Location: In the heart of the Martinborough village, overlooking the Martinborough Memorial Square.
Style: Charming, noble, old-meets-new elegance.
Price: Petit room from $239, heritage rooms from $250, heritage suites $279, superior garden suite from $319.
Perfect for: A weekend exploring the many boutique wineries in the area.
First impressions: The hotel facade is nothing short of grand, standing proudly as a marker of the town with its wrap-around balcony and white trims of the Victorian-style architecture. Inside are timber floors and a wide staircase taking guests up to the Heritage suites and rooms, which are in the original part of the 1882 building. High ceilings and white walls add to the grandeur of the hotel, with a mix of black-and-white images and painted artworks on the walls, statement timber furniture pieces dotted around the foyers and Persian rugs sitting over the wooden floors.
Next to the reception area is a cosy library nook with a fireplace, which would be perfect for curling up with a book mid-winter. There's also a hotel entrance into the Union Square Bistro & Bar, which is where breakfast is served. Through the foyer is the entrance to the hotel's private garden courtyard.
Rooms: I stayed in one of the Heritage rooms, the Cameron Suite, a bright and airy room with views out to the village square and a door opening out on to the balcony. Two wicker chairs and an outdoor table make for a perfect people-watching spot while sitting in the sun with a wine. The balcony wraps around the building, which means you might see your neighbours also enjoying a wine in the sun. There's a double wardrobe with a full-length mirror on the inside of one door, and a small kitchenette that fits into a closet-sized space, shut off by a door. The bed furnishings are contemporary with a large plush headboard, white linen, a duck-egg blue throw, and two matching Euro pillows with a design featuring a bird and flowers. Both bedside tables have large, bold statement lamps with blue-and-white ceramic bases. In the corner of the room next to the window is a large pink armchair under the window ideal for slouching into for some down time.
Bathroom: Stepping into the bathroom is almost like entering the chessboard hallucination in The Queen's Gambit, with the black and white tiles on the floor. I love a giant shower, and this one feels as if you're walking into a giant glass box, with handheld and rain shower options and a selection of Ashley & Co toiletries.
Food and drink: This is Martinborough, so there's no shortage of wine, with 30 wineries in the region, many within walking distance of each other. Downstairs is the Union Square Bistro & Bar, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I highly recommend the smoked fish and potato hash for breakfast which is served with poached eggs and a wonderfully tangy hollandaise sauce. Across the road is the Cool Change Bar & Eatery, which was fun for a few drinks on a Saturday night. The general consensus by locals for the best coffee, is from the Neighbourhood Coffee Cafe & Roastery.
Facilities: The Kitchener Library has an extensive collection of books and comfy couches in front of a gas fire. The garden courtyard outside has an area for a game of petanque. There's a chessboard inside the main foyer for guests to play. Free parking is available as well as unlimited free Wi-Fi.
In the neighbourhood:Vineyards galore. Also olive groves and olive oil tasting. Martinborough is renowned for having more than 20 cellar doors and boutique wineries all within walking or cycling distance from the village square. There are several cute boutique shops down the road from the hotel and an abundance of pretty, quaint street scenes.
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, go to newzealand.com