Oamaru’s historic Pen-y-bryn Lodge has been named Qualmark’s second ‘New Zealand Luxury Lodge’ in a new quality assurance category launched earlier this year in conjunction with Luxury Lodges of New Zealand.
Pen-y-bryn has joined the ranks of lodges that have earned this distinction through membership of a handful of international luxury hotel groups.
To achieve its latest distinction, Pen-y-bryn Lodge was visited by two Qualmark assessors who spent a night at the property, enjoying the full lodge experience including a gourmet dinner and guest activities.
Built in 1889 for Oamaru businessman John Bulleid, who gave the building its Welsh name meaning ‘On Top of the Hill’, the exclusive property features five ensuite guest rooms overlooking historic Oamaru and the coast.
Co-owner and Pen-y-bryn Lodge host James Glucksman said he and co-owner James Boussy were “delighted” to receive the New Zealand Luxury Lodge Qualmark rating, rewarding them for their commitment to the historic Victorian mansion and the service they offer.
“We’re proud and honoured to have won this distinction, which we feel not only acknowledges the ongoing efforts we’ve made to upgrade the lodge since we took it over in 2010, but also the unique charms of our historic property and of the surrounding township of Oamaru.”
The Qualmark assessors enjoyed the full lodge experience, including a gourmet dinner, a croissant baking class led by James Glucksman, a Chinese tea degustation and a visit to the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony.
The two ‘Jameses’ said they made a point to have the assessors experience activities in and out of the lodge.
“That reflects the fact that we actively encourage all our guests to make the most of their time in Oamaru, which has so many things for visitors to do, while also recognising that many of our guests arrive at Pen-y-bryn and don’t want to leave,” said Mr Boussy.
“We ensured they experienced the comfort and exclusivity of our hilltop location, sampled our excellent menu, and enjoyed activities out of the lodge,” he said.
“When we moved here we immersed ourselves in this community and fell in love with everything it has to offer, and with this in mind we encourage our guests to experience the tranquil charm of the township. Combined with a stay in our historic, warm and welcoming lodge, we feel this is a captivating combination.” . . .
Oamaru used to be just another town people drove through to get somewhere else.
Gradually, recognition and restoration of its historic buildings, the tourist potential of the little blue penguins, its artists and artisans and other attractions have turned it into a destination in its own right.
Some people come to visit, others like the Jameses have made it their home and made a major contribution to the economic, cultural, culinary and social fabric of the town.
You can find out more about Pen-y-bryn here.