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The Unique Donkey Bay Inn – Bay of Islands

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Donkey Bay outdoor dining (1)

In a spectacular setting overlooking the Bay of Islands is one of New Zealand’s most unique properties. It is everything you never expected.

Unique Architecture and Decor

Enter through the canary-yellow curved tunnel to a private courtyard shaded by olive trees; a secluded and tranquil place to relax at any time of the day or night; it’s also a great place to gather with friends and enjoy a private wine tasting.

The Sitting Room and Bar, featuring soaring ceilings, eclectic furnishings and spectacular artworks. In summer two sides of this room open to the sea breezes. The free-standing curved Library is defined by wood and water and opens to the garden; cool summer breezes waft garden scents through a double set of French doors.

Interviewing Antonio Pasquale – The Owner

When it comes to Boutique Hotels and Lodges, the Owner and Host plays an important role in the guest’s experience.

Read More in our Blog: Tips for Booking a New Zealand Luxury Lodge

Extracts from a NZ Herald article with Donkey Bay Inn Owner Antonio Pasquale are below (read the full article here) and provide some insight into his history and approach to hospitality:

Born, raised and educated in Northern Italy’s Veneto region, he and his ex-wife Stefania, a psychology major, arrived in Northland in 1994 not long after they graduated. With several hundred thousand dollars from his father – a trader in bottled water – he bought a sawmill out of receivership and “a piece of dirt in the back of Titoki” near Dargaville. His fortune was made buying, improving and selling farms. 18 in all.

Donkey Bay External View_Comp

He bought the land where Donkey Bay Inn now sits in 2000. The home was completed in 2003 and used as his family’s home but as circumstances changed, Pasquale decided to transform it into a luxury accommodation unlike no other in the Bay of Islands.

To transform the building from a home to a luxury inn, he hired Patrick Crawshaw, an architecture and design graduate and career hotel manager who has worked in some of London’s most famous premises, including Blakes, renowned for its interior which was created by Kiwi-born Anouska Hempel, a style icon and former Bond girl.

Donkey Bay Skyfall conservatory_comp

Crawshaw describes Pasquale as “eccentric and eclectic” and says he is too: “We are both pretty out there. He is very much an individual, he doesn’t give a s*** what anyone thinks of him which is an amazing accolade because it gives you the freedom to just do what you like.”

Inside, you find yellows and greens and blues and reds. That’s Pasquale says Crawshaw.

“Antonio broke the colour rules. And he broke me out of that grey and black mould. He likes really tacky, so I had to pull him back from it looking like a bordello.”

Pasquale toyed with the ideas of bringing a butler over from the IK but it’s too hot for collars and jackets, and now the staff wear flowing dresses and bare feet, blending a beach feel with the luxury of an upmarket hotel.

The Bedrooms

Donkey Bay Skyfall Suite_Comp

Four exotically styled suites and bedrooms feature views to the bay. Balconies or terraces offer private spaces to relax, four-poster beds to luxuriate and spectacular ensuites. Luxurious toiletries, robes and slippers entice one to simply unwind. Wake to an enticing gourmet continental breakfast – enjoy indoors, or on the spacious decks.


Donkey Bay Bath View

Relax on the spacious decks with a book, or wander down to the private naturist beach, or just a short walk takes you to Long Beach. As evening falls, enjoy a glass of the owner’s acclaimed wine, or a Donkey Bay gin. Maybe relax in the outdoor baths overlooking the water – watch the stars come out.

Be chauffeured into Russell by the vintage Daimler limousine to dine or simply to enjoy the local shopping boutiques. Fully energy efficient – totally off the grid and cooled under a huge living roof, this architectural masterpiece will take your breath away.

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