The best hotel in Hawkes Bay (New Zealand) and the main wineries of the North Island!

Luxury Travel Tips

Let’s talk about New Zealand. As promised in the last post, Hawkes Bay! And the hotel, in which, I think, it is not a shame to stay: Greenhill.

The Greenhill Hotel is an ideal starting point for visiting the many wine estates. Which I will certainly talk about at the end of this post. For now, the hotel itself. Its magnificent main building of the 19th century is surrounded by 30 acres of parkland. The apogee of the success of this building and the entire hotel was the moment when the English Queen Elizabeth stayed here in 1958. Since then, things went, oddly enough, into decline, but in 2001 the time of revival began – the house was bought by new owners. After a thorough restoration in 2003, the hotel reopened to guests.

Sollitt-room-to-courtyard

I remember my first impression: the steep, winding road doesn’t let you finally see the legendary building, but then it suddenly appears above the impeccably mowed lawns. Immediately doused with the Victorian era! White walls, a bright red roof, a funny three-story observation tower that gave me the most beautiful panoramic view of Hawkes Bay. Inside the building, the 14-foot ceiling creates an extraordinary feeling of spaciousness. The house is decorated with wooden panels, beautiful moldings and colored glass in the windows.

The main building has two suites and three rooms. The McClean Suite, where I stayed, I especially liked because it has a separate living room with access to a picturesque veranda. The finest guest accommodation, however, is in the separate Villa Suite. This villa is a single storey house with two bedrooms. The first bedroom is the master suite with a king size bed, bathroom and private terrace with pool. The second bedroom has two single beds and a nice bathroom.

greenhill-villa-suite

The villa’s living room features a beautiful fireplace made from local river stone and floor-to-ceiling windows. Near the kitchen and dining room, open onto the terrace, from where you can see almost all the surrounding farms at once. Truly a wonderful place!

greenhill-villa-suite living room

Usually guests gather in the living room for an aperitif and pre-dinner snacks. Here, the owners are invariably present, very pleasant people who often join the general conversation with pleasure. Dinner is served in the elegant dining room. The 4-course menu varies by season, but superb local meats and seafood are preferred. (The tenderloin we had at dinner one day was the best I’ve ever eaten!) Breakfast is served in the dining room or (weather permitting) al fresco. Nearby there is a golf club (the right to visit it is usually included in the price of a hotel stay).

Now a few words about wineries. The wines of New Zealand have already managed to prove themselves well, and many of them are actually not inferior in quality to their older brothers from the Old World. At first, they mainly tried to make Cabernet and Chardonnay here. But gradually they realized that they should not be so limited, so today private wineries are also famous for their Pinot Noir or Merlot. Below I have selected the most beautiful wine regions and within these regions, specific wineries that I recommend for tastings.

Vineyards in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.  Photo: superkimbo/flickr.com

I’ll start, in order not to travel far, from the same Hawkes Bay! After all, this is one of the most fascinating and exquisite gastronomic regions of the country. Here, first of all, attention should be paid to clear view. This estate is known for its excellent Reserve Chardonnay, Reserve Sauvignon Blanc and intriguing red Enigma (Bordeaux style, as they say). The local restaurant features exceptional seasonal cuisine. By the way, there is also a good accommodation here.

Tasting at Clearview.  Photo: megandavid/flickr.com

Then drive to Craggy Range – a beautiful picturesque place where such famous wines as The Quarry, Cabernet brand, Gimblett Gravels Block 14 Syrah are made. Terroir is a cute restaurant that serves New Zealand cuisine with French influences and specializes in grilling and over open fires. Served there and here are such miracles:

Photo: subspace-eddy/flickr.com

This is a slow-cooked rabbit leg in duck skin, liver, bacon and barley risotto …

Well, a few words about the wineries in the Auckland area, and let’s leave the South Island for later. So, Auckland, the place where the wine industry was founded, it was laid by immigrants from Croatia. A must visit here Kumeu River Winesis a family business famous for its Burgundy-style Chardonnays. The first bottling here was Mate’s Vineyard Chardonnay.

Vineyards in New Zealand

Then – Soljans Estate. The best here are Riesling and Tawny Port. And finally, take a look at Villa Maria – the third largest producer in New Zealand, which makes wonderful Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc.

Happy tasting! And see you next time!

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