Juliette Sivertsen unwinds at a boutique villa surrounded by vineyards.
Location: A five-minute drive from Havelock North, opposite the Black Barn winery.
Style: Modern, stylish luxury villa in a gorgeous setting among flowers, grapevines and plenty of greenery.
Perfect for: Couples with kids or a small group of friends, wanting a tranquil stay exploring vineyards by day and a quiet spot to unwind at night.
First impressions: I arrived on a Hawke's Bay scorcher, 35 degrees, so I was delighted that my hosts Nicki and Misty had turned the air conditioning on to cool the villa down for my arrival. I was given the unique code for the door lock, so there was no need for any formal check-in process, just a couple of helpful texts from the hosts.
There are four villas on site; two are separate, the other two are arranged closer so they can be booked for larger families or groups. Each villa looks out on to the landscaped garden, with views of the neighbouring vineyard. I felt instantly relaxed, surrounded by plenty of green space - tidy lawns, trees and flowers, and a patio out the front with a mini Weber barbecue. The interior felt modern and spacious, with high ceilings and large windows.
Rooms: Each villa has two bedrooms; a master bedroom with a super king bed, and two king single bunks in the second room. The rooms have windows out to the garden - including one from the top bunk in the second bedroom, to ensure everyone gets to enjoy the greenery outside. The master bedroom also has a large wardrobe and internal access to the bathroom.
The living area has a couch and dining table, with a fully equipped kitchen, Nespresso machine, convection oven, microwave, dishwashr, and a fun, retro-style Smeg fridge for a bit of interest in the kitchen. The villa felt quiet and tranquil with no traffic noise. The villas are separate enough from each other to ensure privacy.
Bathroom: The bathroom is the only room that differs in colour palette, with dark tiles and walls rather than light and airy like the rest of the villa. It's a fairly compact bathroom, with a walk-in rain shower. A hairdryer and Natural Earth toiletries are provided in the drawer below the sink. The villa is part of the Soap Aid and Beyond Skin Deep organisations which recycle used amenity products.
Food & drink: The villas have fully equipped kitchens should you wish to prepare your own meal. I arrived to a bottle of locally produced wine with cheese and crackers laid out on the dining table - anyone who knows me will tell you that's the most efficient way to my heart. We drove to Havelock North for dinner, where there are a number of restaurants including a fabulous pink pizza house called Pipi's, with an honesty beer fridge, lively Mexican restaurant Mamacitas, and another outstanding pizzeria, Alessandros.
Facilities: There's a washing machine in the hall closet, free wi-fi in the villa, and parking is available right outside.
In the neighbourhood: Boutique vineyard Black Barn is just across the road from the villas. Te Mata Peak is the iconic mountain of the area, with 360-degree views of Hawke's Bay from the top. You can hike or drive up to the top. Nearby beaches include Haumoana, Te Awanga, Ocean Beach and Waimarama.
Family friendly: The villas are suitable for families with children, with bunks in the second bedroom and a large grassy area out the front for play. Off the Track and Birdwoods are nearby eateries that are suitable for children.
Accessibility: Villa 4, which is a single villa, has been designed for accessibility and built to the latest mobility standards.
Contact: Find 305 In The Vines on Booking.com