Marlborough’s Cloudy Bay has a long history and an equally fabulous future. Although named by Cook it is said to have been first visited by the fabled Polynesian explorer Kupe, who scooped up oysters here while in pursuit of octopus, giving the bay its Maori name.In any case, it is the oldest site of Polynesian settlement so far found in the country with people here since the 13th century. You won’t sample moa like they did, but the area is home to a wide variety of great food and wine to the extent that the Cloudy Bay Vineyard is now owned by European luxury label LVMH.
After the former guesthouse burned down a few years ago Sydney-based architect Tim Greer of Tonkin Zulaikha Greer collaborated with Paul Rolfe of Paul Rolfe Architects Wellington to design a new one. At first glance the vineyard’s new guesthouse is a pavilion that throws its arms wide open to the landscape. But inside the views are only gradually revealed, through panels and screens, and the place unfolds like origami, opening up and directing our gaze to the surrounding vines on the Wairau alluvial plain, the Bay itself and the distant Richmond Ranges that feature on the vineyard’s label. The hard shell of weathering steel encases an interior of warm pine paneling and a range of New Zealand-designed furnishings such as lighting by David Trubridge, hand-printed wallpaper by PaperHands and artworks by New Zealand artists, to give a taste of the New Zealand terroir. The four guestrooms upstairs are each styled on different themes; Mountain, Cape, River and Cloud, all nestled behind a screen of cedar slats that moderates both the sun and view. This pavilion is a serene experience, but unfortunately the guesthouse is VIP only, a place to sample the vineyards produce for very special guests and those in the trade; but there will be plenty trying to get on that guest list now.