Greenhill Lodge a luxury fit for a Queen Mother
Hawke's Bay's historic and exclusive Greenhill Lodge, which counts the Queen Mother among its former guests, is for sale.
In February of 1958, the Queen Mother visited Napier as part of her tour of New Zealand.
She had asked to stay in a typical pioneer home in the region to spend her only down time on the tour, and Greenhill Lodge was chosen.
The staff at the lodge took note of the Queen Mother's dining habits, and recorded how she asked to eat her meal at 8.30pm, in small portions, and with small cutlery.
Head shearer James Puriri spoke to the Queen Mother and reportedly said, "The Queen fascinated me. She speaks very freely and does not make one feel uncomfortable".
Greenhill Lodge continues to advertise its small luxuries as a member of the Small Luxury Hotels group of 520 hotels that offer a high level of personalised service and quality.
Eight other New Zealand hotels are members of the group: Bay of Many Coves in Queen Charlotte Sound, Blanket Bay, Eichardt's Private Hotel, and Hulbert House in Queenstown, Eagles Nest in Bay of Islands, Mahana Villa in Upper Moutere, Solitaire Lodge in Rotorua, and The George in Christchurch.
In 2016 Greenhill Lodge received the group's "Commitment to Quality award", its highest accolade.
The lodge has sweeping views of the surrounding Maraekakaho area. The building includes six rooms and suites, a dining room, and a two-bedroom cottage with an outdoor bathtub.
It features Matai floors, and Kowhai paneling that have been maintained for over a century. The 29-hectare property has a current rateable value of $3 million.
The cottage costs more than $1000 a night, while rooms in the lodge start at about $700 a night.
The lodge is fully booked until May.
Built in 1898 by Archibald McLean, the property and surrounding land remained in his familyfor six generations.
When the Queen Mother visited she was hosted by Gladys and Dick Hudson, who inherited the lodge from McLean's daughter-in-law.
McLean, an early pioneer of the Hastings area bought the 1335 hectares within Maraekakaho Station in 1880 despite arriving in New Zealand penniless. He named the property Greenhill after his old home in Tiree, Scotland.
McLean commissioned his friend George Sollitt to design the villa with a three-storeyed central viewing turret that has since been turned into a stargazing spot complete with a telescope.
McLean enlisted New Zealand's foremost garden designer of the time, Alfred Buxton to plant ornamental trees, flower gardens, and an extensive citrus and berry orchard.
Over the six generations the property was inherited by the women of the McLean family line, while the men took over the surrounding hectares of farmland.
Archibald's great great grandson now owns the surrounding land, but the lodge was sold to Craig Hay and Neil Barber in 2001.
Barber and Hay extensively restored the lodge before selling it 2011 to John Dick for $2.9m and went on to refurbish the Masonic Hotel in Napier.
Dick said has put the homestead on the market with plans to retire in the Coromandel this year.
Hotel room rates have risen 32 per cent since 2012 in Napier, Gisborne, Taupo and Tongariro according to a Colliers International report.
Between January and September last year, Hawke's Bay had over 500,000 visitors stay in commercial accommodation.
Tourism generates over $535m a year for Hawke's Bay's economy.