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World Rugby Cup Coincides with Moon Gate Villa Opening in Bay of Islands


Kerikeri, in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, is officially hosting Canada, Japan and Tonga teams, with the Canadians giving fans an opportunity to view their training sessions at the Kerikeri Domain in early September.

With its wineries, fine restaurants and coastal destinations; Kerikeri is rapidly becoming a top gay friendly destination for the gay national and international visitors. Not only for its very active ‘Gay in the Bay’ community, but also because there are a growing number of businesses, restaurants and boutique accommodation options owned and managed by gay hosts.

The latest offering is the romantic and highly unique “Moon Gate Villa” on the approach to Kerikeri village. The official opening on the 18th of September.

The new owners, Lionel Chambers and Rob Cottrell, have left Melbourne (Australia) to return to Lionel’s native New Zealand -especially to create a wonderful hospitality experience. To their knowledge, Lionel is the only Maori running hosted accommodation in the Bay of Islands but they are certainly not the only gay couple!

“We both had successful jobs, wonderful family and a great inner city gay community in Melbourne. But it was time to try something different.” says Lionel. “We searched for a property that would be a destination in its own right – and we found it in Moon Gate Villa.

Created in the shape of Cupid’s bow, its curvaceous rooms and dramatic entrance atrium was designed for a successful Mills and Boon author, who penned many of her books gazing at the reflective ponds and splashing waterfalls inside the 1.5 acres of formal gardens.

The bedrooms have been renovated into luxurious suites, with marble ensuite bathrooms, and windows and doors opening into the gardens and swimming pool. Each is fitted with extras you would normally expect in a 5-star hotel.

The villa is named after the romantic moon gate suspended over the pond, in a secret garden at the far end of the grounds. A small stone seat is set amongst the ferns, to allow guests to sit and watch the goldfish frolic in the sunshine. Dedicated guest lounge and terrace areas allow the gardens to be enjoyed in all seasons.

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