Originally constructed as a French Colonial farm over a century ago, the 175-room Millbrook Resort was ranked the #1 golf resort in Australasia a couple years ago. Spread over 500 acres, the extra large rooms and villa suites are housed in charming cottages facing the fairways and thick English gardens wrapping around lush lawns.
Guest rooms are trimmed out in updated Kiwi Provincial decor with cozy fireplaces and French doors opening onto ground level terraces. The bright white 1- and 2-bedroom villas were reworked in 2011 with a barnyard-chic look sporting full kitchens, large country tables and roomy terraces.
Dinner here is something special in the restored millhouse, aptly called “The Millhouse Restaurant” (above). We pull up around a big farmer’s table below heavy wood beams while a fire roars in the giant stone fireplace. Can’t say enough about the gorgeous 2009 Dog Point Vineyard pinot noir and the “home-killed” (local) lamb with seared scallops on crispy pork belly.
This is the kind of hotel that you settle into right away, like you’ve been coming here for years.
“We offer a private setting away from the city,” says manager Brian Howie. “It feels very New Zealand, and with the rooms and cabins you feel like you’re living here.”
I tell Howie that the people of New Zealand really make visitors feel at home too. Everyone is so healthy and friendly and really down to earth.