Discerning travellers to Oamaru and the Waitaki Valley already know that the place to stay is Pen-y-bryn Lodge, a Category-One historic mansion that is one of a mere handful of Qualmark-rated luxury lodges in New Zealand. But over the past several months, during the relatively quiet winter months, the Jameses (as the owners, James Glucksman and James Boussy are universally known) have been hard at work turning three of the lodge’s five guest rooms into mini-suites.
While the main lodge building, considered to be the largest single-storey wooden dwelling in Australasia, cannot be altered, owing to its listed status, the Oamaru stone “annex” building adjacent to the main lodge can be. While it was also built in 1889, like the rest of the property, this building suffered a devastating fire in 1925, resulting in the building being essentially a ruin until the 1990s when previous owners set to restoring it. Since three of the lodge’s guest rooms are in this building’s upstairs level, and there was a 1980s-vintage extension on the ground floor, the Jameses and their architect, Timaru-based Desmond Prisk, designed an upper floor extension that would triple the available space in the guest rooms.
The new-version Park, Garden and Nest Rooms are now by far the largest guest rooms in the lodge, offering in excess of 40 square metres of usable space in each. Because of this added space, these rooms now all enjoy features not previously possible, including super-king beds (each of which can be split into twins when required); a sitting area with a sofa-bed so a third person can share the room; a tea/coffee nook with a Nespresso machine for in-room espressos drinks; satellite television; and a much larger ensuite bathroom, with shower stall and separate oversize bath.
As the old saying goes, pictures speak 1000 words, so rather than describing these beautiful rooms, we share some images below. These rooms will be available for booking as of 20 October, but be warned–they’re already going fast!