Luxury and tranquillity on our doorstep

St Andrew’s Lodge is an exclusive and relaxing retreat from the bustle, writes Linda Hall

I have discovered the most delightful hideaway just three minutes drive from Havelock North.

St Andrews Escape Luxury Boutique Lodge has got to be one of Hawke’s Bay’s best kept secrets.

On Friday, owners John Davidson and his partner opened their doors to the public with a relaunch of their fabulous lodge. Guests were treated to bubbles and a tour through the 5ha property and stunning accommodation.

I was lucky enough to have a sneak preview earlier in the week.

Tall cypress trees stand sentry along the sweeping drive. As soon as I step out of the car I hear birdsong and frogs, that’s it, no traffic noise. It’s hard to believe I am just minutes from town.

I’m greeted by John and his partner, who have owned the property since 2000. They show me photographs of bare paddocks from then, and point out landmarks. I begin to realise how much hard work has gone into this land. These are obviously men with vision.

John works full-time at the lodge looking after guests and tending to the property.”I wanted a big garden and to set up a retreat for people to come and relax,” John says. “I was keen to attract native birds so I have planted lots of native trees, anything that brings in the nectar lovers such as tui, warbler and kereru. We even have a native owl plus loads of pheasant and quails.

John said he started out by planting circles, then filled in the gaps to make paths.

“Gardening has been my passion since I was a little boy. You have to be ‘far-sighted’ when you are planting a big garden like this. Try to look at how big things are going to grow. It drives me crazy when people chop down trees because they get too big.”The couple are big on recycling and sustainability. They use local tradesmen and produce as much as possible.

The lodge is aimed at people who want a luxury weekend or break away but don’t want to be miles from civilisation. It is situated on the doorstep of the cycle trails and there are bikes for guests to use. Guests can also kayak on the Karamu stream, which borders the property, followed by a relaxing soak in the outdoor spa.

The bed and breakfast has four rooms plus a self-contained whare. The rooms are spectacular. My favourite is the retro room. It’s like stepping back into the 60s. The attention to detail is evident everywhere you look. There is also a wonderful guest lounge with piano, a great selection of books, big comfy furniture and a gorgeous view overlooking a pond. There is no television. “We want our guests to talk to each other without the distraction of a television.”

I was then taken on a tour of the garden.

This is no ordinary garden, there are secret rooms, fragrant spots, vege gardens, beautiful trees, shrubs, hedges and flowers everywhere you look. I loved the sunbay which overlooks Karamu Stream. A private little spot to relax with a glass of wine and watch the sun set.

St Andrew’s Escape is a perfect place to retreat for a rest, or to celebrate a special birthday. It’s a place where families who have relatives from out of town can get together, relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Article Courtesy of: Hawke’s Bay Today, © Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited