We're doing everything we can to help profile great NZ venues and this one leaves its guests buzzing every time. It's hard to put LaValla into words. The people, for a start, are just wonderful! Michelle, front of house, who has so much time for everyone. A caring, kind and patient mother figure. You know she must be juggling a hundred things in her head at any given moment but she never looks frazzled, always has time for you and brings her warmth and fun loving personality to the table every time.
Then there's David, the Cook (don't call him a chef even though the food is out of this world!). He is one of life's characters. His passion for food is more than just being in the kitchen cooking. He wants to share it with everyone. Wants to make them feel special, wants to spoil them rotten with treats and top ups and delicious dishes that you just can't resist! He's a bad person if you're on a diety but maybe the diet can wait until tomorrow because you don't want to turn down David's food. It's too good!
Bernie, part owner, is the epitome of calm. Whatever the problem is, isn't a problem. Nothing is ever too much and it doesn't really matter how crazy or unusual or left field the request is, you just know that Bernie will say yes and will solve the problem. It's all too easy at LaValla because the people make it so.
Then there's Maria. Oh my word! You won't see her inside the conference space often but you might just catch a glimps of her head about the flower beds as she is the resident gardener who never seems to stop. Her passion, just like David in the kitchen, is beyond ordinary. The detail that's gone into the planting and the maintenance of the acres of lawns and grounds is simply astonishing. How does she do it all? I don't think she even knows.
The people are what make LaValla, without a doubt. And that's just a part of the whole experience at the reinvented venue that has such a fascinating history. It was once a boarding school, run by the Marist Brothers, where Dave Dobbin resided and 'helped build a pig shed when on detention'! according to historical records. It's where people turn up as visitors but leave as friends. The owners, who rescued it from dereliction, made a promise to respect and remember the past without it feeling dated, to live by some very simple yet powerful values about being real and honest and focussed on the little things. And it's the little things that make all the difference.
If you haven't been there yet, you'll find the most unexpected collection of spaces. From modern, smart conference spaces with high tech AV to a 100 seat theatre space with refurbished red velvet seats and twinkling ceiling lights to create a sense of wonder and magic. And beyond that there's a full size gym, should you ever need extra space to run around if it's wet and miserable outside and onsite ensuite accommodation in the renovated Brother's Lodge.
There is nowhere else like LaValla anywhere. If you haven't been there yet, you'll find it about 10 minutes along the road from the Bombay turn off on State Highway 1 outside Auckland. Maybe it's time for a visit. But be warned, they will steal your heart away when you're not watching!
To see more about LaValla check out their listing.
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