Hotels in Napier, New Zealand
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Napier is an Art Deco capital with vintage appeal
On New Zealand’s North Island; Hawke’s Bay is renowned for its sunny, Mediterranean-type climate, beaches and a number of long-established vineyards. The attractive coastal city of Napier was rebuilt here in 1931 following a devastating earthquake and it has a number of inspirational Art Deco features. It is the Art Deco theme that creates the charismatic appeal of Napier and ensures a steady flow of sightseeing visitors to the city. It’s time, then to crack open a bottle and raise a glass to Napier; a beautiful city and the perfect base from which to drink in the delights of this appealing region.
Napier rose from the ashes of the 1931 earthquake
Napier is built on one of the world’s most active tectonic fault lines. That half-expected devastating earthquake, though - and resulting fires - created an opportunity to rebuild Napier in grand style. This was done using techniques that ensured that the city could withstand future quakes. In choosing Art Deco style as the city’s theme, the powers that be were reflecting the world’s then addiction to the Jazz Age. The re-build programme was undertaken with gusto and on completion, Napier became known as the most modern city in the world. The County Hotel and a wine-tasting centre are now among the city’s prime Art Deco examples. It wasn’t just the city that was destroyed; surrounding villages suffered too and subsequently, they received the same re-build theme. The Crown Hotel at nearby Ahuriri is a notable example and there are a number of similarly themed hotels in and around Napier. It’s good, too, that they invested in the re-emergence of that wine tasting centre; thankfully, also one of many in this area.
Getting out and about in the Hawke’s Bay area.
Hastings; Napier’s twin city is some 17 miles inland and the two, combined, are home to most of the region’s population. Geographically, the area’s vast forests of Ruahine and Kaweka give way to the mountainous regions. From here, there are several rivers that flow through the Heretaunga Plains before adding their bit to the azure blue Pacific Ocean. Hawke’s Bay is the largest pip-fruit growing region in New Zealand and has more than 30 vineyards. Top of the wine bottle popping local favourites are Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Many vineyards offer wine tasting as well as food in their onsite restaurants. Setting the glass aside, you must also visit Cape kidnappers to experience the sight of the gannet colony feeding. It’s said to be a sight similar to that of politicians when the free bar opens. Hawke’s Bay is also home to the longest place name in the world: Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipuka-kapimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuaakitanarahu. Thankfully, it is also known as Taumata. The Naked Bus, ferry services and shuttle flights from Napier Airport provide access to other areas.
Swim with sharks and drink like a fish
The Napier Aquatic Centre provides pools, slides, water-based fitness programmes and a spray park. Among the attractions at the National Aquarium of New Zealand is the opportunity swim freely with sharks. Both venues are on the outer fringes of Napier. If you get bitten, not by sharks but by the adventure bug, there is rafting on the Mohaka River; in addition to trout fishing and horse trekking. If you are staying in one of Napier’s hotels, guest houses, apartments or backpacking hostels, the venue will carry useful detail on most of the region’s activities and attractions. Your cup will runneth over as you weave your way around the number of wine tasting jaunts. If Art Deco is your thing, the Walk which is held each February in Napier, is not to be missed. There are so many places to visit and things to do; it’s easy to miss out on one of the great, free, natural features. Hawke’s Bay has miles of glorious beaches; perfect for swimming, surfing fishing and kayaking.
Digesting impressive food and wine in Napier
Guests staying at one of Napier’s top-end hotels will find that the needs of guests’ every meal are fully addressed: breakfast, brunch and dinner. Plus, there may be the provision of High Tea, so there’s no risk of starvation. Menus reflect the easy availability of fresh meats and vegetables, plus an abundance of fish and seafood. There’s a good supply too of strawberries, olives, asparagus and apples. Restaurant menus are similarly imaginative. It is said that the quality of local restaurants makes Hawke’s Bay third in New Zealand’s pecking/ gobbling order; underlining the true quality of both produce and chef. There’s an obvious reduction in restaurant choice when compared with those in the larger cities of Wellington and Auckland, but Napier’s restaurants are friendly and seize on the availability of fresh produce to create truly memorable dishes. There are incentives too and if you time it right, you could return from your wine tasting trip in time for your favourite restaurant’s Happy Oyster Hour. Simply perfect.