Frances Cook exposes every glorious detail of staying in a floor-to-ceiling glass cabin. Plan a remote escape when your local alert levels allow
Location: Greystone Vineyard, less than an hour north of Christchurch
Style: Minimalist luxury, with your glass cabin letting you soak in 360-degree views of the Waipara vineyards and Southern Alps.
Perfect for: A romantic weekend away from it all.
First impressions: A walk through regenerating bush to reach your cabin sets the tone early; this is all about luxuriating in the natural splendour of the Waipara region, with its neat rows of vines, gently rolling hills, and crisp mountains. The glass eco-cabin then maximises this experience. The walls, ceiling, and even the floor is glass – although you can pull down blinds in the bathroom if you're feeling a little exposed. Eat dinner while watching the sun set over the vines, or lie in bed and watch the stars, this spot is all about natural majesty.
Rooms: The eco-cabin provides everything you need for a minimalist but extremely comfortable weekend away from it all. The main room has your bed, kitchen and dining, or you can head out to the deck to sit and enjoy the views over the valley below. The glass walls let you soak up those views, while the isolated setting perched near the top of a hill means you don't need to worry about anyone peeping in. You also won't need to worry about noise, as your only companions will be some birds and your own thoughts.
Bathroom: Despite the "eco-cabin" tag, don't worry about the bathroom, which has everything you need including a flushing toilet, a shower with firm pressure and more of those views over the valley. If you've ever felt the desire to shower in nature, but you're a bit chicken to get your kit off, this is the way to do it in comfort and without bug bites. A full vanity and complimentary shampoo, conditioner and soap mean you're ready for any Instagram pictures you want to snap.
Food & drink: The cabin comes with gas hob and a barbecue, as well as tea and coffee facilities, so it's possible to bring your own supplies and cook up a storm. However, you can also order a dinner and breakfast hamper, which I highly recommend. Dinner will include a tasting platter starter, then meat and seasonal vegetables to cook to your liking, and a sweet treat to follow. All of the hard work of prep is done, you simply have to pop it on the barbecue or hob. Pick up a bottle of wine on your way driving past the Greystone Wines Cellar Door, and you have the makings of a very pleasant relaxed evening. Check out is a luxurious 12pm, so maybe make that two bottles of wine.
Facilities: The name of the game here is enjoying your natural setting, but you're still provided with cooking facilities and equipment, tea and coffee, card games, and even a telescope. Luxury camp chairs let you enjoy the deck in style, while your comfortable bed is already made up with fresh linens.
In the neighbourhood:
You're smack bang in the middle of the Greystone Winery, so you can stop in at their cellar door for a lazy lunch or wine tasting. A number of walking and cycling trails run through the vineyard, and on through other wineries, so are a great option if you're feeling adventurous. It's a long, unpaved road to your PurePod, so make sure you enjoy the local Waipara wine tastings before retiring for the evening – once you've made it to the peaceful isolation of your cabin, you're unlikely to want to leave again. From there it's all about peace, quiet, and your view across Waipara Valley across to the alps.
Accessibility: If you have mobility issues, let them know when booking, and they can provide an alternative route to the accommodation that skips the bushwalk.
Sustainability: The low-tech minimalist luxury of the eco-cabin gives a headstart on sustainability issues – no television here to chew through the electricity. The other little luxuries like underfloor heating are powered by solar panels, letting you enjoy your time guilt-free.
Check alert level restrictions and Ministry of Health advice before travel. covid19.govt.nz