A Tale of Love, Privacy, Exclusivity and Luxury at Delamore Lodge
I am always surprised and inspired by the diversity, innovation and personality within the luxury hotel market today, and the story of the Delamore Lodge is up there with the best of all the Waiheke island hotels. This chic resort is located on New Zealand’s Waiheke Island — the most beautiful island that you’ve never heard of.
Founder and owner of the resort, Roselyn Barnett Storey, is a powerful businesswoman whose previous career and day-to-day life was markedly different to the one she knows today. Yet this former CEO and head of large, multi-national corporations has never forgotten her other ambitions along the way.
‘My background has been corporate, in the people industry… Another passion was building and renovating. Both came together, perfectly aligning to bring about Delamore Lodge.’
Roselyn is an ambitious woman whose dreams, it seemed, were destined to come to fruition.
‘I always had in mind that, once my corporate life was completed, I would create an exciting luxury property that would become a journey of discovery… something special.’
The entire world is yours alone
Indeed, the Delamore Lodge is an exceptional place to stay and one of the most exclusive of all the Waiheke island hotels. Entirely private and intimate, with just four guest suites and one two-bedroom apartment, it takes in charming outdoor areas studded with hidden-away grottos, wild gardens, and locally inspired design detail. Sweeping views over the bay, ocean panoramas and the sheer abundance of space evoke the wonderfully surreal feeling that the entire world is yours and yours alone. There’s no doubt that the resort’s setting on beautiful Waiheke Island, just 35 minutes by ferry from Auckland, is one of its unique qualities.
‘Waiheke represents New Zealand as a whole within one island,’ Roselyn explains. ‘It is called the jewel of Auckland for that reason. It’s a stunning island with spectacular beaches, glorious award winning vineyards, an adventure playground overlooking stunning scenery of the Hauraki Gulf and outer islands.’
Roselyn’s previous career in recruitment took her around the world, and she took great inspiration from her global travels, after which she chose to set-up a hotel in Waiheke.
‘The creative process was a living project. I had help from a fabulous local architect and a creative builder that both listened and gave ideas that we all worked through together. The main inspiration were the views; it was important not to go wild with a clutter of ideas and always to know that the views needed be the hero!’
As for the vision: ‘I wanted timeless, understated elegance, romantic, protective, and exclusive.’
It is credit to Roselyn that she fulfilled this vision, with the lodge today representing an exclusive destination that embodies warmth, originality, and exclusivity. The clientele is diverse, comprised of honeymooners, international and national holidaymakers who come to explore the island. There are even some celebrities on the guest list. This is the place to come to be truly spoilt and make the most of life’s luxuries, and the staff is clearly set on fulfilling every aspect of the resort’s philosophy.
‘To delight all of our guests with first class service, excite with our unique property, to pamper with our world class spa, to relax by our award winning infinity pool, ending the day with mouthwatering cuisine. A total body and mind, holistic experience.’
Indeed, the luxury appears to know no bounds, with gourmet breakfasts tailored to individual taste, a heated infinity pool with stunning vistas over the bay and a cave-like Jacuzzi and sauna.
So, I wonder, how you would even begin to create a destination hotel within such incredible surroundings?
‘The design concept was inspired by the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean and indigenous New Zealand. The architecture is designed from the traditional Maori fish hook, which curves and folds giving privacy and protection and a feeling of security to the guests.‘
The interiors and exteriors showcase the local influence, with a traditional Maori ‘Wharenui’ (meeting pavilion) and sprawling gardens that take in indigenous flora and fauna, as well as artworks by local artists. Around every corner, there appears another beautiful sight, with perhaps the most breathtaking being the courtyard, which opens into an outdoor, sculpted dining area framed by a huge, Italian-style fireplace.
‘Delamore is a story from the driveway right through the lodge,” says Roselyn. “From theme gardens, art, hidden areas, olive and citrus groves — Delamore breathes. The story is love, exclusivity, privacy and luxury.’
The jewel of New Zealand
While the Delamore has its own story, wider Waiheke is also full of surprises. I ask Roselyn about the bests way to experience the island off the typical tourist trail; it turns out that the combined wine, island and art tours are a great way to discover Waiheke’s unique identity.
‘You can explore the island while enjoying the local vineyards and olive oil tasting is a highlight. Our walking tracks are a joy to walkers and runners alike, speculator views while giving your body a great work out. Connells Sculpture Park is one of the world’s best and a must to book if you want to explore. Go eco-zip flying through the native bush or on a guided bush walk learning about the flora.’
Roselyn also recommends the Stony Batter Gunnery tunnel, a local historical reserve, completing the incredibly diverse must-see list. And no visit to New Zealand would be complete without a trip to the award winning vineyard restaurants and vineyards, where you can sample some of the world’s best wines.
With top-quality wine, five-star accommodations, breathtaking views and unparalleled luxury in one destination, now seems like a good a time as any to head to the Southern Hemisphere and discover all that is wonderful about Waiheke, courtesy of the Delamore Lodge.