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Historic former maternity home turned luxury lodge placed on the market for sale

Tags: Commercial

An iconic Napier Hill residence which served as a maternity home and midwifery school for decades and now operates as an exclusive five-star luxury lodge - has been placed on the market for sale.

With its sweeping view of the ocean and ranges beyond, majestic McHardy Lodge sits on the warm, northerly side of Napier Hill and was originally built in the 1890s as the ‘city residence’ for Scottish immigrant Leslie McHardy who ran a substantial sheep farm known as Blackhead Station some 90 kilometres south of Napier.

A generous philanthropist, McHardy allowed the family residence to be used as a nursing home to care for Kiwi soldiers returning home from battle in WW I and shortly after, in 1917, the property was gifted to the Napier Hospital Board for conversion into a maternity home and midwifery school – a role which the property fulfilled for several decades until maternity services were eventually ceased in the late 1970s.

In the 1990s McHardy House was fully restored by its then owners to a stately private residence, before evolving into luxury accommodation in the mid-2000s.

Since then, the current owner has welcomed back hundreds of people who were born at the maternity home, the unique and varied history of the lodge is also an ever-popular drawcard and talking point for the many international guests that come to stay.

The McHardy Lodge residence and business at 11 Bracken Street in Napier is now being marketed for sale through an international tender by Bayleys Hawke’s Bay, with tenders closing at 2pm, on 10 August. Bayleys Hawke’s Bay, salesperson Nik Gannaway said the 566 square metre lodge sat on some 1766 square metres of freehold residential-zoned land and features six luxuriously appointed guest suites, all with large ensuites.

“There are a multitude of living areas to explore throughout McHardy Lodge - including the full-sized billiard room, library and large formal dining area. Guests often gravitate towards the spacious and sunny family room which boasts the panoramic vista and is open plan to the large, chef–equipped kitchen.” Mr Gannaway said.

“No stay at McHardy Lodge would be complete without enjoying a glass of your favorite tipple on one of the gracious verandahs overlooking the manicured garden or a dip in the heated, outdoor swimming pool.

“Renovations at the home have seen beautifully restored, high stud and metal ceilings, rich native wood flooring and period furnishings throughout combining to create a distinctively lavish and soothing ambience.”

Qualmark-rated as a five-star Boutique Lodge from 2009 through to 2018, McHardy Lodge has developed an impeccable reputation amongst international travel agents and glowing guest reviews have led to Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence awards every year from 2012 through to 2018.

Bayleys Hawke’s Bay salesperson Sam MacDonald said the property occupied a unique position in the market being Napier’s only five-star boutique lodge.

“Hawkes Bay, along with the rest of New Zealand has been experiencing a surge in tourism over recent years. Not only are we seeing a greater diversity in countries of visitor origin but also a dramatic growth in their total spend,” Mr MacDonald said.

“There has been a marked increase in demand for luxury accommodation in Napier, driven by our famed Art Deco architecture tourism and award-winning wineries. It’s also an amazing destination for cycling, golf, fishing and any outdoor enthusiast in general.

“McHardy Lodge is comfortably and profitability run by a sole operator but has ample scope for further business growth. Most guests are booked through well-established relationships with international travel agents forged by the current owner over the last 10 years but the domestic market remains relatively untapped. Given the broadening range of activities and events the region has to offer the average length of guest stay also has plenty of potential to be increased.” Mr MacDonald said.

“The property has been meticulously maintained – both internally and externally – over the past decade of tenure in accordance with the standards one would expect at a boutique lodge. It is being marketed as a ‘turn-key’ operation with a solid number of future bookings already in the system through until the end of summer next year.”

Audited financial accounts for McHardy Lodge show the business’s net profit grew by 18.5 percent from the 2015/16 financial year to the just completed 2017/18 financial year.

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