Offering a slice of Provence or English countryside amid the tropical plants and birds of the Southern Hemisphere, the Peace and Plenty Inn is a relaxing getaway just 10 minutes across Waitemata Harbour from downtown Auckland. The inn’s English host, Judy, transformed a Victorian mansion in Devonport into an inviting bed-and-breakfast, embellished with all the ornate mirrors, flowery porcelain, Queen Anne–style antiques, and organza frills one would expect from a proper English estate.
Not as obvious are Peace and Plenty’s sustainability measures, which range from oil-fueled heaters, a rainwater catchment system, and composting to eco-friendly toiletries and local produce. If that’s not enough to put guests’ minds at ease, a soak in a clawfoot tub, a good book by the fire in the library, or a peaceful walk along the Devonport waterfront should do the trick.
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Just 10 minutes by ferry from the Auckland waterfront and roughly 30 minutes from Waiheke Island, Devonport is a slow-paced village lined with cafés, bookstores, boutiques, and art galleries. The area is steeped in natural and cultural history—from its early Maori days and volcanic activity to its naval heritage that came later. There’s a small but diverse smattering of restaurants, from high-quality sushi at Asahi to Mediterranean on the water at Manuka. The North Head Historic Reserve might sum up the Devonport experience: it’s located on a volcanic cone that dates back 50,000 years; in the late 1800s, it went from being a pilot station to a defense fort; and today, the reserve is a playground of tunnels, trails, and picnic grounds on the edge of the harbor.
Need to Know
Rooms: 7 rooms. From $144. Check-in: 11:30 a.m.; check-out: 10:30 a.m. Dining options:A breakfast spread of fresh fruit, yogurt, homemade muesli, berry Belgian waffles, and bacon and eggs with smoked salmon is set out in the sunny dining room overlooking palm, frangipani, and hibiscus trees. In the summer, guests can go alfresco and eat breakfast with the birds on the Victorian veranda surrounded by lily ponds. The hotel doesn’t serve lunch or dinner, but guests receive 10 percent off meals at Manuka, Portofino, Asahi, and Corelli’s nearby. The B&B does have a fridge and cellar for drinks; guests can help themselves to port and sherry. Spa and gym details:No health or wellness facilities are on the property, but theJust Workout gym is a five-minute walk and Skinsense Beauty Therapy and Day Spa Retreat is only two minutes away.
Who's it best for: Eco-conscious history buffs looking for a quiet escape from the city. Our favorite rooms: Each of the seven rooms here has a different style and feeling, so the decision is a matter of taste. The Windsor room is the largest and grandest, dressed in pink and bronze and drawing attention to its stained-glass windows, clawfoot tub, ornate cast-iron fireplace, and vintage gramophone. The funkier Waitemata Room is the clear winner for views; the balcony (accessed by adorable shutter doors) takes in everything from Mount Victoria nearby to the Harbour Bridge and Auckland city skyline in the distance. Weekend tea:Book a Victorian-style high tea for Saturday or Sunday. Vintage china, fine silver, and a selection of old-fashioned hats set the scene.