I recently visited The French Country house with my family, what a hidden gem! Nestled in 40 acres of private parkland, in the hills of Pahoia, just 15-minutes north of Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, and not too far from Rotorua. A luxurious farmhouse created in the style and charm of a French Provencal home. The house is absolutely amazing, a little bit of France in the New Zealand country side, opulent furnishings, crystal chandeliers, wooden beams, expensive antiques, luxurious linens and plush furnishings.
The French Country House screams romance and splendor, from the moment you walk up to the huge double heavy wooden doors, and enter the drawing room with not one but two huge fire places. An ornate spiral staircase leads off to one side to a library, with plush leather sofas for you to sink into and relax.
Each of the three rooms are all superbly appointed with elegant, hand-picked pieces of furniture and each with their own spacious en-suite bathroom. The Blue room boasts beamed ceilings, hand finished timber windows, a crystal chandelier, king-sized bed and luxurious linens, a champagne bath built for two. This room also has an adjacent charming loft bedroom, ideal for families.
The aptly named Green Room is in hues of summer greens. An antique cupid looks down on a king sized bed draped with fine Italian linen, antique chandeliers, and a spacious en-suite with a large claw foot bath and separate tiled shower.
The Farm View Room has french doors which open up onto a private balcony with as the name suggests views across the 40 acre farm. Hand finished timber windows, middle-eastern rug, tulle draperies, and spa bath all give this room a very romantic ambiance!
Each room is uniquely decorated and furnished, the attention to detail is undeniable, everything has been thought of to make your stay a very special one. With hand batched toiletries and thick soft towels, plush his and hers dressing gowns, crystal glasses and decanters full of rich dark port for you to enjoy.
Kay the host at The French Country House is a special lady, she has the perfect balance of host whilst knowing when to disappear into the background to allow guests to enjoy some privacy. Her home baking is to die for! We arrived late in the afternoon, and Kay (and her gorgeous dog Freddy) warmly welcomed us with hot coffee and home baked carrot cake, it was divine!
The French Country house is also home to Cheyenne the donkey, several horses, Jersey heifers, and free range chickens. Ask Kay for a bag of carrots and take a walk around the and property feed the horses, we were lucky as our stay coincided with the birth of four new foals!
The breakfasts at the property are really something else, as well as the freshly made coffee and juices, there was a very generous amount of fresh fruit, cereals and yogurts, you can also enjoy a cooked breakfast. The breakfast room is a highlight with soft floral furnishings and patterned table wear, it was my favourite space, well that and the outdoor courtyard, where you could almost be in Provincial France! The courtyard boasts a European feel and is a lovely sunny spot with views of Mount Maunganui and the glistening ocean as a back drop.
The French Country House is a 20 minute drive from central Tauranga, with its lively waterfront bars and cafes. A 30 minute drive from the beaches of Mount Maunganui, and Papamoa, 20 minutes from Waihi with its long white beach, and seaside beach town, that boasts several eateries and lovely quirky shops to browse. The Bay of Plenty area has so much to offer, a favourite holiday spot for Kiwis, with a warm sunny climate, endless sandy beaches, lush forest, spectacular seafood, citrus orchards and kiwifruit vines. There are great walks in the area in the Kaimai ranges, you can take a cruise in the harbour, to Matakana Island, see dolphins and other marine life, visit Hobbiton which is only a 50 minute drive or Rotorua a easy one hour drive. The French Country House is an ideal base from which to explore many of the Central North Islands attractions.The team at Luxury Adventures or Kay your host at the property can help arranging activities and experiences, or provide help and advise on locations for you to explore.
During our stay, we visited Mount Maunganui, where an ice cream at Monte Gelato is a must, and a well deserved treat after a walk up the mount! The near by Papamoa beach is a beach lovers paradise miles of sandy beach where you can hire paddle boards, go for a surf or top up your tan! We also visited Hobbiton, not an avid fan of the Hobbit films I was unsure what to expect, but was very pleasantly surprised. You can self drive to Hobbiton, which is located close the the town of Matamata, or take an organised transfer from Rotorua. Either way on arrival, you will join a coach for a guided commentary drive to Middle Earth, where you’ll spend a good hour walking around the beautiful English gardens, 12 Hobbit holes, including The Mill & The Green Dragon Inn. The guides are all really very good at what they do, and offer a detailed insight into the making of the set, the Hobbit films, and happy to answer any questions you may have. The tour ended at the Green Dragon Inn, where you have time to enjoy a complimentary ginger beer, ale or cider, you can also purchase food here. My family all enjoyed the Hobbit films, and found the tour really interesting, but even as a Hobbit and LOTR novice I still enjoyed the tour, and can recommend it to visitors staying in the area.
The property is also a perfect spot to do absolutely nothing at all!
My family all loved the property, we did not want to leave, our short 2 night stay felt like a week, we were so rested, Kay was amazing and my children fell in love with Freddy the dog. The property is a real gem!