Sitting sheltered and high on a ridge with spectacular views and gentle breezes, this place is so boutique that there are only three bedrooms, or rather suites. Each is special and stunning, with underfloor heating, ceiling fans, large rain head showers and generous outside decks. Ākarana is named after the Maori word for Auckland, and the views over the city’s sky tower and nightlights, though there are glimpses of the Coromandel Peninsula and gorgeous greenery alive with wildlife and birdsong. The Coromandel Suite is also named for its views, which are magnificent, while the Owhanake Suite might just be the best of the bunch, overlooking the bay and with a landscaped garden falling away to the beach below. This is the one suite that doesn’t have a bath, but the large shower in the open-plan en suite, the expansive vistas and the proximity to the path to the beach more than compensate.
Breakfasts here are bespoke and utterly delicious, cooked up by host Caroline, who was chef on many a luxury yacht before creating this hideaway with her husband Peter. Their friendly and really quite beautiful poodles, Isla and Fabio, contribute to the home-from-home feeling, the spa treatments, suites and long outdoor pool to the exclusive-retreat vibe.
Then there’s Waiheke itself, a place of sprawling vineyards, fine local olive oil and succulent oysters where artists come to settle, drawn in by the light, temperate climate and friendly, laid-back atmosphere. Marino Ridge condenses all that into one charming boutique proposition.