Katrina Johns checks into Ormlie Lodge, Taradale.

Getting there:

It was a hard slog up the steep but beautiful tree-lined driveway at the end of a day of cycling. It is a 15-minute drive from the Napier airport, and only 5 minutes from Taradale.

History: Ormlie's a beautiful old villa, built in 1899 as a wedding gift to Gertrude Smith from her wealthy father. It has retained all of the original grandeur, but with modern-day comforts such as underfloor heating. How big?: Ormlie is a small luxury manor consisting of only six suites. Continental breakfast is included in the price.


Check-in experience: I felt significantly underdressed walking into this grand foyer in my cycling shorts but we were made to feel instantly welcome, given a quick tour, and then shown to our room where our bags and a big bottle of cold water was waiting for us — bliss!

Room: We were lucky enough to be placed in the Ormlie Suite for the night. The room featured 3.6m ceilings and the biggest bed head I have ever seen. It was all very regal and in keeping with a luxury Victorian manor. When I first sat on the king-size bed, it felt like a rock and I thought my sleep would be terrible — I couldn't have been more wrong.

Although the bed was rather firm, after a long day of cycling I slept like a baby, and woke feeling really refreshed.

Bathroom: We had a generous-sized bathroom with a large walk-in shower, toilet, and under-floor heating. The ceiling was tongue and groove and really added an element of glamour and history to what was a modern, well-appointed bathroom.

Food and drink: Ormlie has a bar and small restaurant on site. Because of the size, bookings are essential but I can say the food is divine, particularly the desserts — all served in the lodge's ornate dining room under crystal chandeliers.

Price: Rooms ranged from $265-$395 a night.

Contact: ormlielodge.co.nz
Perfect for: A couple celebrating a special occasion, or looking for a relaxing place to stay. This isn't a place for families, or for groups of youths, so the place is quiet and charming.

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