36 HOURS IN MATAKANA: The Grape and Good

Five minutes out of town, Heather and John Forsman's fivestar Takatu Lodge recently got publicity of the money-can't-buy variety when it was name-checked by Tatler magazine. Its 2012 UK travel guide said the four-suite lodge and working vineyard was one of the best places to lay your head in the world, keeping company with new boutique hotels in Europe and The Ritz in London. No pressure then. We step through the front door and the attraction is obvious. The vines and rolling countryside unfold before us, framed by the lodge's floor-to-ceiling windows and natural stone, wood and marble construction. And our suite is glorious, with a view across the vines to the sea and Little Barrier in the distance. Even the bathroom has full-length windows, creating the illusion of bathing among the grapes......

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