Miriyana Alexander checks into the Heritage Collection Waitakere Estate, in Auckland.
A 35-minute ride on the North-western Motorway from Auckland City. Or, if you're that way inclined, there is a helipad . . .
Check in experience: Attentive and helpful.
Room: Forget room, we're talking a swanky two-bedroom villa. Two huge bedrooms with their own bathrooms, separated by a decent-sized living room and kitchenette. The deck across the front of the villa and its stunning view back over Auckland and out to Rangitoto got plenty of use during our stay.
Price: There's a bonza "spring into action" deal right now: a deluxe room, three-course dinner and breakfast for $379 a night for two.
What's so good about this place? Has to be the spectacular setting. Back in the 40s, it took the owner three days to cut a 700m driveway to the spot on which the hotel now sits. The 29ha property is surrounded by the divine Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, and although a rāhui is in place there thanks to kauri dieback, the estate has its own walking tracks which are open.
What's in the neighbourhood? Titirangi and the glorious west coast beaches of Karekare, Piha and Bethells. Pack a bucket and spade.
Food and drink: Dinner and breakfast were top notch (the chocolate pasta a particular hit with the 6-year-old), but being the greedy creatures we are, we also went for afternoon tea. Hundreds descend on the hotel for its weekend high teas for good reason. Sammies, scones and cakes were so plentiful we couldn't finish (but got the leftovers boxed up to take home).
The bed: Ridiculously comfortable. The 6-year-old now insists on a "big bed" wherever he goes.
Room with a view? Yep, see above.
Bathroom: Spacious and serene. And I'm a sucker for a heated floor.
Free Wi-Fi: Yes.
Noise: The mesmerising call of the tūī, and the husband's satisfied snores.
Perfect for: Escaping the city — without that awful traffic snarl as you return to the big smoke.