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“Good but not quite as special as we hoped”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Escape to Picton

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Escape to Picton
Ranked #5 of 22 Picton B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Dundee, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Good but not quite as special as we hoped”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 September 2009

We were expecting great things. It was okay but by no means wow. We had booked the Sea Room through the Wotif website for one night but when we arrived got the impression that they had no idea we were coming. As a hotel that only has 3 rooms they had to ask us which room we had booked even after giving our name. Thankfully we got in to our room straight away and were pleased to see all was in order and looked impressive. The bathroom was grand but it was disappointing to discover that there was no shower other than that attached to the taps over the lovely roll top bath. Our conclusion was the true luxury in this hotel is in the suites upstairs and the Sea Room is only the poor cousin for those (like us!) wanting to stay in a nice hotel but not pay top dollar.

We booked for dinner and went out for a wander around Picton, which was undergoing some major renovations and not looking at its best. Dinner was good (especially the garlic bread!), and we took advantage of the winter menu offer, though the mains were weaker in flavour than you might hope for. There was a good selection of local wines to compliment the menu- as one would expect in Marlborough!

Our main gripe was having requested breakfast for 7:45, we were informed that it would be the continental breakfast delivered to our room as the 'gourmet' breakfast incuded in the room price isn't normally served until 10am. Usually, this would suit us on a leisurely break but as we had to be at the adventure centre round the corner at 8:30 we were surprised it was too early to expect full breakfast beforehand. If 10am serving is standard policy then it should be made clear when booking, as there will often be guests in Picton needing to catch transport in the morning. We did get a cooked breakfast served cheerfully in the morning, but we couldn't help feel that we had rocked the boat a bit.

Over all we felt that it was a bit disappointing, despite having had a very comfortable stay, perhaps because we have had better for less elsewhere. It wasn't that it was bad, it just wasn't as special as we had hoped.

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Likesaholiday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Escapetopicton, Owner at Escape to Picton, responded to this review, 10 October 2009
Hello Trip advisor,

I would like to clarify some points made by the above review.

The guests were greeted in our restaurant as they came in though this entrance, we had another suite booked this evening and I was not at our accommodation desk, so unfortunately I did not have our reservation book in front of me. We greet every one in a very polite manner and always ask which room they have booked. We were aware they were booked so I am surprised by this statement.
Our Sea Room is on the ground floor and at a lower price point then the two upstairs but again very beautiful. Their rate was $220 including breakfast with a 3pm check in and a 12 o’clock check out again very reasonable. The two suites upstairs are priced accordling and this is standard in any hotel to have differing suites, with differing prices.
The guest’s received not a cooked breakfast as they stated it was a gourmet breakfast which was included, breakfast is served by us at any time and not 10am as stated, this breakfast was cooked at 7.30am as we feel this isn’t clear in the review. What was asked by the waiter the night before was would they like a continental breakfast due to their 7.30am start, a lot of our guests wish to have this in their room prior to starting a track walk etc, not that we are trying to avoid cooking them breakfast. When they stated they wished to have the gourmet breakfast which is two course’s toast, fruit, muesli and then a cooked option they were accommodated as we would with any guests. Again we would like to clarify and make clear breakfast is served any time a guests wish to have it.
Also we believe our food to be second to none and they are the first to think it was off par! Juliearna Kavanagh.

Escape to Picton has just won the best new re-developed accommodation hotel for HANZ in New Zealand.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Sydney
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 August 2009

I took my husband on his 1st ever trip overseas. We stayed 4 nights at Escape to Picton. Our room was absolutely beautiful and Sooo comfortable. The food was devine with a large selection of superb quisine. The staff made us feel very welcome and they new exactly what wine to serve with each dish. This was impressive. As my husband is Gluten Free their menu more than catered for his needs. They even devised a delicious chocolate desert just for him. For all chocolate lovers it was to die for. To make our trip more personal Chef and Owner dined with us on one occasion and we were lucky enough to meet her children who sang and serenaded us on the piano. An extremely talented family. We could not have asked for better service, room and food with an extremely personal touch. FANTASTIC!!

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank TACUMMINGS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
new zealand
Level Contributor
107 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 August 2009

A cosy retreat with top quality fittings and facilities on the Picton waterfront.
Off-street parking .
The rooms are large and comfortable.
The bathrooms have big showers and spa-baths complete with bubble-bath.
Beds are comfortable.
Tea/coffee making facilities just out-side bedroom door.
staff are friendly and helpful.

  • Stayed May 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank rugratNewZealand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Christchurch
Level Contributor
19 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 July 2009

Picton has never tasted anything like this before. For the first time in 100 years there IS a stunning food oasis at the southern end of the New Zealand inter-islander ferry journey. It’s called Escape to Picton.

This is a tiny luxury hotel, bar and glorious $40+ mains restaurant. Escape to Picton is the brainchild of energiser-bunny, chef, hotel owner, former model, entrepreneur and ball of dynamite Juliearna Kavanagh who used to own and run Kavanagh House in Winchester, north of Timaru.

The food at Escape to Picton matches any cuisine in the main cities and has the bonus of having tranquil Marlborough Sounds upmarket ambience. The building is the 1907-built BNZ Bank. It was derelict until Juliearna did NZ architects and historical protection a favour and ‘did it up’ – and how.

The tiny three-bedroom $450 a night hotel is equal to any $1000 a night lodge in Queenstown plus it has pizzazz, oomph and staggeringly fine food. I loved their seafood chowder of fish, salmon, mussel and scallop with their homebake bread. The pumping jazz music lifts the building into another planet.

The sun shines, the Seresin Reserve chardonnay flows and the salmon on baked caramelised salmon is uncluttered, heavenly and dovetails perfectly with the environment. A southern French front of house manager is a perfect host. An Irish gap year student waiter and bar staff adds quality to the evening. A smiling blonde waitress named Jenna is a genuine and naturally gifted hostess who puts one at ease. Above all, there is Juliearna, Marlborough’s answer to Fleur of famous Fleur’s in Moeraki 500km south – and more!

There is ranking system for accommodation in New Zealand based on stars. Five stars and above being luxury; four stars and below being cheaper, less in quality.

They should scrap this idea and base the system on pillows. The Escape to Picton tiny hotel in New Zealand would be right at the top as a 13-pillow hotel. That’s what I had in my ‘Modern Suite’ and it was divine. This is one of the sexiest most romantic hideaways in New Zealand and it is brand spanking new. Well, new as in newly opened. But Escape to Picton is a boutique hotel, bar and restaurant in a 101 year old building.

The lodge is Juliearna’s creation. She set up and ran Kavanagh House is the southern part of New Zealand for 15 years. Then she bought Escape to Picton, as a derelict old building on April fool’s Day 2007. She is a great chef and wonderful personality. Her husband Killinan Kavanagh, who lives in Dublin, runs the graphics design company for the band U2, is a former top rugby player and his dad was an Irish senator.

Juliearna wondered past the old building two years ago and decided on the spot to buy it. It was run down, unused but she was determined to restore the 1907 old bank, rather than have it flattened for a modern building.

With a designer friend, Juliearna transformed the old bank into the finest luxury lodge in this part of the world. The colours are soothing, the fittings stunning and some features outright romantic...such as the sexy stand alone sway bathe in the middle of the bathroom of the Formal Suite.

This is the perfect escape in the first step on to the scenic and majestic South Island.

Stayed May 2009, travelled on business
Helpful?
Thank WordChristchurch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Picton, South Island,
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 December 2008

There can be no better compliment of a hotel than to say that it was like staying with friends.
The rooms are lush and comfortable, the bar and restaurant fabulous and the service and attention to customer wishes sublime. It is no exaggeration to say that our every wish was anticipated and fulfilled, almost before we'd thought of it.
We'd recommend this wonderful find in a truly lovely spot on this glorious stretch of the northern coastline of the South Island.
To leave the ferry and drive through Picton and NOT stop to sample the delights of this boutique hotel and the natural wonders of the surrounding area would be folly.
Go on treat yourself!

  • Liked — Luxurious and comfortable
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed October 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Millbert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Christchurch
2 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 December 2008

We needed to escape and that is what we did, the choice was perfect. The room was a world away from anything we have ever stayed in before. Looking out over the boats in the early morning made us not want to leave. We will be back to enjoy the food and hospitality.

  • Liked — Hospitality
  • Disliked — Parking
  • Stayed October 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank bartongirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Escape to Picton

Property: Escape to Picton
Address: 33 Wellington Street, Picton 8170, New Zealand
Region: New Zealand > South Island > Marlborough Region > Picton
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 22 B&Bs / Inns in Picton
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — Escape to Picton 5*
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Also Known As:
Escape To Picton New Zealand - Marlborough

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