A touch of finesse
More accessibility without losing the mystery and ambience is the new theme of the refurbished Mangapapa Lodge near Havelock North.
Whether staying for a few hours or a few days, the lodge has a local country club feel.
General Manager Carolyn Crutch wants people to feel at home, whilst partaking in some of the pleasures that homes don’t always offer.
The lodge has full bar facilities and a dining room that’s open seven days a week.
While catering for a niche corporate market (they recently hosted 36 representatives of Nissan during the launch of its new range of cars), she wants local Hawke’s Bay people to feel welcome at the lodge as well.
Offering tennis, petanque, swimming, bicycles, a new spa/sauna and a range of other activities and facilities. Carolyn is developing a day package which also includes lunch and time with their in-house masseur.
On top of that, she hopes to offer a three-month winter membership which will also include the spa and sauna, lunch and massage.
Special functions will continue to be a mainstay of the lodge activities.
A recently-finished conservatory will see the lodge hosting weddings for up to 70 people.
“We can also host larger weddings in a marquee on the lawn, or people can actually get married in the gardens – it’s a very romantic setting.
Helicopters can even land on the front lawn if you want a more spectacular arrival or departure,” she said.
The lodge has honeymoon packages, special packages in place to help people celebrate the millennium and packages for the Mission concert – which includes the tickets.
Corporate tables are also on order for the New Zealand versus Australia day/night cricket match in Napier on March 1.
Another bonus for next years is Easter and Anzac Day falling on the same weekend – giving five days away from the daily grind.
Coming back to the remainder of this year, the lodge is almost booked out for Christmas lunch but is still taking bookings for the evening meal.
Offers of $40-a-head barbecues may also tickle your fancy for Boxing Day or New Year’s Day for Family-get-togethers.
“Whatever you want we will do, but we’re not designed for a cast of thousands. We’re more intimate.
We want you to go away with strong memories of what you were celebrating, whether it be a wedding, anniversary or a birthday.”
Carolyn says they often have locals coming up the driveway to have a look – to see what’s behind the trees.
“We say come on in. Have a cup of coffee. Have a bite to eat. The chefs and the staff are here for most of the day, every day.”
A warm welcome awaits
If you happen to notice that the front of the lodge is busy, still go in and check with the office – because those customers may not be using the pool, tennis court and barbecue area on the other side of the house.
But Carolyn said in the long run, it’s still better to let them know you’re coming.
“We can fuss over you more when we know you’re coming. We’re pretty good impulsively but we’re even better when we’re prepared.”
The lodge, nestled in trees on Napier Rd, north of Havelock North, has ten rooms, ranging from the top luxury suite to cottage units.
The new Mangapapa Suite has a large separate lounge, two Queen-size beds, private changing rooms, huge bathroom and a private balcony.
There are also two executive suites, four cottage rooms and two smaller lodge rooms.
The dining room is open seven days a week, with lunch being available from 11am to 6pm, and with a quick phone call, antipasto platters or cheese boards can be available for after-work drinks.
Reservations are desirable, particularly in the lead-up to Christmas, “We can almost always fit one or two but ten might be a different story.” Carolyn says.
Personal touches are a special feature of the way lodge staff operate.
“There is an accent on personalising everything,” Carolyn says.
“The menus are done in your name, such as, Mangapapa Lodge welcomes Jane Brown for her 25th birthday. We had an older couple in for their first wedding anniversary recently and he asked us if we could arrange for two dozen red roses to be delivered to the table during dinner. With pleasure.
We like customers to feel like they’re coming into someone’s home. We say to the staff to treat the lodge like their own home and to greet guests as they would like guests to be treated in their own home.”
The little touches often count – such as the complimentary chocolates and fruit bowl in each room when a new guest checks in, as well as a fresh jug of iced water – essential in summer!
Personal slippers also await the guests, along with a freshly-picked sprig of lavender on each pillow.
From the bedroom to the dining room, the little touches continue.
Facing the hard decision of how to present the wine list to guests, Carolyn said it is now tied with fresh lavender, changed every day. Even the home-made bread comes to your table in little terracotta flower pots.
Photo captions –
Mangapapa Lodge…Built more than a century ago, this grand home now totally refurbished, provides a rejuvenating retreat away from it all.
Left: Carolyn Crutch, general manager and Kym Fell, executive chef, take time out in the award winning garden, a beautiful spot to relax.
Clive Ralph Photography
Garden & Landscape Ltd
DESIGN – DECORATION – FURNISHING
MACPHAIL’S Garden & Landscape Ltd
are delighted to be involved in the ongoing development of the magnificent, historic gardens of Mangapapa Lodge
Tel. 835 8395 & 877 1188
Mobile 025 246 3958 Fax 06 877 1189
162 Te Aute Road, PO Box 8575, Havelock North