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Luxurious Hideaway on Auckland's Doorstep

31/08/2014

Interview with Roselyn Storey Owner and Founder of Delamore Lodge, an ultra exclusive boutique resort on Waiheke Island, a stone’s throw from New Zealand’s largest city.

By Robert Turner www.venues.org.nz

From Corporate High Flyer to B&B Owner To Luxury Boutique Resort – One Woman’s Journey

Driving through the gates of Delamore Lodge I had a sense that I had arrived somewhere special. I should have known from the envious comments I received from friends and colleagues when they heard where I was headed – the Lodge’s reputation precedes it.

I’d had a sneak preview of the Lodge’s beautiful and often photographed gardens a year or two ago when they featured in a local charity fundraiser garden tour. The Lodge’s gardens and the views were so impressive that we returned the following day for a repeat visit. This time I got to appreciate the architecture, decor and fittings. Luxury.  

Entering this iconic property you enter a world of your own. The views are commanding and spectacular. The staff are attentive and professional, there to make your time at the Lodge unforgettable. Privacy, stunning gulf and sea views, extensive gardens, luxury and exclusivity are the hallmark of this unique boutique hotel which caters to celebrities, stars and business leaders as well as couples marrying, couples celebrating years of marriage and many people proposing marriage.

We interrupted owner and founder Roselyn Storey during her hectic daily schedule to find out how she got started with Delamore Lodge, who the guests are and where they come from. And hopefully a story or two about unusual or crazy guest requests. I figured there are plenty of those- I’d just have to prise them loose from the very discreet Roselyn.  

Roselyn told me of her high flying corporate lifestyle as Vice President Asia Pacific for a multinational company. That’s where she was working when she bought the bare land where Delamore Lodge now sits. She started building the Lodge while she was leading the corporate life and living offshore although in the early days a Lodge wasn’t in her plans.

Her initial plans were far more small scale than the Lodge as it is today. Initially Roselyn built a luxury B&B consisting of 4 units. She quickly realised that to offer the quality and service she wanted, the Lodge would need scale.

At about that time Roselyn made a life changing decision: “I’d had enough of travel and I knew that New Zealand was the best place to live. I’d gone as far as I could in my role without moving further away and after a period of NZ based consulting for the company I finally I quit the international lifestyle and concentrated on building the Lodge.”  

Roselyn added a multi-purpose events and function room, The Wharenui Pavillion. A Wharenui is a meeting place for people. The Wharenui Pavillion is popular for weddings, conferences, meetings, events and functions.

Further construction saw a swimming pool and more accommodation added. The evolution from B&B to Bed, Breakfast and Dinner and eventually to a luxury spa completed the journey.

Many guests at Delamore Lodge are New Zealand based, booking weddings or small conferences. Couples celebrate anniversaries and the Lodge has witnessed many proposals of marriage. Delamore Lodge attracts luxury-seeking guests from the USA, UK, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany, Russia, the Pacific French territories and increasingly from Australia.

I asked Roselyn about her famous guests, some of whom have been spotted and snapped by local journalists. A quick Google search popped up famous guests Alanis Morisette, Hilary Swank and members of the band The Police. However I could have just looked at Roseyln’s guest comment page.

RT: Are your famous guests actors, musicians, politicians or celebrities?

RS: Yes! All of those things but everyone who visits is a star to us.

RT: Tell me about your craziest or most original client request

RS: Crazy requests? Every week we get one that tops the last! One booking recently was for a period from 3pm one day until 11 am the next. It took 25 emails to organise!

RT: Any more developments planned?
RS: New Zealand is a small economy with a small population which means a finite client base to draw on so we have to constantly re-engineer our business and our service offer to stay at the front. So yes, we are always looking to improve the Lodge or our service to meet our clients’ needs. Right now we are launching a spa with facilities available to guests, Waiheke locals and visitors from Auckland and further afield.

RT: Tell us about your famous long lunch

RS: The long lunch is very popular at Christmas time. Typically these are for corporate groups who want to treat their staff, get them together for 3 or 4 hours of relaxation and enjoyment. They come over on the Fullers ferry as it’s only 35 minutes from the Auckland CBD. But some groups helicopter directly to our helipad which adds to the sense of occasion for their day with us.

Waiheke Island

While you are on Waiheke Island make the most of the award winning cellar door offerings at a number of popular vineyards or enjoy the beautiful beaches and bushwalks. There’s great fishing, cycling water and other activities. Or check out the local artists, olive oil producers, dining and sightseeing. Roselyn and her team will provide recommendations or arrange a schedule for you. Or just relax and be pampered at the Lodge.

Note for wine lovers: the Island’s original success was with Bordeaux blends and this has now expanded to some spectacular Syrah (Shiraz or Hermitage), a number of excellent Chardonnays and other varieties such as Tempranillo, Montepulciano, Pinot Gris and Viognier.

 

Meetings at the Lodge

Weddings at Delamore Lodge

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