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Jesse Mulligan checks into the Lodge at Craggy Range, Hawke’s Bay.
Hire a rental car from Napier airport or, if you want to make an impression, arrive via one of the hang gliders launching from the top of the mountain range that gives the winery its name.
Check-in experience: Check in is at the vineyard’s cellar door. One of the staff will escort you down the driveway, through a set of gates and into the largest house you have ever seen.
Room: Along with a full kitchen, private courtyard, multiple fireplaces and two living areas there are four bedrooms, each with ensuite, bath and Netflix-enabled flat screen. Shuttered windows open to views in all directions, depending on whether you want to look at Te Mata Peak, the Tukituki River, or your wife pilfering citrus fruit from the tree outside the lounge.
Price: Okay, it’s quite costly. Don’t worry about the price yet, we’ll come to that.
What’s so good about this place? You feel like a Kardashian, or at the very least a Howard-Smith.
And the bad? It makes your own home feel like garbage by comparison.
What’s in the neighbourhood? Some wineries, a cheesery and a couple of great beaches. They’re also about to open a walking track from the winery to the top of the peak.
Food and drink: Each morning your fridge is stocked with local bacon, mushrooms, free range eggs and tomatoes. Boutique milk and butter, along with freshly baked bread, are all replenished as fast as you can consume them.
Bathroom: Sensor lights, heated floors and dual-head showers.
Noise: It’s a beautiful rural setting and you’re unlikely to hear anything but birdsong and, if the wind is right, the susurrating of the river as you lie in bed at night.
Room service: A squadron of cleaners arrive daily to erase the evidence of your being there. Private dinners can be arranged, but it’s more fun to walk the 100m or so to the world class Terroir restaurant.
Value for money: Really, do you need to keep asking about the money?
Perfect for: A luxury escape from Auckland without passports, jetlag or international flights.
Would I return? In a heartbeat if I could afford it. But for (intake of breath) $2000 a night, off-season, it’s unlikely to become a regular weekend escape.