If you’re looking for a luxury boutique B&B in the Bay of Islands, then you will love Flagstaff Lodge.
Owners Ruth and Jessie invited me to spend a couple of nights at the 100-year old homestead they bought three years ago with four beautifully appointed rooms, each with ensuites and French doors opening onto the wrap around veranda.
They have got the balance just right. A self-contained B&B with a lounge/dining/kitchen area for guests (we were the only ones in last week so had the place to ourselves) but their own house is just next door so 6pm drinkies of local wines (I’m now a fan of Ake Ake red Chambourcin grown in KeriKeri. I know, who knew??) and canapes, shared together is a great way to hear about the history of the lodge and pick their brains for things to do in Russell.
This original homestead at the foot of Maiki Hill, just a minute’s walk from “downtown” Russell, has been lovingly restored and Ruth and Jessie are gradually growing an enviable collection of New Zealand art which adorns the rooms.
Breakfast is a highlight with homemade muesli, warm bread and jams. Plus hot croissants and stewed fruit and yoghurt. Then from the menu at the family-style table, they will make a cooked breakfast including eggs benedict, a hearty fry up or a light option.
They also have a day spa – the only one in Russell – using Thalgo products. It has one treatment room in its own little building so you’d need to book in advance, but the piece de resistance are the double bathtubs hidden in a nook outside that are used for some of the treatments and are available to lodge guests with candles, bath salts and a glass of wine under the stars. It’s from here you can lie in the hot water and listen to the native birds including moreporks, weka and if you’re lucky, one of the two pairs of kiwi who live just up here in the bush.
I loved it. When I am hosted like this at lodges and hotels, and see some things that I think the owners should know about (because they don’t tend to stay in the rooms and experience the place like a guest) I like to offer constructive feedback, but in all honesty, this place ticked all the boxes. I’d love to stay here again and would recommend it to all my friends – or at least those who have $400-$600 per night to spend!
Click here for the Flagstaff Lodge website and if you’re thinking of visiting New Zealand or just this part of the country for the first time, look at their packages which include helicopter tours out to the islands or to the tip of New Zealand – Cape Reinga.