When visiting Auckland, New Zealand, Waiheke Island is a popular destination. Delamore Lodge stands out as one of the premier places to stay. The island is a mecca for those who love wine and nature – a perfect spot for Richard and I. While my husband headed off to photograph the natural beauty, I enjoyed a fabulous wine tour. Waiheke is great for day trips, but it is even better for an overnight or extended stay. After spending lots of time exploring New Zealand’s South Island at a rapid pace, we wanted to relax on Waiheke for a few days, once we got there.
Delamore Lodge Waiheke Island
While researching lodging options for our trip, we discovered Delamore Lodge, an exclusive secluded boutique hotel with enchanting views. This is the kind of place where celebrities hide away, but the price is somehow more reasonable than one would expect. We knew it would be an exquisite home base while exploring the island. Waiheke is known as the island of wine. It has numerous vineyards, wineries and restaurants. As much as we wanted to experience everything, we thought it would be better to settle in at Delmore Lodge and relax a bit.
The first day we decided to unplug on the property since it was so beautiful. Onerora Beach is semi-secluded accessible via the lodge (a short walk). It can be reached via boat, or possibly if one were on a hike. The property offers a restaurant solely for its guests and prepares extraordinary cuisine. When you book your stay, you can add 3 or 5 course dinners for a reasonable price. So, that is what we did. However, be sure to check the website for various options.
We arrived on Waiheke via the Fuller’s 360 ferry after a lovely 40 minute crossing. David, from Delamore was there to greet us with a smile. It was a short drive to the lodge which is situated on a hillside surrounded by the most amazing gardens. The architecture is essentially moulded into the hillside, blending nicely with the environment. It has a Mediterranean feel infused with New Zealand character. There are stunning views from every vantage point with lots of glass and sight-lines through the various common areas. Indigenous Maori arts and crafts appear throughout the property. I also recognized an exceptional installation on the wall that was created by Sally Smith a local artist on the island. I had just been reading about Toi Gallery that she happens to own.
As we walked into the greeting area, the lodge spiraled down several flights of stairs, past a small office nook, to a cozy elegant sitting area with a fireplace. This was where the pre-dinner drinks and canapés were served. Full service meals were also served here at dining tables set close to expansive windows with views over Owhanake Bay. Just outside this space is an outdoor area and the mesmerizing infinity pool. It was built after Stuart Copeland, the drummer from the Police, shared his vision with the Delamore owners.
We followed David through the property out into a courtyard. Several rooms branched off this space in a circular manner. Apparently, the layout of the building mimics a Maori fish hook. David pointed out the jacuzzi, sauna and koi pond. Then he opened the door to our room.
As he led us in, I stopped in my tracks. I gasped audibly, as I took in the breathtaking views. Massive, exceptionally wide, floor-to-ceiling patio doors opened onto an outdoor private area. I walked out to take in the view of the water and islands under the cloud-filled skies. There was no doubt we had selected the perfect place to decompress from our active travels in New Zealand.
Behind me was a small seating area with a coffee table. Further back was a large bed with lots of inviting pillows. There was a shelf behind the bed with travel books to browse, as well as two side tables. To the right of the sitting area was a small kitchenette with a half fridge, tea kettle, coffee press as well as various teas, coffee and espresso choices. I spied some home made cookies in the fridge, just waiting for consumption.
The desk was to the left of the door and included some really interesting decorative objects such as an antique telescope, as well as a charming old fashioned looking clock. In addition a wooden book containing all the important hotel info was there for us to access. Above the desk I read the word RELAX written in script on the wall. Ah yes…I was ready to do just that.
Then my eyes fell upon the large luxurious bathtub that was calling out my name. We had a date later that evening…this bathtub and I. As I walked into the bathroom, through the large wooden doorway clad with iron hardware, I saw an open air stone shower to the left of the tub. It was beautifully designed. An expansive window lined the back wall of the bathroom. It was a one-way view…all water, so no one would be peering back at me. It was another exquisite view. The attention to detail in the room and throughout the lodge was magnificent. The shampoo, conditioner and lotions were all in earthy ceramic containers.
I relaxed on the patio, as my husband ran off to take photos of the gardens & the views. He also took advantage of the hot tub along with the infinity pool.
The Dining Experience at Delamore Lodge Waiheke Island
I really had no idea what treats were in store for me at Delamore Lodge, as my husband made all the arrangements with the manager. It turns out that gourmet food and wine are a special feature of the lodge. Richard made sure our room package included dinner, so we would not have to leave the property during sunset. Neither of us wanted to deal with the lost time or logistics required to dine at the restaurants and vineyards on Waiheke.
Breakfast each day is complimentary when you reserve any Delamore room along with the pre-dinner drink and canapés. All the food is exceptional. Make sure to check the website to explore the various available packages. Spas services are extra, and arrangements need to be made ahead of your arrival.
Cocktail Hour at Delamore Lodge Waiheke Island
Our first evening…still drawn to the view, we enjoyed canapés and Prosecco in the dining room and out on the patio, admiring the sensational vista. Delamore has a tradition. Each night before dinner guests are invited to mix and mingle with canapés and a cocktail. It is a lovely gesture. It offers a chance to converse with guests from all over the world.
The staff served Te Matuka oysters chardonnay mignonette. These were magnificent…so fresh and delicious. Arancini with avocado on top and the potato crisps topped with beef tartare were also scrumptious. After the cocktail hour, we all moved to our individual tables.
Dinner with a view
The view from our table was spectacular, and every table offered a premier perspective. The dinner was a set menu, with respect given to dietary needs. The lodge takes great care to accommodate your dietary preferences and provide the freshest dining experience. They source every ingredient locally, ensuring freshness, and even grow some herbs on-site at the lodge.
On our first night, the three-course meal included a Baby Spinach Salad (beetroot, roast fennel burrata, blood orange, green goddess). This was so delicate and flavorful. The burrata just melted in my mouth. It was a lovely co-mingling of tastes.
Next, our main featured a Beef Fillet (with miso baby carrot, spring vegetables, pomme anna jus). This too was delectable. The chef perfectly prepared the steak, making it tender enough to cut with a butter knife. The dessert featured a french country apple tart with vanilla ice cream…so good!
The following day, I slept in, then had a late breakfast prior to heading out on my wine tour. Richard had already left at the crack of dawn on his own adventure, so he really missed out. A local tour guide took him out for the day. Stay tuned for this article…coming soon, and my wine tour review is also on the way.
Breakfast on the patio was glorious. The breakfast menu offered a nice selection of options. The coffee was superb. I enjoyed a spicy (by request) tomato juice, to start along with a mocha coffee. Then an entire plate of pastries & fruit arrived at the table. I enjoyed sampling all the island fruit, but I saved the chocolate croissants for the hubby. He tends to forget to eat while on his nature treks.
I chose an egg dish featuring oven-roasted portobello mushrooms with aged sherry, garlic and herbs, poached egg, prosciutto, and toasted sourdough. I love portobellos, so my taste buds were ever so happy. The combo of mushrooms and egg, with the prosciutto and crusty homemade bread was a match made in heaven. The soft yolk from the poached egg, cooked just right, added to the lush flavors and spices. It was a great start to my day.
more Exquisite Meals
The meals continued to amaze me throughout our stay. The following day, I decided on the Eggs Benedict (poached eggs, homemade sourdough, wilted spinach, hollandaise with house-smoked bacon).
Another dinner kicked off with potato gnocchi, piha wood mushrooms, cauliflower, sunchoke, peas and parmesan. This was delightful. The Piha mushrooms were incredible. Our server informed us that they only grow them in one specific region of Auckland. My husband is not a mushroom fan, so he gave me all of his. I was in heaven. Next, the Pan Fried John Dory with Prawns (spring vegetables, olive oil, potato, Peperonata) arrived. It was stupendous. The sauce elevated the fish and went beautifully with the potatoes.
Of course the classic opera gateaux vanilla ice cream made for a terrific dessert and a romantic sweet ending to a perfect stay!
If you want to indulge yourself while adding a spark to your romance, book a stay at the Delamore Lodge on Waiheke Island – https://www.delamorelodge.com/
CLICK HERE to read additional lodging reviews; Or CLICK HERE for additional articles about New Zealand; ETG also encourages you to visit New Zealand’s official tourism website – https://www.newzealand.com