Former Waikato wellness retreat

4:07 PM Friday February 8, 2019 True Commercial

The former retreat at 195 Te Kawana Rd is on the outskirts of Te Aroha township. Photo / Supplied

The land and buildings housing a health and wellness retreat, established by one of this country’s better-known fashion designers and social entrepreneurs, are on the market for sale.

The property – formerly known as Te Atawhai – is located at 195 Te Kawana Rd, on the outskirts of Te Aroha township in the Waikato, and was run by successful fashion label entrepreneur Annah Stretton.

Consisting of five bedrooms, each with their own individual ensuite, the lodge sits amid landscaped gardens and a substantial pond. When trading as a commercial accommodation venue, Te Atawhai commanded rates of up to $2200 for a four-night health and wellness package encompassing yoga, massage, meditation and fitness sessions.

Guest amenities within the property’s grounds include an in-ground saltwater swimming pool and grass tennis court. The main dwelling is accessed by a long driveway set well back from Te Kawana Rd.

Now the 365sq m lodge, sitting on about 10,000sq m of freehold land zoned Rural 1A, is on the market for sale at auction at 11am, on March 7, through Bayleys Hamilton.

Salesperson Josh Smith says the lodge is being sold as land and buildings only — with the Te Atawhai wellness retreat no longer trading.

However, all the furniture, fittings, manchester, whiteware, and guest-room amenities which sustained the Te Atawhai entity are all included in the offering.

The two-storey lodge has open-plan communal living, cooking and dining areas – as well as an office - on the ground level, with guest bedrooms on the upper floor coming off a central corridor.

“With the physical infrastructure already in place, it would be relatively straightforward for any new owner of the property to establish a new lodge or commercially-run b&b styled accommodation business at the address,” Smith says.

“Te Atawhai had a niche clientele target-market with its extended-stay health and wellness programmes. Realigning the accommodation offering to the wider one and two-night stay general tourism market at a mid-price point around the $200 per room per night mark would most likely result in a substantially higher occupancy rate.

“Thinking even bigger, with a vast flat lawn space immediately in front of the lodge’s portico entry capable of sustaining a sizeable marquee, commercial activity could be scaled up for the property to operate as a wedding reception venue. Should the venue ‘morph’ into a luxury lodge, the lawn could also sustain a helicopter landing pad.

“There are also ample building platforms close to the homestead which would sustain additional new accommodation amenities to increase guest capacity.”

Immediately adjacent to the lawn is a large landscaped pond overlooked by a paved fountain setting and multiple mature trees.

Under Te Atawhai’s operations, the residence’s 45sq m garage was converted into a carpeted yoga studio – featuring an air conditioning unit, and a floor-to-ceiling mirror.

“This space could continue as a wellness-focused amenity, or it could be reformatted into a meeting or function room, or subject to council consent, it could be converted into an additional bedroom,” Smith says.

Te Aroha’s reputation as a location pandering to wellness dates back to the 1880s when geothermal hot springs were established in the town domain. The town’s mineral pools quickly became a tourist magnet – drawing in tens of thousands of holiday-makers from across the Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions before the township’s spa drawcard was eventually surpassed by the bigger and more spectacular geothermal attractions of Rotorua.

However, domestic tourism in and around Te Aroha township has undergone a resurgence over the past six-years with the opening of the Hauraki Rail Trail. Te Aroha sits at the axis of two legs within the cycling network: the Paeroa-to-Te Aroha section, and the Te Aroha-to-Matamata spur.

The Hauraki Rail Trail is one of the busiest parts of New Zealand’s national cycle network.

Smith says that with Te Atawhai only operating for two years, the dwelling’s interior decor is relatively modern and well maintained, with furnishings in neutral colours and styles.

“Any new owner looking to purchase the property with a view to re-opening it as a commercial accommodation entity could simply walk into this ‘turn-key’ opportunity and begin taking on guests. Or, with minimal refurbishment, they could redecorate the interior to any new tastes or design preferences,” he says.