In the heart of Marlborough's wine growing area lies Old Saint Mary's
Convent - a haven for the discerning traveller, where luxury
accommodation and an intimate retreat may be found.
Old Saint Mary's Convent is situated on an estate of 20 acres and
surrounded on all sides by the vineyards and olive groves Marlborough is
famous for. Spring Creek, with its abundant bird life and trout,
meanders lazily through the property. It is here, beneath Marlborough's
azure sky, that one may spend a pleasant afternoon sipping local
vintages and sampling the provincial gourmet fare.
A Proud History:
Designed by Thomas Turnbull and built in 1901 for the Sisters of
Mercy, the Convent was originally located next to Saint Mary's Church in
Blenheim. It provided nineteen bedrooms for the nuns, a library, music
room, sewing room, office and a beautiful chapel upstairs on the first
Native timbers were extensively used in the construction including
Matai, Rimu and Kauri. One of the many splendid examples of Victorian
craftsmanship is the subtantial carved staircase, constructed entirely
In 1994, the Convent was moved in five pieces to its present location
in Rapaura. The task of restoration then began under the guidance of
architect Sir Michael Fowler. The interior layout downstairs has
remained exactly as it was nearly 100 years ago, retaining its original
charm and character.
The Chapel Honeymoon/Executive Suite is the size of a small
apartment. It epitomizes luxury with casual elegance. The large ensuite
bathroom features a two-person claw bath, walk-in shower, double basins
and superior toiletries.
Each of the seven rooms has spectacular views of the surrounding
hills, vineyards and/or gardens. All have their own ensuite with bath
and separate shower. The rooms are very spacious and airy with easy
access to the balcony.
Essential modern conveniences, like fire protection sprinklers and a
sophisticated heating and air conditioning system, are cleverly hidden
behind the old ceilings, rimu panelling and timbered floors.
Continental or cooked breakfast is served in the large formal dining
room. The library, with its ornate Kauri fireplace and separate guest
lounge, is for the exclusive use of guests.
Splendid grass tennis courts neighbouring the Convent can usually be
used by guests.
Chapel Honeymoon Suite:
Executive suite, the size of a small apartment, situated in the old
Chapel with antique beautifully crafted old stained glass windows and
its own private balcony. Super-king bed, ensuite bathroom with
luxurious two person bath and separate shower. Writing desk with
Internet connection, TV and stereo. Mini-bar with complimentary bottle
of Cloudy Bay Pelorus sparkling wine.
Mother Superior's Room:
Spacious room with access to balcony. Queen bed and large ensuite
bathroom with luxurious two-person bath and walk-in shower.
Comfortable sitting area and beautiful views of the garden and
Sister Ancilla - Twin Room:
Sunny spacious room with Super-king/twin-size bed. Large ensuite
bathroom with old-fashioned bath and separate shower. Morning sun
wakes you up to beautiful views of the gardens and Richmond Ranges.
Extra large room with wonderful views over vineyards. Queen bed and
comfortable sitting area. Ensuite bathroom with claw bath and walk-in
Large room with Queen bed and comfortable sitting area. Ensuite
bathroom with claw bath and walk-in shower. Views of the garden.
Two separate ground-floor suites, one with ensuite bathroom and
Queen bed, and one with ensuite bathroom and Single bed. Suitable for
wheelchair access. Beautiful views of the gardens and Richmond Ranges.
Very sunny, with direct access to the verandas and the garden.
St. Michael's Church:
St. Michael's is a charming little wooden church situated in the
garden. It has unique stained glass windows and may be used for a moment
of quiet contemplation or for small weddings.
Marlborough holds international acclaim for being one of the finest
wine regions in the world. The Convent is ideally situated among the
vineyards for a tour of the nearby wineries.
Those attracted to the water may visit the Marlborough Sounds for
water sports or fishing. Your hosts can arrange a trip on the mail boat
or a fishing guide to take guests to the perfect spot for trout fishing
in one of the local fresh water streams.
Other activities include horse trekking, scenic walks and white water
rafting. Several excellent golf courses may be found in close proximity
to the Convent.
In winter, Rainbow ski field offers excellent skiing with terrain
suited for all abilities. Transport from the Convent can be arranged
which takes approximately 90 minutes along the scenic Wairau Valley.
Blenheim has many superb restaurants providing a wide variety of
cuisine, while lunches and evening meals are also served at a number of
the local wineries.
Old Saint Mary's Convent is located just a 10 minute drive from
Blenheim or 20 - 25 minutes from Picton on Rapaura Road. Look for our
signage on Rapaura Road.