It only takes a minute or two to walk from San Souci Inn to Pohara beach, but you may find the hammock strung in the courtyard is as far as you want to go. Sans Souci translates to “no worries”, the perfect fit for this unique, eco friendly property in laid back Golden Bay (approximately 90 minutes from Nelson).
Sans Souci is unique in its construction and design, it was hand built by owners Reto and Vera Balzer from more than 9,500 mud bricks. The thick brick walls of the Inn retain the sun’s heat and release it at night. Grass and plants grow on the flat roof of the building adding to its insulative ability. The building curves around a central courtyard, an intentional design to encourage guests to meet and mingle – no TVs at the Inn also encourages interaction. (Free Wifi is provided).
The property was built in line with the couple’s environmental principles and the reasons given for the composting toilets convinced us …. they can save up to 40% of usual domestic water consumption, there’s no need to run pipes to a settlement pond, and the end result (takes about a year) is a rich fertiliser. If you’re wondering about a whiff of anything unpleasant, sawdust and a fan keeps the pile aerated preventing odour.
The composting loos are in the unisex communal bathroom that has basins arranged around a small garden. The bathroom also has a bath, and showers in private cubicles.
Other guest facilities include a communal lounge, dining area and well equipped kitchen. From Labour weekend until Easter a licensed restaurant operates that utilises the kitchen and dining room, this can be restrictive for guests wanting to self cater in the evening. The restaurant gets rave reviews though, but note that you have to book and there is a set menu, a vegetarian option is available on request. If you would like your own cooking and bathroom facilities there is one self contained family unit that sleeps up to four.
Rooms are simply but nicely furnished with a futon bed (linen and towels provided), side tables and lamps. There’s a free standing wardrobe, two chairs and a coffee table. Tea and coffee making provisions are supplied although there is no in room water supply – use the communal kitchen. French doors open to the verandah and communal courtyard, most rooms also have French doors at the back opening to a more private seating area.
Staying at Sans Souci Inn gave us the opportunity to spend the night somewhere that once existed as a couple’s dream, a dream they physically worked on for two and half years until it became reality, and we found that inspiring. There’s a photo album in the lounge that follows the progress of an empty section to the restful, well designed and unique property that exists today, we think Sans Souci Inn is somewhere special.