ORMLlE LODGE is the elegant former home of Gertrude Smith, built in 1899 by her wealthy father, William Nelson. Nelson was a local dignitary who was responsible for the first consignment of frozen meat to leave Port Ahuriri in 1884. Son-in-law Hector John Smith lived in the family home until 1962 when he died aged 93.
The history of the building is still very evident with its beautiful stained glass windows, open fires and stunning staircase. ., The Geor family purchased the property in early 2014 and have spent the past 18 months giving it a complete renovation. My colleague, Adele, and I recently visited Ormlie Lodge. Courtesy of Hooters Vintage and Classic car hire we were collected from home in a beautiful classic 1958 Citron known as “Rene”. Phil, our chauffeur, was aptly dressed in vintage clothing. We were amazed at how many people acknowledged the car, and gave us a wave, Rene hooted and we practised our “royal” wave and enjoyed our moment of glory.
On arrival at the lodge we were treated to a glass of champagne and ushered into the stately wood-panelled bar, surrounded by works of art and a welcoming log fire.
We were given a guided tour by the owner (Michael) who highlighted original features of the house.
Modern facilities have been added that are in keeping with original features. Each room provides elegance with ornate beds, luxury linen and eclectic artefacts collected by Michael and Anna, who have homes in New Zealand, London and New York.
Rooms open on to sweeping balconies with views to the garden. Guests can enjoy pre-dinner drinks on the balcony overlooking the majestic heritage trees which have been fitted with lighting to expose their beauty at night.
The setting reminded me of the original Raffles Hotel in Singapore.
The elegant ballroom is an ideal venue for weddings, conferences and hopefully in the not too distant future, tea dances!
Ormlie Lodge offers accommodation and dinner packages, lunch and dinner menus, and traditional high teas. I can’t think of a better place to celebrate the end of the week, on a cold winter’s night sitting by the fire sipping a glass of bubbles.
The highlight of the visit was the traditional high tea taken in the restaurant overlooking the immaculate grounds.
Adele and I devoured the delectable selection of savouries, sandwiches, pastries and divine little cakes presented on the traditional three-tier cake plate. We were so engrossed in the occasion that three hours sped by and before we knew it our chauffeur arrived to take us home.
What a wonderful experience.
Food HB – Taste of the Bay