On the outside, the Farm at Cape Kidnappers resembles a cluster of farm buildings, but step inside this New Zealand ranch and you won’t be greeted by bleating sheep or mowing cattle. Instead, you’ll step into a five-star luxury lodge hotel as only could happen in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Yes, there are still sheep and cattle roaming the 6,000 rolling acres of pasture land, but these farm animals only add to the ambience. And the views! Wow, your eyes will feast on 180-degree panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, and you will truly feel you’ve escaped from it all.
A member of the exclusive Relais & Chateaux, collection, the Farm at Cape Kidnappers is located in New Zealand’s famed Hawke’s Bay region, about four hours from Wellington. Hawke’s Bay is known for its beautiful vistas, spectacular scenery, wineries, orchards and gourmet cuisine.
A 10 minute drive takes you past the rolling acres with sheep and cattle dotted along the way, before finally arriving at the sprawling cluster of lodge buildings, consisting of weathered wood and river stone. Check in to the main lodge and the elegant ranch theme continues with wooden beams, fireplaces and earthy colors. Check-in occurred at an intimate sit-down reception desk. Then we were directed to our rooms without assistance by bell staff. Unfortunately, I found the lack of bell staff a bit disconcerting as I had just broken my wrist, even more so when I realized I had to climb stairs to my room.
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers offers 22 cottage suites, two with adjoining second bedroom, and a four-bedroom Owner’s Cottage. High vaulted ceilings, large picture windows, sheepskin-covered chairs, and photographs set the scene for elegantly rustic accommodations, as in my Hill Top Suite. White-washed clapboard-like walls and ceiling kept the room fresh-looking, and I thankfully sank into the high end Italian bedding for a much needed nap. I was surprised to learn that the interior design is by Linda Bedell of Aspen, Colorado, not far from my Denver home!
Flat screen TVs with DVD players, walk-in closets, and spacious bathroom with oversized tub and – my favorite – heated towel racks. A large picture window overlooked the expansive property, and I found myself drawn to the scenery, so much so that I finally plopped myself in the chair to watch the birds flit from greenery to greenery. In the distance, I also spotted a herd of horses – simply beautiful and so relaxing!
A work desk was located in the entry, nicely separating the living space from the working with high speed internet available.
The Lodge is a maze with cubbyholes of rooms with overstuffed sofas and chairs. Choose from two dining rooms and covered “loggia,” a long rectangular dining area with floor to ceiling windows. The latter is where we enjoyed a hot breakfast. For other dining, choose from a gourmet a la carte menu or five course tasting menus.
Although the surrounding Hawke’s Bay region offers an expansive slate of activities, you’ll be tempted to stay on property to enjoy an array of amenities. Choose from a full-service day spa, heated pool, Jacuzzi and cabana.
On property, you can enjoy farm tours, gannet tors, ATV quad biking, kiwi discover guided walks, hiking and even picnics. Area activities include world-class fly-fishing, wine tours, art deco tours at nearby Napier, hot air balloon rides, horseback riding, and river kayaking.
This property is known for its 71 championship golf course, designed by Tom Doak. A stunning and challenging course that cuts through the ranch property, alternatively with views of pasture land and grazing herds of sheep or cattle, and then golfers will come upon an ocean view that will leave them speechless.
Who wouldn’t like to escape to New Zealand? The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is the perfect balance of traditional ranch style with luxury accommodations, abundance of on-site activities, and far enough away from the “real” world to truly feel as if you’ve escaped. Yes, you’ll pay for your luxury stay – low seaso $700+ NZD per person, yet rates do include pre-dinner drinks and breakfast — and it’ll be worth it!
Accommodations courtesy of the Farm at Cape Kidnappers.
Photos courtesy of The Farm at Cape Kidnappers