Madelin Tomelty

Surrounded by glorious gardens and vineyards, The Marlborough Lodge is a vintage gourmet retreat where guests can relax and unwind – come rain or shine

I am nestling into the cosy cocoon of my bed in the Kingfisher Suite at The Marlborough Lodge, propped up on just enough plump pillows to give me a clear view of the deluge happening beyond the balcony doors.

It’s the middle of winter and I’ve caught New Zealand’s wonderful Marlborough wine region on a particularly rainy weekend. So wet, in fact, that I find myself in bed at the very daytime hour of 4pm – a full 90 minutes before it becomes dark, let alone acceptable to be lying in bed at all – and yet, I feel absolutely no guilt whatsoever. I seem to have become a shameless daytime napper, and I blame The Marlborough Lodge.

The downpour is really a case of bad timing because Marlborough is known for its dry climate and enjoys more hours of sunshine than almost any other part of New Zealand. Yet during my three-day visit to the lodge, I’m met with numerous apologies from staff about the disobedient weather – as though they themselves are somehow responsible for the heavens opening up.

I’m actually chuckling because what they don’t realise is that The MarlboroughLodge has already passed the ultimate test. It’s one thing for a country lodge to impress when the air is warm, the sun is shining and nature’s colours are at their most vivid. But it’s entirely different for a lodge to exceed or even meet expectations when in the midst of ominous clouds, whipping wind and really rather irritating rain – and this particular lodge does just that. 

Here, you feel like you not only have permission to, but that you really should let yourself completely unwind, because if not in a harmonious environment like TheMarlborough Lodge, then where? This thinking goes to the very heart of the lodge’s Managing Director and Co-Owner Angela Dillon’s vision for the property.

“Holidays should be restful, and yet they’re often quite busy,” she says. “So, one of the things we find when guests come here is that they just want to stop and stay put – they want more time to spend relaxing and walking through the gardens.”

You can’t help but feel a sense of serenity from the moment you enter the lush, green grounds of The Marlborough Lodge – voted Best New Zealand Property in a Food & Wine Region in Luxury Travel Magazine’s Gold List 2018 – and when the pristine grey and white, two-story weatherboard retreat comes into view, you know you’ve arrived somewhere special.

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