This chateau may be the only five-star accommodation in the Marlborough wine region, which reaches out from the top of New Zealand's South Island like da Vinci fingers extending to the north. The hotel is conveniently situated next to the main park in Blenheim, Marlborough’s most populous municipality, and its proximity to town and country makes Chateau Marlborough a popular stay among business and leisure travelers.
From the front, the property looks like a stone-and-wood country estate. But inside, the vibe is sleek and business-ready, dressed in black and white as well as creams and chocolate brown. The experience is understated but comfortable, and it is environmentally conscious down to recycling its cooking oil for use in biofuels and establishing a native plant nursery to take care of the local birds.
Rooms: 36 studios, 4 executive suites, 4 one-bedroom apartments, and 1 penthouse. From $125. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options:Quench Restaurant and Wine Bar is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Come evening, local meats and seafoods are prepared into dishes like pan-fried venison with sweet red currant with kumara chips (similar to sweet-potato chips) and salmon dressed in a jalapeño pine nut pesto. In summer, the outdoor area and poolside bar are the best places to savor the region’s famous sauvignon blanc. Spa and gym details: The hotel has a gym and pool as well as the Tracey Wax Day Spa, which offers a full menu of spa and beauty services. Renting a bike from the hotel is a great way to get some exercise while exploring the surrounding wine country.
Who's it best for: Eco-minded corporate travelers who want to let loose between meetings. Our favorite rooms: The Executive Suites are laid out nicely for productivity and relaxation, overlooking the floral landscaping, historic clock tower, and memorial fountain of Seymour Square. The Grand Studio Suites are the homiest, however, outfitted with plush seating, soft carpeting, DVD and music facilities, and a full kitchenette stocked with local coffee and fresh milk. Explore the area: Marlborough is famous for its wine, but it also offers spectacular experiences on the water. Chateau Marlborough can arrange a number of boat tours through the coves and inlets of the Marlborough Sounds. Guests choose between a ride on a postal ferry, an eco-cruise to the bird sanctuary on Motuara Island, and a seafood-focused tour that culminates with steamed mussels and local wine.