There is this excellent invention our New Zealand counterparts call The Bach, pronounced The Batch. It’s a small little dinky thing that you traipse to for weekends after a working week. For business travellers, it's what you rent out for the weekend after too much company time.
The New Zealand version of the weekender is no run-down fibro collecting dust out-of-season. It's the veritable domestic showpiece, where friends gather, where bed-and-breakfast is taken to new heights. In a bid to get returns on the design overhauls, bach-owners are renting out rooms in these smartened-up weekenders, offering top notch breakfasts and even dinners to a discerning business set wanting to squeeze some me-time into the cross-Tasman work trip.
The Boatshed, a luxury boutique hotel on Waiheke Island just 40 minutes boat ride from Auckland, is the best possible version of the Bach.
The white-painted, wood-panelled abode, on the top of a hill overlooking Oneroa Beach and the world, started out as a family holiday cottage of designer David Scott. It’s now run by his son Jonathan, whose immaculate taste has turned a cottage into a showpiece, a bach into a luxurious and unique hotel.
In true bach style, The Boatshed has been added to and built on, so there are now a series of little boatshed rooms looking out to sea, an attached two-storey lighthouse that has its own dumb waiter so guests don’t have to bother coming down if they don’t want to, and a main cottage.
All rooms are different, but all maintain a sort of beachy boaty holiday moodiness. The interiors are light and sun-drenched, with polished concrete floors inside and sprawling decks outside. At night dozens of candles are lit, and a communal dining area sparkles as Jonathan brings five-course meals and matching local wines to the table.
A homemade icecream is made from fresh chopped mint from The Boatshed’s own garden, and the Asian chicken ball starter is fresh and fragrant, with a lemongrass hint and water chestnut crunchiness. Breakfasts are made to order, including a perfect Hollandaise sauce with poached eggs and herbs from the garden, and includes local fruit toast, muesli and yoghurt to prepare guests for an active day ahead, if they choose to leave the hotel.
Borrow some bikes from The Boatshed and power up and down the roller coaster hills of Waiheke. Cycling on Waiheke turns the adage that what goes up must come down on its head. Instead, what goes downhill must soon go back up, and the minute you feel the wind in your hair as you whooooop downhill, there is going to be some "ahh-ooowwws" when you have to climb the next hill. But getting to the top is always worth it. Pain, gain.
Coffee at Spice and lunch at Stoneyridge Vineyard. Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant offers possibly the island’s best dining outside The Boatshed itself. Oneroa village’s Waiheke Fruit and Veg sells organic beers and local wine, artisan bread, local cheese and Italian hams.
The Boatshed is NZ$645 per night - double\twin (1st May 2011 - 31st August 2011) and NZ$765 per night - double\twin (1st September 2011 - 30th April 2012), which includes breakfast and on-island transfers.