal as we were traveling with our Jack Russell dog who has been trained to sleep in the car....
We couldn't check in immediately but anytime after 1.00 pm. So off to lunch at Allan Scott's wonderful winery/restaurant for a sumptuous lunch (more about that in another review)
We arrived at the Vintners on time and really ready enjoy something special. We were met by the Manager who was most helpful and once the formalities were taken care of we were personally shown to our "house" and given a tour of how everything worked. He left us two keys one with the garage door opener attached.
Well it was a modern, clean looking and smelling home away from home, with all of the modern amenities one could think of. All functioning and milk and a complimentray bottle of wine in the refrigerator. The beds (two bedroom one upstairs with ensuite bathroom and spa bath, one down stairs with an excellant shower. We seleted upstairs because of the viws, and the warm breeze across the bedroom. We didn't use the spa bath given the water restrictions in place throughout the country, and really far too hot to use a bath anyway.
The beds were just beautiful, like sleeping on clouds, non too firm or soft "just right" as Goldilocks said. As was everything else.
We parked the car in the garage, and collected the dog and set off to the nearest of three major wineries within easy walking distance (no more than ten minutes).
The Manager was, a little surprised to see the dog and after assurances that he slept in the car, and he could call the Alpine Lodge in St Arnaud regarding his impeccable training, total lack of barking and shown our "mess removal" bags. He turned a blind eye. However we would recommend to others that because of the open gardens, beautifully prepared and maintained lawns and flower beds that, if they have a dog they should check with the manager first. There is a big difference between a small specifically travel trained Jack russell and a lumbering great dane which howels when left alone.
We returned to the accommodation after the last of the wineries closed, and we had arraged several cases to be delivered back home by courier (So much better than carting it along in the station wagon. Some light snacks, yet more excellant wine a little TV, then to bed. One becomes totally unaware of the 'Air Guns" going off ocassionally or even the huge fans set in the vine fields. Well we did anyway and morning came around all to soon.
leaving my wife to her ablutions I took the dog for its morning walk and upon opening the door discovered the daily paper had been delivered.
Upon returning beautifull freshly ground coffee was ready and a quick read of the paper, feed the dog and shower saw us all ready for the check out at 10.00am......
What a lovely experience, check out was without problem, advice given on various routes to miss the Easter rush to the ferry, which resulted in us taking the inland route which is by far the most beautiful, back up to Havelock and then on to Picton via the Queen Charlotte scenic drive. How on earth the Vitners retreat can be judged 22nd place is just beyond me. It was fantastic. We will return.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Luxurious and spacious accommodation at affordable rates, Vintners Retreat offers 14 European-styled, two and three bedroom self-contained villas nestled in the heart of Marlborough, New Zealand’s wine capital. Private and exclusive, Vintners Retreat offers it all to the discerning traveller. And mere minutes away are some of New Zealand's best wineries and fabulous restaurants and cafes. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Vintners Retreat Hotel
- Vintners Retreat Blenheim, Marlborough, New Zealand