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PRIVATE LUXURY: Split Apple Hideway, Split Apple, Nr Nelson, NZ
Split Apple Hideaway is part rock star retreat, part Bond villain's lair, all glamour. And this luxury residence is as well-protected as the celebrities who stay here. I am told they don't display the actual location of the Hideaway on Split Apple's website and they don't give out the number either although though guests will be given the number to share with friends;'to protect clients privacy' staff also sign non-disclosure agreements. if you want to escape in complete privacy & anonymity, 'say the blurb,' the Hideway is the perfect choice'.
Ok, so you get the picture. Like any good Villain's lair this place is pretty exclusive and if I tell you exactly where it is, I'll have to kill you.

But here's a clue. It steps down a cliffside somewhere outside Nelson (the name might give you a big clue) at the end of a private road with views of a pristine beach and out across the Tasman sea.

split apple hideaway deck, daniel allen
split apple hideaway deck, daniel allen
bathroom view
kitchen and dining, daniel allen
split apple hideaway view, daniel allen

They don't actually blindfold us on the way there but they don't have to since it is pitch-black when we arrive and one winding dark road looks much like another. The car wheels crunch on gravel as we pull up. In front of us is a vast wooden door (touch key pad entry only folks no visible lock). And just as I am wondering whether Blofeld and his cronies will be our reception committee the massive door swings open to reveal the remarkably benign looking owners US-born Alan and Shelly Trent. Alan's companies own over 900 acres of pristine coastline in and around Nelson, NZ ., he also dabbles (highly successfully) in the futures market, hence he actually has the money to build a house like this one on whim. Because Trent didn't intend to buy the land but when he saw the aching beautiful view he couldn't resist.

The house has been a four year labour of love for Alan and Shelly who have melded their own special brand of California cool with the best of new Zealand building techniques to create everybody's fantasy crash pad, right down to hint of shagpile in the carpet and the coloured lights in the shower and taps .(hot is red, blue is cold and a perfect purple in between).

This ultra-luxury residence is available for private hire from November 2010 and The Luxury Travel Bible got a sneak preview. Down the winding staircase that leads from the main hall are wide windows which have breathtaking views across Tasman Bay. There is also lots of polished marble and granite, Italian designer furnishings and vast canvases of modern artwork by artists such as Christian Lassen, Douglas, Volk, and American popculture icon Peter Max.

"Would you like a drink?" say Alan and so it begins...

We eat too much good food, drink too much good wine and generally spoil ourselves thoroughly; it is that kind of place. You can self-cater but the private chef on offer so impressed John Paul DeJoria, owner of Paul Mitchell (yes he's the reason your hair looks so good) when he and his family stayed here that he pronounced his meal "the best he had ever eaten" ,and you don't get on the Forbes Top 400 without eating a decent meal or two.

Occasionally that pristine beach beckons us for early morning walks and we also take a day to explore the stunning waterways and scenery of Abel Tasman National Park from a boat that picks us up from the beach below the house. Mostly however it is hard to go past curling up on athegiant designer beanbag in front of the very groovy glass and pebble fireplace or taking copious baths-with-a view in bathrooms with floor to ceiling windows (no one to see you but the seagulls after all).

On the last day we leave the hideaway in broad daylight. What are they thinking? I might feel compelled to share the location. OK, I won't but I will tell you to book Split Apple Hideaway for yourself, then you can be in-the-known too.

The Luxury Travel Bible insider says:

If you are going to bring the children or an untrained hound please note that the owners love glass. Dotted around the house are stunning glass sculptures some local some from Italy, all precious.

Hilary Doling 28/10/10
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