Whanga­paraoa Lodge The charm of ca­sual luxury

Go Travel New Zealand - - Auckland - Story by Louise Ja­cobs

Imag­ine the con­ve­nience of Auck­land City a few min­utes away while you re­lax and un­wind away from the hus­tle and bus­tle at a gor­geous lodge where your hosts aspire to take care of your ev­ery need. Af­ter one of the best night's sleep you will ever have, fancy start­ing your day with a de­li­cious cooked break­fast that you can en­joy on your bal­cony look­ing out over Lit­tle Manly Beach?

Troy Clarry has earned his stripes and more in the in­ter­na­tional world of hos­pi­tal­ity over the last twenty plus years. He knows a thing or two about luxury from his role of Gen­eral Manager of the Ritz-Carl­ton man­aged Bul­gari Ho­tels and Re­sorts Tokyo Restau­rants in Ja­pan. Af­ter many years over­seas Troy and his wife Tomoko want­ing to take charge of the des­tiny of their young fam­ily de­cided to move back to New Zealand. The draw card was about be­ing able to spend more time to­gether as a fam­ily and be­ing free to cre­ate and im­ple­ment their own ideas – the lat­ter is re­flected in the on-go­ing devel­op­ment and evo­lu­tion of the rooms and break­fast prod­ucts, al­ways tak­ing into ac­count guest feed­back and cur­rent mar­ket trends both lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional. Much pride is taken in the cre­ation of the break­fast menu that has been de­vel­oped from 20 years' ex­pe­ri­ence in ho­tel restau­rants (four of which were awarded the cov­eted Miche­lin Star). Com­bin­ing this knowl­edge with a lo­cal touch sees menu items as sim­ple as "por­ridge made the way Mum makes it" topped with Golden Syrup, two eggs scram­bled with smoked salmon and white truf­fle oil and the Kiwi favourite of eggs bene­dict – the Hol­landaise, of course, made a la minute per or­der. Troy says their pri­or­ity at Whanga­paraoa Lodge is guest sat­is­fac­tion, and the fi­nan­cial re­wards of hard work only come af­ter a guest leaves feel­ing sat­is­fied. He loves his job and get­ting to ex­pe­ri­ence a mul­ti­tude of guests, their cul­tures and their likes and dis­likes. Although the job can be de­mand­ing, he is adamant that if you have to do some­thing then you

may as well do it right. There is no sim­ply "go­ing through the mo­tions" - gen­uine pride is taken in rais­ing the bar ev­ery day in meet­ing and ex­ceed­ing guests' ex­pec­ta­tions in ac­cor­dance with the phi­los­o­phy of re­defin­ing ca­sual luxury for the guests. Troy says, "I re­ally be­lieve luxury is hav­ing ev­ery­thing you want (and more) while cre­at­ing feel­ings and mem­o­ries that last a life time. Luxury ac­com­mo­da­tion is pro­vid­ing con­sis­tently and at the high­est qual­ity the means for the guest to be able to achieve this". He likes to find out why a guest is stay­ing, so he can then tai­lor the ex­pe­ri­ence for them. Does luxury need to be ex­pen­sive? Troy thinks it does to some ex­tent, or you would have it all the time, and it would not be "luxury" any­more, but ex­pen­sive is also "rel­a­tive". "In our busi­ness and lo­ca­tion we have a vary­ing clien­tele, so it is im­por­tant for us to sense the guests' needs, find out the rea­son for their stay and ad­just the ser­vice for each guest". Mak­ing peo­ple feel spe­cial, but mak­ing this avail­able for many peo­ple at vary­ing price points; that is what Troy means by “ca­sual luxury”. "We make peo­ple feel spe­cial no mat­ter who they are, where they are from, what they are pay­ing or the pur­pose of their visit". On ar­rival each guest is es­corted to their room – a ges­ture which comes nat­u­rally to Troy as he ap­pre­ci­ates that they have cho­sen to stay at the Lodge and feels that the least he can do is ac­cus­tom them to the fa­cil­i­ties, the lo­cal area and any­thing else they might need dur­ing their stay. Many of the Lodge's hap­pi­est guests are the reg­u­lars. Troy and Tomoko en­joy mak­ing them feel wel­come; set­ting the room as the guest likes, bring­ing their favourite bev­er­age and choco­late on ar­rival and even us­ing the same aroma pil­low the guest se­lected on their first visit. It is the lit­tle touches that make peo­ple feel spe­cial – mak­ing the room they like avail­able, set­ting the alarm clock on their pre­ferred side of the bed and hav­ing their favourite Kohu Road ice cream in the freezer. For Troy, it is all about mak­ing guests feel spe­cial from the mo­ment they ar­rive un­til wish­ing them a fond farewell at their de­par­ture. The rooms are im­mac­u­lately pre­sented and com­fort­able with var­i­ous op­tions re­gard­ing size, bal­conies and ameni­ties to suit ev­ery guest. En­joy a de­li­cious cooked break­fast on your bal­cony while look­ing out over the har­bour. The lodge is the per­fect jump­ing off point for ex­plo­ration of Auck­land – the city it­self is within easy reach via ferry or car. Won­der­ful day-trips to scenic lo­cales such as Omaha Beach, Matakana, and the Brick Bay Sculp­ture Trail are highly rec­om­mended by Troy & Tomoko, and they can help guide you in mak­ing your hol­i­day plans. Don't be sur­prised if one of the team of­fer to take you sight-see­ing! All rooms are com­plete with a kitch­enette re­flect­ing the in­ter­na­tional trend for ac­com­mo­da­tion to be com­fort­able and like "be­ing at home". Guests en­joy hav­ing the op­tion of cooking and dining in if they wish. There is a won­der­ful lo­cal butcher and fruit and veg­etable shop in the Manly Vil­lage, and you can col­lect your own fresh cock­les from Shake­spear Park and cre­ate your own "fresh as can be" lo­cal cui­sine. If you are off to Auck­land for busi­ness or plea­sure and are look­ing for ac­com­mo­da­tion of­fer­ing some­thing truly spe­cial book your­self in at Whanga­paraoa Lodge. It is an easy drive from Auck­land air­port and has stunning views over the har­bour. Con­ve­nient, quiet and rest­ful the Lodge is the per­fect bal­ance be­tween the anonymity of a large ho­tel and the per­son­abil­ity of a Bed & Break­fast. Head to Whanga­paraoa Lodge to have your own tai­lored ex­pe­ri­ence of ca­sual luxury in the ca­pa­ble hands of Troy and Tomoko, who are look­ing for­ward to mak­ing your stay a very spe­cial one. Whanga­paraoa Lodge also caters for small cor­po­rate meet­ing re­treats up to 10 guests, fully catered and ac­com­mo­dated in a small meet­ing room and lounge.

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