Mahana Villa - Creating the ultimate luxury lodge


by Melanie Hawkins May 10, 2016

What ingredients would you assemble if you were putting together the perfect upmarket retreat? You’d start with the setting. Rural Nelson, specifically the rolling hills of the Upper Moutere, would be a strong candidate. It’s a real suntrap, with undulating ranks of grapevines in the foreground and hazy hills providing the backdrop. Views of Tasman Bay and snow-capped Mt Arthur would be a welcome bonus. 

Your next ingredient might be wine. A luxury lodge in the heart of a working vineyard is a concept with wide appeal. So let’s include a vineyard that’s famous for its Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Riesling. While we’re at it, let’s make the winery a leader in sustainable wine making, with full organic certification of both vineyards and winery. But luxury lodges need an ‘X’ factor – something that sets them apart from the competition. Here’s an idea. Add an internationally renowned art collection.

Imagine if your lodge were home to artworks by names such as Yayoi Kusuma, Donald Judd, Richard Long and Jenny Holzer. Add some Kiwi icons – Shane Cotton, Peter Robinson, Milan Mrkusich and Gordon Walters. Populate the walls with paintings, and add some stunning sculptural pieces to the grounds for good measure.

What have we missed? Fine food is a must. So let’s add a cellar door restaurant in the winery and a resident chef who’s passionate about the local seafood, meat, produce and herbs. Organise some visiting chefs with rockstar reputations, to add the “X” factor.

Then think about what the guests might like to do with their spare time. A spot of touring would be fun. So why don’t we pack the garage with classic cars – a 1962 T-bird, Lamborghinis, Ferraris and a bright yellow Lotus. Make them available for guests to use. That should be fun.

Are you liking the sound of this hypothetical resort? If you haven’t guessed already, we’re talking about one of New Zealand’s most exciting new concepts in luxury tourism – Mahana Villa. This boutique lodge has been created to showcase the best of Nelson to an exclusive clientele of overseas visitors and art-loving New Zealanders. It’s a reality, and the reality is amazing.

Owner Glenn Schaeffer (who doubles as the Art Curator) explained his vision to LUXURY. It’s about offering the best of New Zealand wine, food, culture and accommodation to people who want to enjoy a unique experience. 

To this end, Glenn has incorporated the acclaimed Woollaston Winery with its superbly designed residence. Mahana Villa is available now for a limited number of guests, who can rent the main villa with its four ensuite bedrooms, or opt for the two-bedroom loft or one-bedroom super-suite. The winery, fine dining, art and classic cars come with the package. If there’s anything else guests wish to arrange – from fly fishing to helicopter flights – Glenn and his team will use their concierge services to make it happen.

At the same time, Mahana Villa is undergoing a transformation that should lift it even higher in the luxury rankings. Seven additional accommodations are being added to the property. These will be available for booking from late 2016.

Now you’ve read to the end of the article, there’s a reward for your diligence. Mahana Villa is road-testing its unique art, wine and fine living package. If you fancy a stay in this beautiful Nelson lodge with its inspiring offering then get in touch with them to book a short break. 




Melanie Hawkins
Melanie Hawkins

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