The Farm at Cape Kidnappers

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The farm at Cape Kidnappers
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers includes a cluster of luxury lodge buildings that are suggestive of a working farm.


We’ve just stayed at perhaps the finest luxury resort in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers.Our findings? This Relais & Châteaux resort is an artful melding of old-fashioned, classic elegance and modern chic. Above all, the resort is a must for all foodies and wine enthusiasts. Head Chef Tim Pickering gathers the vegetables served from the resort’s own gardens for his wine-pairing menus, which change daily, but know that the resort always stocks a supply of beef, venison, lamb and other meats in case guests don’t want to select from the menu. Of the meals we enjoyed, the most delectable were the dishes that involved pork. Best part? The wine served was primarily from local vineyards in Hawke’s Bay. Go with either the Syrah or the Sauvignon Blanc, which are considered the two best vintages from New Zealand. Tip: The resort hosts complimentary cocktails soirees nightly. Note: During cocktails and dinner, gentlemen are required to wear jackets.

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We stayed in room No. 13, a Hilltop Suite with a king-size bed and a small balcony with incredible views of the farm and the Pacific Ocean. Nice touches: Every night, the hotel refills a pitcher near the nightstand with fresh lemon water. The room also comes with a small walk-in closet and, to add to that quaint, vintage vibe, all rooms have old-fashioned locks and provide pencils instead of pens for scribbling down notes.

Premier Lodge Suites
Premier Lodge Suites offer the convenience of proximity to facilities within the Lodge.

Tip: Two Hilltop Suites offer the option to add an interconnecting second smaller bedroom.The best rooms here, however, are located in the Owner’s Cottage—a four-bedroom cottage that can sleep as many as 12 people since extra beds can be added. Wine-pairing dinners can also be arranged in the rooms. Hint: This cottage is well suited for a family or group of friends traveling together. Nice touch: All four deluxe bedrooms come with fireplaces, large bathrooms, walk-in closets, mini-bars and private balconies overlooking the Pacific Ocean. 

The large living room has a stone fireplace, generously sized open-plan kitchen and dining area. The Owner’s Cottage also comes with two smaller sitting rooms, each with fireplaces, TVs and comfortable seating. It also has an outdoor Jacuzzi and a stone terrace. Note: The Owner’s Cottage can be rented as a two-bedroom or four-bedroom house.

Throughout the hotel, we loved the way technology has been creatively worked into the rooms. For example, all flat-screen TVs in the rooms are hidden behind either paintings or colonial-style cabinets with curtains. There are speakers in the ceilings of the living rooms and bathroom, and iPod docking stations. Another plus? Free Wi-Fi with no log-in or password required.

Reach out to Reservations Manager Amy Tapper ([email protected]; 011-646-875-1900) for information on which rooms to select for their clients.

Ridge Suites
Ridge Suites sit atop the skyline ridge a short walk from the Lodge

The spa has three treatment rooms including one for couples. Note: In-room massages can be arranged as well. Tip: We were told the best treatment is the Lavender Scrub & Massage, an 80-minute experience that includes a full body exfoliation using a lavender salt scrub. Following a steamy shower, VIPs will enjoy their choice of a relaxing or remedial massage. 

Spa Manager Kendal Houlahan ([email protected]; 011-646-875-1900) can assist with selecting spa therapists and treatments and any other VIP needs.

A small fitness center has everything a VIP needs to burn off a few glasses of wine. And then there’s the golf. Designed by legendary golf architect Tom Doak, Cape Kidnappers's par 71 golf course measures 7,119 yards and will challenge golfers of all skill levels. Note: The resort provides caddy services and lessons with PGA golf professionals, as well as shoe and club cleaning.

Advisors should reach out to the head golf professional, Jon McCord ([email protected]; 011-646-875-1900).

Cape Kidnappers also offers an array of tours, but we highly suggest the once-in-a-lifetime Kiwi Discovery Walk, where VIPs are taken through the Cape Sanctuary to search for kiwi, which many consider odd to be called a bird primarily because it doesn’t fly. Though they are oviparous (laying eggs), they are mammal-like in many respects. In fact, these birds, endemic to this land, are sometimes called New Zealand’s “honorary mammal.” There are five species of kiwi, all of which are endangered. Note: At Cape Sanctuary, finding a kiwi is not terribly difficult since the birds here have tracking devices on their feet. No worries, animal lovers, the specialists on property check these devices often to make sure they are not hurting the bird or causing an infection. To book one of these tours in advance, advisors should contact John McLennan ([email protected]), the sanctuary advisor and a kiwi expert, who along with his team leads the owner of Kiwi Discovery Walk.

Famous feats: The service at Cape Kidnappers is impeccable and the staff can meet most requests. In fact, we were told the most over-the-top request the hotel received was from a VIP who wanted to propose to his girlfriend in a special way, but gave the hotel only one day’s notice. His plan was to play a round of golf with her and have the engagement ring in the 18th hole. Luckily for the hotel and the guest, she said “Yes.”

Kerry Molloy ([email protected]; 011-646-875-1900), the resort’s general manager, welcomes inquiries from luxury travel advisors.

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