Hotel review

Hotel Reviews: The Martinborough Hotel, Wairarapa

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The Martinborough Hotel at dusk. Photo / Supplied

Site: In the heart of the village of Martinborough, overlooking the Martinborough Memorial Square.

Style: Charming, noble, old meets modern elegance.

Price: Small room starting at $ 239, heritage rooms starting at $ 250, heritage suites $ 279, superior garden suite starting at $ 319.

Perfect for: A weekend to discover the many wine estates in the region.

First impressions: The hotel’s facade is simply awe-inspiring, standing proudly as a marker of the city with its wraparound balcony and white accents of Victorian-style architecture. Inside, wooden floors and a wide staircase lead to the Heritage Suites and Rooms, which are in the original part of the 1882 building. The high ceilings and white walls add to the grandeur of the hotel, with a mix of black-and-white images and artwork painted on the walls, striking wooden furniture dotted around the foyers, and Persian rugs sitting on the wooden floors.

The Cameron Room, one of the Heritage Suites at the Martinborough Hotel.  Photo / Supplied
The Cameron Room, one of the Heritage Suites at the Martinborough Hotel. Photo / Supplied

Next to the reception is a cozy library area with a fireplace, which would be perfect for curling up with a book in the dead of winter. There is also an entrance to the hotel in the Union Square Bistro & Bar, where breakfast is served. Through the lobby is the entrance to the hotel’s private garden courtyard.

Rooms: I stayed in one of the Heritage rooms, the Cameron suite, a light and airy room with a view of the village square and a door to the balcony. Two wicker chairs and an outdoor table make this a perfect spot for people watching while sitting in the sun with a wine. The balcony wraps around the building, which means you could see your neighbors enjoying a wine in the sun. There is a double cabinet with a full length mirror inside a door and a small kitchenette that fits into a closet size space, closed with a door. The bed furniture is contemporary with a large plush headboard, white linens, a duck egg blue throw, and two matching European pillows with a bird and flower design. Both bedside tables have large, bold lamps with blue and white ceramic bases. In the corner of the room next to the window is a large pink armchair under the window, ideal for slouching down for a moment of relaxation.

Bathroom: Stepping into the bathroom is almost like stepping into the hallucination of the chessboard in The Queen’s Gambit, with the black and white tiles on the floor. I love a giant shower, and this one feels like stepping into a giant glass box, with handheld and rainfall shower options and a selection of Ashley & Co toiletries.

Food and drink: This is Martinborough, so there’s no shortage of wine, with 30 wineries in the area, many of which are within walking distance of each other. On the ground floor is the Union Square Bistro & Bar, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I highly recommend the smoked fish and hash potato for breakfast, which is served with poached eggs and a wonderfully tangy hollandaise sauce. Across the street is the Cool Change Bar & Eatery which was fun for a few drinks on a Saturday night. The general consensus among locals for the best coffee comes from the Neighborhood Coffee Cafe & Roastery.

Union Square Bistro & Bar at the foot of the Martinborough Hotel.  Photo / Supplied
Union Square Bistro & Bar at the foot of the Martinborough Hotel. Photo / Supplied

Installations: The Kitchener Library has an extensive collection of books and comfortable sofas in front of a gas fireplace. The outdoor courtyard garden has space for a game of pétanque. There is a chess board inside the main foyer for guests to play. Free parking is available as well as free unlimited Wi-Fi.

In the neighborhood:Vines galore. Also olive groves and olive oil tasting. Martinborough is renowned for having over 20 wineries and wine cellars, all within walking or cycling distance of the village square. There are several lovely shops down the street from the hotel and an abundance of pretty quaint street scenes.


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