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The Weston House

The Weston House, front

Christchurch, New Zealand
Tired of being dealt a bad hand in luxury travel? Blue List Hotels discovers the ace of stays - boutique accommodation with something extra special up its sleeve.

first impressions
If it's historic Christchurch you want to see, then this beautiful, Georgian-style mansion won't disappoint: it's a wonderful destination in itself. Built for George Weston, a leading lawyer in the 1920s, it has long been considered the finest building of its kind anywhere in New Zealand. Now extensively restored and refurbished, it mixes modern comfort with classical style - original features include mature trees in the secluded courtyard, polished oak floorboards and high ceilings. It boasts a Qualmark five-star rating, and a coveted Historic Places Trust Category 1 listing.

Ideally located just a few minutes' walk from the city centre, The Weston House has become a prominent and much-visited landmark, and the destination of choice for the discerning traveller.

bedrooms
It's hard to believe today's luxurious guest lodgings were once humble servants' quarters, such is their incredible transformation. Both suites offer everything you'd expect from a hotel this grand - light, airy, spacious rooms with an array of creature comforts.

The Weston House, interior

The Hagley Suite boasts a queen-sized bed with designer bedspreads and linen, a wooden writing desk with complimentary stationary, TV, tea and coffee making facilities, fridge, and a comfortable sitting area as standard. Guests are also pampered with a large, beautifully-fitted en-suite bathroom with heated tiled floor, shower, and a selection of complimentary toiletries. Fresh fruit, locally-grown flowers, quality sherry and handmade chocolates are available FOC.

The plush Peterborough Suite, with its high ceilings and sweeping garden views, has a super king-sized bed - also with bespoke linen - a huge walk-in wardrobe, and a state-of-the-art flat screen TV. It also offers tea and coffee making facilities, wooden desk with complimentary stationary, fridge, a selection of comfortable sitting chairs, and an en-suite bathroom with heated tiled floor.

Rooms come with free internet Wi-Fi as standard.

food and drink
Kick-start the day with a gourmet breakfast in the wonderful dining room, where an eclectic assortment of paintings, antiques and photographs line the walls. Options include a full-English - cooked to your liking - or a mouthwatering Continental. During the summer months, you can also eat in the courtyard under the hanging vines, mature trees, and colourful flowers.

Before heading out for dinner, be sure to enjoy the complimentary, New Zealand-grown wine with hotel owners Len, and his entertaining wife, Stephanie.

A short walk will bring you to the city centre, where you'll find restaurants to suit any taste and budget. Try nearby Zydeco Cafe & Bar for traditionally-cooked Cajun and Creole. For something completely different, step aboard the quaint Tramway Restaurant for a five-course dinner. It's not exactly fast food - plan for at least two hours - but it's the perfect way to see the delights of Christchurch.

The Weston House, gate

service with a smile?
Expect five-star treatment the moment you step through the door. Guests receive free airport/rail transfers, free internet access, off-street parking, and a discount with local taxi firms. Hosts Len and Stephanie even offer complimentary guided tours of the local sights - and one-to-one lessons in croquet and petanque on the lawn.

Laundry and dry-cleaning facilities, as well as gourmet picnic hampers, are available on request.

local attractions
Christchurch has a wealth of sights and attractions - and most are just a short walk away. Be sure to visit the bustling Arts Market at weekends, and to while-away an afternoon at beautiful Botanic Gardens. Take a relaxing punt down the meandering Avon, before riding a tram to Canterbury Museum. After shopping for traditional wares in the city centre, enjoy a glass or two of NZ wine - you will have deserved it. Further afield, there's ski-fields, dolphin and penguin watching and a host of other activities.

will it break the bank?
Five-star luxury doesn't cost the earth - but it does come at a price. Rates for both the Peterborough and Hagley Suites start from NZ$380 per night, including taxes. Seasonal discounts apply.

details
The Weston House
62 Park Terrace
Christchurch 8001
New Zealand
Web: www.westonhouse.co.nz

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