Beautiful places to stay in New Zealand
FRIAR’S GUIDE TO NEW ZEALAND ACCOMMODATION FOR THE DISCERNING TRAVELLER by Jillian and Denis Friar; published by Hodder Moa Beckett Ltd; 283 glorious pages; price $24.95. Reviewed by Brian Duggan.
THIS GUIDE BOOK is the quintessential reference and travel companion for visiting free independent travellers (known in the tourism industry as Fits) and New Zealanders who take their holidays at home.
This is the fourth edition of Friars Guide to New Zealand Accommodation for the Discerning Traveller, in which the authors proudly recommend each place listed as being of “superior and/or special quality” personally visited and selected for your pleasure.
The criteria stated in the introduction is for accommodation with a level of personal service and quality which “puts them in a class of their own”. In addition, many of the [the] properties offer outstanding features.
To win a place in the Friar’s Guide basic requirements are that private bathroom facilities must always be present. Other diverse or unique features are often present. Sometimes this measure can be distinctive architecture, interior design or quality furnishings.
First class cuisine is a sought-after feature, but other houses may qualify for their historical setting or commanding views.
Many of these top class situations are set in beautiful bush others in lush green countryside. The sites designate the property for a discerning client and foretell a destiny which will set them apart from the crowded motel/hotel market. They are houses of posterity, they have atmosphere and an ambience.
There is a wide variety of accommodation with a price range defined by the authors as; no minimum tariff but up to about $1000. Much of this sought-after accommodation is competitively priced with the average being about $180 a couple a night.
Other measures are that there is no minimum number of rooms as accommodation ranges from one bedroom in a home to boutique hotels as well as self-contained cottages, farmstays, homestays, bed and breakfast inns, lodges, resorts, and retreats.
There is no meal prescription for listing in the guide as each venue may describe their breakfast, lunch or dinner service included or not included in the tariff quote. The guide notes that many places specialise in lavish fare while other offer simple serve yourself alternatives.
For that extra special exclusive expedition there is an entry on a nationwide chauffeured service where the Mercedes is driven and guests personally guided by someone known only as “Michael”
A personalised tour by Michael on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle is referenced as are more exotic options such as the minibus, or helicopter and luxury boats. All driven flown, sailed by the same enigmatic Michael who will pamper you with 24-hour attention to service your exclusive itinerary or group tour.
Finding your way through the book has been simplified by starting the guide at the northern most point of the country and working south to Manapouri, Fiordland, Queenstown, Southland and Te Anau.
User-friendly readability is enhanced by presentations which uniformly have the same basic format with all addresses, such as fax numbers, and e-mail, listed first.
Colour coding which is becoming standardised throughout the industry, is combined with international symbols that are easily recognised.
There are small New Zealand maps at the top of each page which pinpoint the geographic whereabouts and wider national identity for the following entry. This is especially helpful as many of these venues are off-road or secluded locations. All these features combine for an easy referenced, workable, practical, handguide.
The Friar’s have put together a beautiful collection of places to stay in New Zealand. The presentation has the benefit of some years experience and three or four colour photographs on each page. These features obviously contribute to quality and value for the book buyer’s investment.
The book is fairly large in gloss A4 size pages, making it suitable as a coffee table ornament if you are staying home this holiday season.
Photo captions –
Mangapapa Lodge, Havelock North. Hosts Shirley and Guenter Engels. Rates are from$665 to $890 a double
Summerlee Homestead, Cape Kidnappers. Owner Lombardi Wines. Surrounded by 2000 hectares of farmland with access to the gannet colony, the house rate is from $600 to $750.