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Hotel Highlights

  • Luxe lodge and suites, inspired by rural sheep-station style and set on a working farm
  • Gorgeous 18-hole championship golf course with oh-my-god ocean views
  • Fine dining, fine wines and a spa in a sublime coastal setting, with cliffs plunging to the sea

Overview

What do you get when you combine a 6,000-acre working sheep and cattle farm with jaw-dropping Pacific Ocean views, a glam golf course and soothing spa? Luxe boutique hotel The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, on New Zealand's dramatic Hawke Bay in the North Island.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The Farm at Cape Kidnappers with us:

A gourmet picnic hamper for two

Facilities

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The Farm at Cape Kidnappers hotel - Hawke's Bay - New Zealand

Need To Know

Rooms

22 cottage suites and the Owner’s Cottage.

Check–out

11am, but flexible subject to availability. Check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $1264.18 (NZD1,520), excluding tax at 15 per cent.

More details

Rates include include pre-dinner drinks with hors d’oeuvres, gourmet dinner, breakfast, free minibar including domestic beers (excludes spirits and wine) and use of lodge facilities, except spa treatments and use of the golf course.

Also

For full-on pampering, the Farm's spa is up on the hillside above the lodge with serenity-boosting views across the valley toward the sea or over pine forest to snow-coated Mount Ruapehu. It offers three treatment rooms (including a couple's spa suite for relaxing a deux) where you can indulge in a range of massages, facials, pedicures, manicures or hair care remedies. All spa treatments last from 50 to 80 minutes and can be customised to suit your needs, or you can enjoy treatments in your own suite.

At the hotel

CD, DVD and book library, free WiFi throughout, gym, spa, outdoor Jacuzzi, golf course. In rooms: flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player, iPod dock, minibar (soft drinks free), Evolu toiletries, private balcony.

Our favourite rooms

We love the secluded Ridge Suites as they’re a little further away from the main lodge and feel more private. If you’re feeling flush, the standalone Owner’s Cottage is a great pad for a family or friends travelling in a group.

Poolside

Dive into the stunning outdoor 50ft heated infinity pool, with its shady poolside cabana and minibar, and views out to the ocean horizon beyond.

Packing tips

Hiking gear, binoculars and your bird-watching manual. The Farm offers Kiwi Discovery Walks as part of a local kiwi bird conservation project.

Also

The lodge and guest rooms are all non-smoking. Wine tastings are held regularly – the hotel has its own vineyard located in the Gimblett Gravels region of Hawke’s Bay.

Children

Baby cots free up to age two; extra beds for older kids NZ$500–$525 a night (plus tax), depending on the season. Babysitting with a local nanny NZ$35 an hour; 24 hours’ notice required.

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Food & Drink

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The Farm at Cape Kidnappers hotel - Hawke's Bay - New Zealand

Hotel Restaurant

Chef Tim Pickering presides over the main dining room where decor is modern rustic and the à la carte dinner menu of classical French and English dishes, influenced by fine seasonal New Zealand produce, changes nightly. Local ingredients, such as lamb and beef, get star billing, as well as fresh seafood from the area. By day, enjoy breathtaking ocean views; by night, it’s candlelit. Lunch is more casual, ranging from sandwiches to three-coursers. Informal dining at the Pro Shop is also an option after hotel restaurant hours.

Hotel Bar

There isn’t an official watering hole, but there’s a fabulous cocktail hour each night from 6.30pm in the lounge.

Last orders

Lunch is served from noon till 3pm; dinner from 6.30pm till 9.30pm, after which room service is available on request. However, last orders are flexible so let staff know if you'd like a later drink or dinner and they'll try to arrange it.

Room service

A daily-changing room service menu is available 7am–10pm.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Chaps should don a jacket for cocktails and supper, but there are some to borrow from reception. Ladies, imagine you’re weekending at Sandringham.

Top table

Bag a table on the covered balcony for ocean views – especially desirable at sunset. Or opt for James Bond-glam with drinks or private dining in the circular lounge snug, or in the wine cellar.

Local Guide

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The Farm at Cape Kidnappers hotel - Hawke's Bay - New Zealand
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

If you fancy a bit of exercise there's endless activities in and around the hotel. You'd be mad to pass up a round of golf, as the cliffside par 71 championship course here is ultra-beautiful, boasting 18 holes set over dramatic rolling green hills and ravines which cascade down to the crashing waves belows, with vertiginous views to match. Voted 27th best course in the world, it's been designed by maestro Tom Doak, known for incorporating natural landscape features into his work. Golf fees cost from NZ$300-NZ$400, depending on the season, you can rent gear on site and there's a woolshed-style Clubhouse on hand for post-game dining or drinks. Just don't expect the watching sheep or cattle to applaud when you land that hole in one.

Alternatively, the hotel offers mountain biking, walking trails, flat-rock fishing or quad biking. Want to chill out? Then lie back at the spa, for sensual treatments in a gorgeous, verdant natural setting. Or head off for a picnic in the dramatic coastal grounds (we recommend Flat Rock).

Animal life is also abundant here, from a tour of this working sheep and cattle farm, on foot or by four-wheel drive, to safaris at the local gannet colony or Kiwi Discovery Walks, a chance to encounter New Zealand's famously rare and endangered kiwi bird in a local conservation project, with wildlife experts on hand to guide you and help track down the elusive feathered fellows. The hotel has been involved in reintroducing the species, along with other native birds, to the peninsula and the Farm's own grounds, in tandem with Cape Kidnapper Nature Preserve.

Beyond the hotel's grounds, Hawkes Bay offers even more extreme adventure sports, including river kayaking and white-water rafting. Horse treks, hot air ballooning, paragliding and helicopter flights are also up for grabs if you'd rather survey the countryside from a lofty height. But if your idea of fun is more raising a glass, than raising your adrenaline levels, then there are food and wine tours to help you make the most of this gourmet paradise (a fertile agricultural area, Hawkes Bay is famous both as a wine region and for growing quality food). The hotel hosts regular wine appreciation classes, dinners and tastings with visiting chefs and wine experts.

On an architectural tip, the hotel can arrange an Art Deco tour, taking in the pretty, grandiose buildings of towns like nearby Napier and Hastings, where the style flourished in the wake of a 1931 earthquake which demolished older buildings.

Local restaurants

For mouthwatering French and NZ food, make a trip to Terrôir restaurant at the Craggy Range Winery, 253 Waimarama Road in Havelock North (+64 (0)6 873 0143; www.craggyrange.com). Team its own-label wines with local seafood. Elephant Hill Estate & Winery (+64 (0)6 872 6060; www.elephanthill.co.nz), at 86 Clifton Road, Te Awanga, Hawke's Bay, serves up Mediterranean-influenced cuisine, such as duck risotto or fresh ocean fish, in its architecturally arresting modern restaurant and bar. Soak up striking vistas of Cape Kidnappers through floor-to-ceiling glass windows or from outdoors on the poolside terrace. For Italian food with a side serving of watery views, head for Milk & Honey Restaurant on Hardinge Road, Ahuriri, Napier (+64 (0)6 833 6099), within the Crown Hotel complex (www.thecrownnapier.co.nz).

+ Enlarge
Ocean-view farmland

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers

446 Clifton Road, Te Awanga, Hawkes Bay, Hawkes Bay, 4102

Set atop 6,000 rolling acres of pasture-land in Hawke’s Bay, the Farm at Cape Kidnappers enjoys panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and New Zealand’s rugged countryside.

Planes

Air New Zealand (www.airnewzealand.co.nz; 13 24 76) operates daily flights from Auckland and Wellington to Napier/Hawke’s Bay Airport (www.hawkesbay-airport.co.nz). There are no international flights direct to Hawke’s Bay so international guests will have to fly via one of New Zealand’s main cities. Auckland Airport is easiest. The Hawke’s Bay Airport is 38kms from the hotel.

Automobiles

The main car hire companies have desks at Hawke’s Bay Airport or taxis are also available (Baywide Taxis 0800 88 55 33, Hastings Taxis 0800 875 055, or Hawke’s Bay Combined Taxis 0800 627 437). A shuttle service can also take you from the airport to the Farm (www.sspershuttle.co.nz; 0800 748 885) but reservations are a must. If you opt to drive from Auckland allow six hours, from Wellington it’s a shorter four hour drive.

Other

Helicopter transfers from Auckland, Wellington and Taupo can be arranged.

Reviews

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The Farm at Cape Kidnappers hotel - Hawke's Bay - New Zealand

Anonymous review

by Deborah Hutton , Media luminary

The review of the Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay is taken from our guidebook Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection Australia/New Zealand. There’s no mistaking it: we are smack-bang in the middle of the countryside. Bob, a charming local, has picked us up from Napier Airport and whisked us away in his Mercedes. Now, as we pass through the art deco township, he begins telling Mr …
Read more

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers

Anonymous review by Deborah Hutton, Media luminary

The review of the Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay is taken from our guidebook Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection Australia/New Zealand.

There’s no mistaking it: we are smack-bang in the middle of the countryside. Bob, a charming local, has picked us up from Napier Airport and whisked us away in his Mercedes. Now, as we pass through the art deco township, he begins telling Mr Smith and I about the evolution of Cape Kidnappers from a working sheep farm to a luxury travel destination. The road follows a riverbed and cuts through pine forests, while we spot plump, happy lambs grazing in the valleys. My anticipation is rising. Soon, we glimpse the ocean, and then the broader panorama of Hawke’s Bay reveals the majestic lodge that appears, from here, to be perching on top of the world.

Lisa warmly greets us in the courtyard, but I can’t wait to get into the main lodge to absorb it all in full. I’m not disappointed. The styling is reminiscent of a French country house. The common areas feature exposed wooden beams above rough grey stone walls, natural wood panelling and stone floors scattered with cowhide rugs. Plump oversized couches before the fire invite you to snuggle up with a glass of fine New Zealand pinot and your favourite person. I smile at Mr Smith, who already has a twinkle in his eye.

First things first though. I might not be a fine golfer, but I do love the game, and Cape Kidnappers’ course has been voted one of the world’s best. It’s easy to see why. For the experienced golfer, the par 71, Tom Doak design presents a challenge of accuracy as the distant greens seem to disappear into the ocean. For an experienced (yet unpolished) hack like myself, it offers the forgiveness of open fairways that allow you to enjoy your game and take in the gob-smacking scenery as you find your ball.

Appetite duly stimulated, Mr Smith and I head back to the lodge for dinner. There’s a multitude of venues to choose from here, but being a hopeless romantic, I’ve organised for the two of us to dine privately in the snug. With its pale wooden walls, it’s a little like being seated in an oversized wine barrel, albeit one with a roaring open fire. After a delicious five-course meal – the menu changes daily but there’s always local lamb, beef and seafood on offer – we curl up on the leather day-bed and let the immense satisfaction wash over us. Our Lodge Suite, a blend of country charm, state-of-the-art finishes and heavenly Italian bed linen, is part of the main building and we’re grateful for the short stagger to bed.

Surrounded by the luxury of the lodge, it’s easy to forget you’re on a 2,400-hectare working farm. You could sit back and take it in from a distance, but there’s also the opportunity to get your hands dirty. Mr Smith and I have decided to take the quad bike tour of the property. It’s led by Carolyn, a local with as much charm and character as the Cape itself. Not having driven one of these four-wheelers before, I’m relieved to discover it’s easy to establish who’s boss. As we splash our way through puddles in stony riverbeds, climb steep sheep paths, spot newborn lambs, pass through cattle paddocks and work our way through the hills, I have a smile pasted on my face. This much fun is normally hard to find.

Carolyn also runs the skeet shooting on the property. In no time at all, she has us hitting targets like we are sharpshooters on the way to the next Olympics. After half an hour of precision shooting, Mr Smith’s ego is as plump as the neighbouring sheep.

Following a laid-back lunch in the sun-drenched loggia, we pull on our trainers to stroll along the lavender walk, one of the easier yet most picturesque walks on the property. Passing through a field of scented lavender, we follow a canopy of pine trees to a look-out on the cliffs. Here, the earth drops away to a beach. The view is absolutely breathtaking and as I sit on the pebbles, cosied up to Mr Smith, I realise it’s a moment I’ll never forget.

Back at the suite, even though the sun is still high in the sky, I fill the tub and light the scented travel candle I always carry with me. Relaxing in the warm water is the perfect antidote to the exhilaration of the past few days’ activities. After I’ve extracted myself, Mr Smith and I prepare for one final sunset on the suite’s veranda. The sky blazes in shades of pink and lilac as we gaze out towards the ocean. When dusk fades, we go inside; the lamps glow warmly, the fire is lit and my iPod is playing Van Morrison. If this scene were a food, it would be a delicious just-baked apple pie – indeed, it is as inviting as hotel settings get.
 

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