When you check in at this hotel, you may be surprised to find that your bellboy is rather shorter and hairier than at the Ritz, but then the Nags Head Horse Hotel is no ordinary hotel.
Beautiful viewing decks let you see the action without the gumbooots CREDIT: NZ Horse Recreation Group
Horses have an array of accommodation options CREDIT: NZ Horse Recreation Group
A hotel where carrots are accepted as tips CREDIT: NZ Horse Recreation Group
Every week horses and their riders travel long distances to compete, or to use recreation areas. In some cases, this involves an overnight stay and now there is somewhere that makes horses, dogs and their owners truly welcome. The Nags Head Hotel is located in Woodhill, North West of Auckland mainly to provide overnight accommodation for the many horses and riders that make their way to nearby Woodhill Sands Equestrian Centre. Woodhill Sands has become a Mecca for hundreds of competitors most weekends, but space is at a premium due to the high demand.
With an eye to the potential of the recreation market in Rodney, the Nags Head provides a whole host of services for horse, rider, their families and dogs. Being in close proximity to the many recreation providers in Woodhill Forest, the non-horsey family members can bike, 4WD or fly through the trees while equestrian members compete, or take an extra day during their journey to wind-down on the Woodhill Forest Equestrian Park (WFEP) trails.
Locals too can enjoy the many day spa services for horse or dog. Grooming, and other services are on offer, and the Nags Head will hold small events. Designed with great viewing areas, it offers the opportunity to view and enjoy horse sport, without having to feel out of your comfort zone.
Glamour Camping, known as Glamping, is also coming to New Zealand via the Nags Head Horse Hotel. Glamping is becoming popular overseas, and offers all the mod-cons and pampering of a good hotel while staying more in touch with the natural environment.
For more information about the Nags Head Horse Hotel, you can visit their website www.nagsheadhorsehotel.com
There’s always a catch. So when Sarah Lowndes of Woodhill says you are more than welcome to camp out free on the grounds of her 12-hectare hotel, you have to bring your horse to qualify.
Bringing your dog as well is optional, but humans turning up horseless will be sent packing.
That seems fair because it’s your equine mates that will be picking up the tab at The Nags Head Horse Hotel, which opened last Sunday with the help of the Waitemata Hunt.
Turning out as well was the team which, in the last 14 months, has transformed this failed kiwifruit farm into a hill-and-dale cross-country run, free camping ground with basic facilities like a hot shower and a dry place to cook, hotel stables, dog apartments and plenty of room for parking horse floats. That’s if you prefer to kip down there while the nag lives it up and your dog enjoys the spa-type treatment.
The landlord at the Nags Head is a sculptor and horsewoman who spent seven years casting bronzes at the Picasso foundry in the south of France before settling in New Zealand seven years ago.
The place is littered with her work, ranging from a stunning giant dancing crane at the top of the property to serving dishes on the massive deck.
Nearby is a children’s conversation area with activities for kids.
Sarah is also going to cater for those who have no intention of roughing it while their nag gets the royal treatment.
Glamping – glamour camping – facilities, a sort of Sheraton under canvas – is planned within the year.
Horse enthusiasts can use the property in a number of ways, with prices running about $50 for an overnight stay which includes a human share of the turf plan.
Under the turf plan you can pitch your tent, park your float or truck, and use the centre facilities like the outdoor barbecue, shower and kitchen.
Your horse can also choose the Good Life, Solitary Splendour or the Special Needs options.
The Good Life gets your horse turned out in a paddock with like-minded friends for about $120 a week, while Solitary Splendour is going to set you back about $70 a night and entitles your nag to its very own field shelter with all the mod cons and sole use of the attached paddock.
The Special Needs programme caters for the sick, overindulged, international traveller and those in the family way. If you are looking for a bit less then drop your horse off for the day and tick off the services you require from the day spa.