by Shane Boocock
Sunrise was breaking over the horizon and I felt like visiting royalty on opening the glass doors of my Spa Studio leading onto my secluded balcony. Waking up to the Bay of Islands on your doorstep is not only impressive, it’s translates into a million dollar view. ??It’s just one more indulgent feature when staying in a multi-million dollar refurbishment of a well-known hotel, the Paihia Beach Resort and Spa.
Since its six month closure in 2008, the resort has reinvented itself with ultra chic guest rooms boasting custom-tailored entertaining areas, free broadband internet, 42in flat screen plasma screen TV’s, and stereo systems with IPod-docking facilities. The mini kitchen is also impressively laid-out with a microwave, fridge freezer and stylishly designed utility units. The studio is completed with French oak timber flooring while extended private guest suite patios now provide for private massage areas or alternative alfresco dining.
Located only minutes from Paihia shops and the Waitangi Treaty grounds, the resort is centrally located to all local tours and activities – what this region is renowned for. This is a 5-star Qualmark rated property with just 21 self-contained and daily serviced rooms on four levels offering stunning ocean views from every balcony and patio.
With 180 degree views across the Bay of Islands, the new pool deck flaunts its hip outdoor resort living with relaxing day beds and five, count them five, heated spa pools and one main swimming pool.
The new spacious and luxuriously extended reception area offers guests their first glimpse of the high quality refurbishment. It has a small club-like Kiwi reception area for informal and relaxed greetings. Internet access is also available at the business centre behind reception for a nominal charge.
During my stay I spent an hour in the resort’s award winning La Spa Naturale which has also had a major facelift and now offers the ultimate spa experience: new hot treatment pools, soak baths, steam treatment areas and dual massage rooms. Their signature treatment is the aptly named ‘Naturally Northland.’ Another first is the purpose built Hair Day Spa offering soothing head massages and scalp treatments.
Finally the resort’s renowned chef serves up a menu of contemporary cuisine sourced primarily from Northland’s finest produce in the chic, poolside restaurant, simply known as Pure Tastes.
The Bay of Islands is a year-round resort destination, so it’s no wonder many New Zealanders, not just overseas visitors, are finally discovering something on their own back door-step – a sweet serving of Paihia indulgence.
Spa studio: features super king size bed, mini kitchen, 6ft spa bath, private balcony with views over the bay. Other room configurations include studios with two bedrooms, or two bedroom apartments. two and three night packages can be custom tailored to include revitalising spar treatments etc. Spa studio prices are $549 per room per night including gst and a fully cooked breakfast.