Boutique hotel in native forest

By Colin Taylor

The Waitakere Estate. Photo / Supplied
The Waitakere Estate. Photo / Supplied

Auckland Waitakere Estate, a property billed as "the only boutique hotel in pristine native forest just 30km drive from the Auckland CBD", is being marketed for sale by Jim Mays and Debbie Manning of Precision Real Estate Takapuna.

International tenders for the 23.4ha property close at 4pm Wednesday, May 1, unless it sells prior to tenders closing.

"Last year, the hotel joined the Heritage Boutique Collection of Hotels to take advantage of extensive marketing channels," Mays says. "Everything is in place for the right hospitality-tourism operator to take it to the next level"

Mays says Auckland Waitakere Estate encompasses about 2300sq m of floor space and offers "splendid accommodation" through 19 well-appointed rooms.

"The property consists of a grand European style hotel, three garden suites, one two-bedroom villa, a four-bedroom owner's residence, a chapel, indoor squash court, swimming pool, sauna, helicopter landing pad and car parking for about 40 vehicles.

"Guest rooms within the main building have been impeccably refurbished in line with the hotel's traditional features but without compromising modern luxuries. Each room has stunning panoramic views of the surrounding rainforest, Auckland cityscape and Rangitoto Island in the distance from private balconies. Bi-fold windows from the en-suite bathrooms also make use of the incredible views."

The rooms feature super king-size bed or two king single beds upon request, wireless internet access and phone, flat-screen TV, underfloor heating in bathrooms, DVD and CD players and radio, refrigerator, iron and ironing boards, tea and coffee making facilities, and safety deposit boxes. Two hotel guest rooms on the first floor also feature bath tubs in their en-suite bathrooms.

A four-bedroom home is included in the sale as ideal manager's residence. Alternatively, the house offers an excellent revenue enhancement opportunity through potential conversion into additional guest rooms, conferencing facilities, or spa facilities.

"Constructed during the 1940s through to the 1980s, this magnificent estate features a blend of stylish Baroque and French provincial influences on interior design and architecture, with contemporary finishes," Mays says. "A warm and inviting reception area with marble tiled floors, soft amber lighting and a fireplace greets guests at the main hotel building leading through to the kauri lounge and bar."

About 20km west of the estate is Piha beach, while Titirangi township is just 11km east of the estate along Scenic Drive.

"This is a private paradise within landscaped gardens set in an exclusive ridge-top position," Mays says.

"The boutique hotel overlooks exceptional panoramic views of Greater Auckland, including the Waitemata Harbour and some of the world's most impressive eco-forest within Waitakere Ranges which is one of the only rainforests existing outside of the tropics.

"This fine hotel, in a stunning location with beautifully manicured grounds and gardens, offers luxurious hotel rooms, modern amenities and sophisticated facilities at a four-star level.

"An incoming owner could align themselves with an operator of their choice or, alternatively, continue current branding or potentially rebrand the hotel under their own flag. Alternatively, the property is well suited for use as an exclusive lodge, opulent private residence or executive retreat."

Entry to the estate is via a kilometre-long driveway lined with native foliage off Scenic Drive.

Having undergone a refurbishment in early 2011, the estate's fine dining restaurant is open seven days serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with seating for up to 70 guests.

An elevated deck shared with the Tui conference room provides al-fresco dining, with seating for an additional 12 patrons.

The complex has three separate conference areas.

"The hotel is perfectly suited to conferences, meetings, executive retreats, product launches and team building activities, while the estate's on-site chapel serves as a focal point for wedding ceremonies," Mays says.

A traditional Swedish dry sauna is next to the 20m outdoor swimming pool. A full-sized indoor squash court with equipment is available for use by all guests while a petanque court and croquet lawn is around the back of the main hotel building near the helicopter landing pad.

Private bush walking tracks throughout the estate allow guests to safely explore native trees and fauna of the Waitakere Ranges. Business services for guests include internet, fax and photocopying, along with a comprehensive conference package.

The estate was founded by Captain J. Nevill-Jackson, an airline pilot who was commissioned by the New Zealand Government to start the country's national airline in 1940. That year, Captain Nevill-Jackson purchased an initial block of land of around 14ha on the site of the Waitakere Estate. It took him three days to cut his way from Opanuku Rd to where the hotel is based. At the time of World War II building materials were in short supply so Captain Nevill-Jackson built his "bachelor's pad" out of aeroplane packing cases.

After marrying in 1953, Captain Nevill-Jackson settled in the Waitakere Ranges with his wife Monica and, with the help of his family, cut through a section of the forest to begin building their home on the site of the current estate.

During the 1990s and 2000s, the family carried out extensive renovations including the addition of a number of guest rooms and suites and expanding spaces to cater for larger groups, essentially converting the property into a fully operational boutique hotel.

- NZ Herald

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