My partner and I recently returned from a 9 day surprise anniversary holiday excursion to New Zealand, during which we stayed our last 2 nights at the Greenhill Lodge. (We previously stayed 1 night at the Westin Auckland, 3 nights at the Spire Hotel in Queenstown, and 2 nights at the Wharekauhau Lodge in Wairarapa.) We prefer to stay in out of the way boutique properties, or in city hotels like the Four Seasons or Ritz Carleton or comparable luxury hotels. Greenhill is a wonderful boutique lodge in a rural area adjacent to the winery region of Hawke's Bay, and we absolutely loved it.
First, the location is exquisite. You are perched high on the top of a hillside looking out onto the pastures and rolling hills in every direction. Lambs and sheep are everywhere around you. You feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. That being said, it was only a 15-20 minute drive to many of the wineries in the Hawke's Bay wine region.
Second, the lodge, itself, is beautiful. Restored Victorian manor house, as previously stated, and the owners, Neil and Craig, did a great job making it feel comfortable and traditional yet with a chic clean decor style that showed very well. We were one of only 2 couples the first night, and the only couple there for our second night, so we really felt like it was our own little place away from home.
We stayed in the Villa Suite separate from the main lodge, which was more like a cottage unto itself. We had a nice living room and dining area, as well as a master bedroom and bath and separate bedroom with 2 twin beds, as well as another full bath and a spacious kitchen/bar. We used the 2nd bedroom as a staging area for our clothes. The master was small and cozy, and the master bath was small, as well, but since we had the additional full bath, we each had our own bathroom/shower, so it didn't feel cramped. (IHad we been a family of four, though, it might have been a wee bit more crowded.) We had a huge deck looking out onto unobstructed views of the surrounding country, with grazing lambs often coming right up to the deck. There was a separate deck with an English style bathtub off the master bedroom. Very cute. Very chic decor amidst a very traditional cottage setting. It really was a cute place to stay--we felt like we were renting our own small cottage, rather than staying at a lodge. It was just a short 2 minute walk to get to the Lodge, itself.
Service was great. The owners, Craig and Neil, were both gracious hosts. Trevor, their manager, was also wonderfully warm and hospitable. Whenever we needed anything, they were more than happy to help of give suggestions.
Food was altogether good if not great. We had wonderful breakfasts each morning, and they were more than happy to oblige our varied requests off the menu. Dinners were 3 or 4 course affairs, and they generally were great--though my partner's chicken the first night was just OK. (My lamb, not surprisingly, was fantastic.) However, when we realized the price for the dinners, I must confess that they didn't quite measure up to some of the best restaurants we visited while in New Zealand. Good but not great, again. The food at Wharekauhau was definitely a bit better, but we still enjoyed the food and dining at Greenhill.
We were in Hawke's Bay to do wine tasting, and the wineries were wonderful. We had a private guide who was sensational--Yvonne Marie Lorkin, a New Zealand wine columnist and consultant, who was warm, engaging, friendly, and extremely knowledgeable about the country's wine industry as a whole. She took us on an amazing tour of the best wineries in Hawke's Bay, along with tastings with the proprietors and winemakers at almost all of those we visited. We really felt like we got the best of Hawke's Bay in Yvonne's hands. If you are visiting, definitely try to arrange to tour with her if she is available.
Otherwise, we didn't do much while at Greenhill but relax and chill out. What a wondeful place to do that!
We highly recommend Greenhill. My partner had originally booked us to stay at the Lodge at Cape Kidnappers, but wisely changed our booking once he reviewed photos and realized it might be a bit too formal and traditional for us. Greenhill was a nice combination of great service, extremely remote locale with great access to Hawke's Bay, with a traditional feel and yet reasonably chic decor and style all blended together. I also felt that Greenhill offered us the New Zealand cottage/homestead feel far more than other accommodation might have been able to provide, particularly because we stayed in the Villa Suite. We lacked wireless internet in the Villa Suite, which frustrated us again, but that didn't preclude us from enjoying our stay at all, of course. (The Lodge has wireless, of course.)
We would highly recommend Greenhill Lodge, though we might encourage them to consider better pricing for their dinner menu. All in all, we really enjoyed our stay there and would certainly consider staying there again if our travels ever brought us back to Hawke's Bay.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A gracious, elegant and historic country homestead located just 25 minutes to Napier and 15 minutes to either Havelock North or Hastings, ideally situated in the heart of New Zealand's food and wine country with over 50 wineries, local farmers markets and organic produce stores nearby.Greenhill is an opulent yet tranquil retreat, situated on a hilltop overlooking lush farm and grazing land.Having hosted English royalty this historic homestead houses two luxurious suites and two elegant guest rooms, most of which open to wide verandas and sensational views over magnificent gardens with historic mature trees. A private Cottage set apart from the lodge offers two bedrooms and two ensuite bathrooms with an elegant lounge and a luxurious outside bath. Behind the lodge lies a swimming pool, croquet lawn and a flourishing private orchard with a herb garden.Greenhill offers the finest luxury lodge experience in Hawke's Bay. ... more less
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