Aston Road Villa, a boutique bed and breakfast in the rolling hills of Waikanae has been highly commended in the Rising Star category of the Bed & Breakfast Association New Zealand's annual excellence awards held via Zoom over the weekend.
The Vision Insurance Bed & Breakfast Awards Programme celebrates excellence in hospitality in the bed and breakfast and hosted accommodation sector.
Designing and building their own home in Waikanae after living in Whitby, Porirua, Louise and Dean Compton moved up to Kāpiti in February 2018 and opened the bed and breakfast in August 2018, qualifying for the rising star category after operating for less than two years.
Avid travellers who have stayed in many different styles of accommodation, their inspiration was a stay in France at a local couple's home.
"We travelled a lot and always enjoyed staying with locals," Dean said.
"We were inspired by a place in France with a similar set up.
"We stayed in a separate wing but could join our hosts for meals."
So Louise and Dean designed their new home to include a section easily separated from the main living area and have opened it up to guests.
Mostly having overseas tourists to stay, they have enjoyed sharing their local knowledge of New Zealand with guests and trading travel stories.
"Lots of your travel experiences are not actually where you've been or what you've done but about the people you've met," Louise said.
"That's the bit we love, that's why we are doing this, it's about the people.
"New Zealand is a beautiful and amazing country and the people are really friendly and we want to make sure that gets reinforced."
Sectioned off from the main house, the main guest bedroom has its own balcony with views overlooking the ocean and the hills. There is also a second bedroom, small living room, bathroom and kitchenette.
With morning sunlight streaming in when Kāpiti News visited, it is easy to see why people love staying there.
Louise and Dean are bubbly and keen to share their home and knowledge with visitors.
Louise will happily miss her morning exercise class to enjoy a long breakfast with guests.
But it's not just the beautiful location that made the judges rate it highly.
The judges loved the environmental aspect of their property and business and the fact that Louise and Dean don't just focus on their B&B business but consider how they can lessen their environmental impact.
"A B&B is not just about the room it is about the story and experience that our guests will enjoy and Louise and Dean impressed the judges with the way they love to tell that story.
"Louise and Dean use organic produce along with growing and producing much of their own food and honey and this is appreciated by guests travelling these days.
"Guests love an experience and when something is made from the heart and from the land it makes it all the more special."
The award comes at a hard time for the tourism industry and overseas guests are not likely for a long time.
Having to "pivot" because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Louise and Dean are now focusing on New Zealand guests, but their focus and dedication remains the same.
"We love when people tell you the places to go that you would never have known before, and now we love being able to do that for our own guests, whether from New Zealand or overseas," Louise said.
The Rising Star Bed & Breakfast of the Year was awarded to Brooke and Tim Trenworth of Relax at Red Earth Gardens, Tuakau with the Vision Insurance 2020 Overall Supreme Bed & Breakfast of the Year and Vision Insurance 2020 Exceptional Bed & Breakfast of the Year going to Taupō's Whakaipo Lodge.