Te Arai Lodge
The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. It is this attention to all those “extra” details which sets this exciting, new venture apart from others. Te Arai Lodge is a new ‘Homestay’ Boutique Luxury Lodge designed, built, developed and run by Vince and Kathy Moores and their family.
Surrounded by over 20 acres of ancient podocarp forest and native bush, Te Arai Lodge sits on an elevated ridge with panoramic views across the rolling hills of the Brynderwyn Ranges out to the stunning beaches and surrounding islands of the Mangawhai coast. The property was featured on Grand Designs in 2018 and opened to the public mid-December that year, with the aspiration of becoming one of the world’s, great, family-run, small boutique luxury lodges. It is inspired by the beauty of the surrounding native flora and bird life and the owner’s passion for sustainability, organic garden-to-table dining, their love of hospitality and for meeting people from all around the world.
Vince and Kathy found their unique plot of land over 15 years ago and embarked on a long-term sustained pest eradication initiative, trapping possums, stoats and rats, together with the planting of over 4,000 native trees and plants. This initiative has resulted in the regeneration of native birdlife in the region and subsequently makes the lodge an idyllic spot for bird watching.
The lodge is inspired by the stone clad villas of Tuscany and Provence where the family has holidayed over the years. Much of the property uses Te Kuiti Limestone and features small stone walls, paved courtyards and extensive raised gardens and plantings. One of the most impressive features of the lodge is the “Great Room”, an atrium-style lounge, dining and kitchen area that is framed by giant scissor trusses to reinforce the soaring height of the main living area. Everything is on a grand scale, with a double-sided, stone-clad, open fireplace and the bespoke kitchen that leads out to a covered BBQ area and the raised garden beds where freshly grown produce is harvested for the table.
Either side of the main atrium are two fully self-contained wings with separate outside access. The ‘Kotare Cottage’ and ‘Kereru Suite’ are both beautifully appointed and feature gas fireplaces, air-conditioning, complimentary minibars and have both indoor and outdoor baths. The lower level of the property contains an infrared Sauna and a purpose-built yoga studio/gym, lined with mirrors that reflect the surrounding native bush. A stunning 20m heated, saltwater swimming pool extends out from the Yoga studio, together with an outdoor shower and cedar Hot tub, to take in the sunsets.
At the rear of the property is a modern take on the classic kiwi barn, named after the local morepork, a frequent visitor. The barn has a 42 solar-panel array that powers the property and the sewage and grey water is recycled for irrigation. Rain water is collected off the roofs into 6 x 25,000 litre tanks, filtered and UV treated. All appliances are low-energy and low water-use rated, low energy LED lighting features throughout the buildings.
The property incorporates work from local designers and artisans, many whom are personal friends of the Moores. Artwork from friends Dick Frizzell, Rob Tucker, Margaret Estall, Dan Max and Jane Puckey adorn the walls. All the ceramics are made from Vicki Fanning from Frolic Ceramics and produce is sourced locally from Te Arai Organics and Matakana Markets to supplement produce grown on the estate. The Lodge even has sustainable Allbird Sugar Zeffers jandals and Organic Linen Robes, designed by Moni Jansen from Monni Label in Matakana, for guests to use.
Like the Blue Zones, regions around the world where people live the longest, Te Arai Lodge is built around community, sustainability, daily exercises, fresh organic local produce and great wines from Vince's impressive cellar! "Inspired Sustainable Luxury” aptly describes this very unique offering which is already receiving rave reviews from guests around the world and throughout New Zealand.
For this months Junction Film on Te Arai Lodge, visit www.junctionmag.co.nz/film