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- Straw Lodge is a very highly rated boutique vineyard hotel near Blenheim, at the gateway to South Island NZ’s Marlborough/Wairau Valley Wine Region. Their accommodation is in the form of luxury B&B lodges housed in a rather special, and eco friendly, straw bale building overlooking their Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc producing vineyards. THE ACCOMMODATION: The lodges are spacious, comfortable with quality finishings and custom designed furniture. There is a good size lounge/seating area with a sofa/sofa-bed, study desk, flat screen satellite TV and DVD player in each lodge, and outside you’ll find a nice courtyard with seating and views over the vineyards. There will be a barbecue at your disposal too and, even better, an lovely outdoor hot tub-jacuzzi. There is a comfortable communal lounge at the main building too with a selection of DVDs and books. The breakfast here is top class, generous and fresh, and if it inspires you to do some cooking yourself later in the day you are more than welcome to use some of the kitchen facilities. If you need some extra ingredients there is a fruit and vegetable garden outside from where you are welcome to pick you own. You can also of course sample some of the vineyard’s excellent wine; guests are gifted a bottle on arrival and you’ll find your hosts are always happy to explain a bit about wine making and the workings of a Marlborough vineyard. The whole property makes an effort to be as eco friendly as possible and, according to the owners, though not strictly organic, their vineyards and their fruit and vegetable gardens receive only the absolute minimum of chemical treatments. THE LOCATION: A real highlight of South Island NZ, Marlborough is undoubtedly the country’s premier wine region, and has an international reputation. It is also, naturally enough, a centre of wine tourism. Most of Marlborough’s wineries are open to the public where you can enjoy vineyard tours and wine tasting sessions. An increasing number will also have restaurants at the wineries; Marlborough is progressing strongly in food tourism too and you’ll standards very high. The surrounding countryside isn’t all vineyards of course just to the north READ MORE