Sarah Bennett visits 415 Marine Parade, a manor reborn in Napier.
Location: Five minutes’ walk to central Napier, with ocean views and instant access to waterfront attractions including gardens, play parks and the Hawke’s Bay Cycle Trails.
Style: Colonial character meets luxury plus.
Price: Rooms start at $350 per night including breakfast, evening drinks, and morning and afternoon teas.
Perfect for: A romantic getaway.
Each of the five suites at Napier's 415 Marine Parade is subtly styled to have its own character within the prevailing colonial look and colourway. Photo / Supplied
First impressions: With its straight timbers and nary a paint chip in sight, one of the Parade’s architectural icons looks every inch the pin-up for proper heritage restoration.
Built in 1860, 415 Marine Parade was absolute seafront until the 1931 earthquake uplifted the coast. During the last 160 years, the building has served as a family home, hotel, boarding house, flats, and a B&B. It was operating as Mon Logis guesthouse when long-standing moteliers Esther and Tom Seymour bought it in 2019.
The old dame needed a lot more than a facelift. It took 16 months for the full makeover, which included repiling, relining walls and replacing endless architraves and old doors. A lift was installed, along with an en suite for each of the five guest rooms.
Attention to detail, a high-quality finish and fabulous interior decor combine for stunning results. An elegant colour palette channels sun-faded blue, soothing sea green and stormy grey. Plush, modern textiles complement heirloom furniture, local art and stylish lighting.
The sunny back deck, off-street parking and bike shed also provide appeal.
Rooms: Each of the five suites is subtly styled to have its own character within the prevailing colonial look and colourway.
Built in 1860, 415 Marine Parade was absolute seafront until the 1931 earthquake uplifted the coast. The building has served as a family home, hotel, boarding house, flats, and a B&B. Photo / Supplied
We stayed in the Portland suite, which had a super-king bed and a lamp-lit reading corner with a comfy armchair. French doors open out to a balcony overlooking Marine Parade. All rooms have fibre broadband, a telly with Netflix, and a room safe.
From curtains to carpet and everything in between, our room looked and felt luxurious. Bedtime was a particular treat thanks to fine cotton sheets, silk duvet inner, lambswool blankets, fluffy towels, pristine robes and slippers.
Bathroom: Decently sized and ultra-modern, the bathroom sports crisp white tiling, a trendy backlit mirror and a monsoon shower head. Also notable were the locally made Real World body wash and shampoo, and a generous supply of cotton balls and fine face flannels.
Food and drink: Breakfast feels like quite the occasion, the antique dining table set with the full doily, fine bone china and pots brimming with home-made berry jam, marmalade and lemon curd. A laden sideboard proffers posh cereals and Esther’s preserves including local apples poached with allspice, ginger and cinnamon.
There’s pod coffee on request along with hot options such as quality bacon and eggs. On day two I restrained myself and hoed into a few moreish little breakfast muffins instead.
Esther’s culinary skills are further demonstrated in the home baking available 24/7. Far be it for me to resist the ginger crunch and scrumptious persimmon loaf. Just perfect with my cup of NZ-grown Zealong tea.
Breakfast feels like quite the occasion at Napier's 415 Marine Parade. Photo / Sarah Bennett
Drinks and canapes are served every second evening in the dining room. In our case, this was Craggy Range chardonnay and tasty crostini, greatly enjoyed in the company of good-humoured, down-to-earth hosts.
As if this weren’t enough, port and chocolates surfaced in our room while we were out at dinner.
In the neighbourhood: Any Napier attraction you can’t reach on foot can readily be reached on the Hawke’s Bay Cycle Trails or other cycleways. Bike hire can be arranged through the hosts or just along the Parade at Fishbike.
Family friendly: This B&B will be best enjoyed by adults. One twin room is available.
Accessibility: Not wheelchair accessible, but the elevator will assist those who can’t negotiate the steep stairs.
Sustainability: While there’s no sustainability flag up the pole, the hosts meet all reasonable expectations of both civilised society and the national B&B association. Bonus points are scored for the preservation of heritage and championing of local produce, and the Seymours’ longevity in the accommodation sector, which deserves a medal all of its own.
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