Even the driveway at this farm stay on New Zealand’s North Island is extravagant: it takes a full 15 minutes – tracking through green hills and pine plantations – to reach the main lodge. All oak and stone, the central building is designed to look like an Arkansas homestead, albeit one with a Picasso in the lounge room and an amply stocked wine cellar, complete with a house sommelier. Then there’s the sunroom, which takes in glimpses of the property’s Tom Doak-designed fairways (counted among the world’s top 30 golf courses), and A-list guests such as Paul McCartney. But the real star is the Cape Kidnappers peninsula – a view even the Picasso can’t compete with.
About 430 kilometres south-east of Auckland, Cape Kidnappers is set in the country’s second-largest wine region, Hawke’s Bay (only Marlborough is bigger). Most guests fly into Napier, a 30-minute drive from the Te Awanga property, though there’s a helipad on the golf course if that’s more your style. Hawke’s Bay is home to 76 wineries and the belle of the region, Elephant Hill, is just a 10-minute drive away.
The homestead theme (more chic than rustic chic) continues throughout the 22 suites and owner’s cottage. The premium Ridge Suites resemble small homes, each one kitted out with an open fireplace, a huge walk-in wardrobe and a deck to make the most of the lofty vantage point. Vintage tractor seats hang above the California king-sized bed, while the sprawling bathtub – set by a window overlooking the rolling hills and bay beyond – is framed by plantation shutters. A clever sound system plays music from your smartphone throughout the entire suite so you can get stuck into the complimentary minibar and soak up some tunes while making use of that gorgeous tub.
Eat and drink
Complimentary cocktails and canapés are served in the main lodge at 6pm (word to the wise: blokes are expected to wear a jacket). For dinner, choose the intimate sunroom over the more formal dining room and you’ll get sunset views with your five-course tasting menu. The blue cod served with the farm’s own spinach, a delicate smoked-potato purée and a caper, sage and brown-butter sauce is a standout. The house sommelier will help you navigate the extensive cellar, while a log fire takes care of the evening chill.
Find a room
For business travellers
Cape Kidnappers specialises in small conferences and team gatherings (it can host up to 56 guests). Stay in the four-bedroom, four-bathroom owner’s cottage and staff will convert the library into a cosy meeting room.
For wellness travellers
With its water fountains and manicured greenery, the pool area (complete with hot tub) has the feel of an old-world Mediterranean resort. In contrast, the onsite day spa is warm and homey, with quilted wall hangings and cane furniture. For those who want to work up a sweat, the small but well-equipped gym is open 24/7 and staff can arrange yoga classes and golf lessons. Of course, there’s also the 2600-hectare sheep farm to explore, either on foot, by bike or on horseback.
The fab factor
From September to early May, the farm is home to one of the world’s largest gannet colonies. Pick up a picnic hamper then set out on foot to watch the fascinating courtship process (these majestic seabirds mate for life).
Number of rooms: 22 suites, plus the owner’s cottage
Rates from: About $1500 per night for two (includes pre-dinner drinks, canapés, dinner and breakfast)
Parking: Valet service
Address: 446 Clifton Road, Te Awanga
Telephone: +64 9 407 0065