Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dream getaway lodge open for business

Luxurious Pakiri Point Lodge, which overlooks stunning Pakiri Beach in Rodney, was the subject of a long-running planning battle.

A luxury lodge has finally opened in Pakiri after a storm of protest over its prominent position on the cliff top overlooking the iconic beach.

The house, which is understood to have cost more than $5 million to build, drew objections from the public and the Auckland Regional Council which had spent $20 million buying the surrounding land for a new park.

The ARC claimed the house would spoil iconic views of the park.

However, Rodney District Council planning commissioners disagreed, saying the house was in an approved rural-residential subdivision, was appropriately designed and that landscaping and bush planting would avoid significant adverse affects.

After five years in the making and the battle through the resource management process, the house is now finished. It has six bedrooms, covers 600 sq m and sits among 4ha of young bush.

Its chiselled limestone pillars were chosen to harmonise with the white sands of the 24km-long wilderness beach below.

The lodge is owned and operated by catering supremo Rae Ah Chee and Fruitworld director Billy Chong and his wife Evelyn.

Mr Ah Chee said yesterday that he was enthusiastic about providing "a quality experience" for up to 10 guests after 40 years of catering at huge venues including Eden Park.

He said Pakiri Point Lodge was tastefully decorated and furnished in a "fusion of quality".

It won a gold award for the Auckland region "House of the Year" - for homes over $1 million.

A finalist for the national award, it also collected regional awards in the sustainability and best kitchen categories of the Registered Master Builders' competition.

Mr Ah Chee said dozens of Rodney-based tradesmen had worked on the two-year project and he hoped that, as business grew, up to six residents would be employed running the lodge. Its location, with its commanding view over the beach and the ocean, was a point of difference to many other luxury lodges in Rodney.

"It's a 70-minute drive from Auckland and 20 minutes by helicopter over stunning water scenery," he said.

The lodge's website says ensuite rooms are priced from $550 to $650 per couple per night, including breakfast.

Mr Ah Chee said the lodge would compete for guests from overseas but he had also had inquiries from Aucklanders planning a wedding anniversary or birthday. Other luxury lodges in Rodney District have nightly rates from $300 to $695.
By Wayne Thompson | Email Wayne
4:00 AM Wednesday Nov 18, 2009

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