Escape to Picton: the most luxurious romantic little spot in Marlborough

Escape to Picton -- the most romantic luxurious little spot in the Marlborough Sounds.

There is ranking system for accommodation in New Zealand based on stars. Five stars and above being luxury; four stars and below being cheaper, less in quality.

They should scrap this idea and base the system on pillows. The Escape to Picton tiny hotel in New Zealand would be right at the top as a 13-pillow hotel. That’s what I had in my ‘Modern Suite’ and it was divine. This is one of the sexiest most romantic hideaways in New Zealand and it is brand spanking new.  Well, new as in quite recently opened. But Escape to Picton is a boutique hotel, bar and restaurant in a 101 year old building.

It is the brainchild of chef, hotel owner, entrepreneur and ball of dynamite Juliearna Kavanagh. She set up and ran Kavanagh House is the southern part of New Zealand for 15 years. She is a great chef and wonderful personality. Juliearna wandered past the old building on April Fool’s Day, 2007 and decided on the spot to buy it. It was run down, unused but she was determined to restore the 1907 old bank, rather than have it flattened for a modern building.

With a designer friend Michelle Evans, Juliearna transformed the old bank into the finest luxury lodge in this part of the world. The colours are soothing the fittings stunning and some features outright romantic...such as the sexy stand-alone sway bathe in the middle of the bathroom of the Formal Suite.

Picton is the gateway to the Marlborough Sounds, one of the most picturesque relaxing tranquil isolated warm and summery parts of middle New Zealand. Just 15 minutes drive south is the home and heart of New Zealand wine and the famous Marlborough sauvignon blanc. Picton offers so much to see in the breathless-scenery of the Marlborough Sounds: walk or bike the bush tracks of Queen Charlotte Sound; swim with dolphins or diving the Mikhail Lermontov, a giant Russian cruise ship that hit rocks and sunk on February 16 1986 the scenery will leave you breathless. Smell the manuka tree sap-wood, hear the bellbirds. Slow down, draw in the beauty. Picton and the Marlborough Sounds are special places, to which you will want to return again and again. So Escape to Picton serves as a luxury oasis in the middle of an upmarket tourist area.

Endless Spy Valley chardonnay, signature seafood chowder, salmon, home-made ice wonder this is THE place for honeymooners, lovers and people wanting a special treat. Plonk Escape to Picton in the middle of Queenstown – the adventure capital of the world 750km further south – and this would be $1200 a night instead of $495 a night. I am in heaven here sprawled out on my soft sensual bed.

Some guidelines before you book online at Escape to Picton:

1) Thou shalt not dine alone.

EtoP is all about spending time together.  Feel free to kiss and caress between courses.

Share a cleansing ice cream and you're sure to feel like you're on your first romantic date. The signature seafood chowder ensures that: though shalt indulge.

2) Thou shalt explore.

Get out during the day. Run some walking tracks, go on a harbour cruise with the Cougar Line, and discover the area, head to Blenheim for the wineries.

3) Thou shalt be lazy.

Hang out the `Do Not Disturb’ love heart. It's one of those times in life when you can be cathartic...and romantic. Do not move from your bed and let time go by; or sprawl out downstairs and chat about life with Juliearna.

4) Thou shalt enjoy your suite.

The blissful bed in the Modern room is to die for: 13 pillows. The mind boggles what to do with them. The spa bath beckons-two flat screen tvs – a balcony looking out to the sounds. Mmmm.

5) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's suite

There are just three vast rooms – the Sea Room, the Modern Suite and the Formal suite. All have their luxurious idiosyncrasies and you would love every suite.

There are no other commandments – break a few rules and enjoy the haven of Picton.

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