New Zealand’s Huka Lodge and The Lodge at Craggy Range offer similar but different luxury experiences.
New Zealand rules in the luxurylodge stakes, as these two stellar properties attest, with a winning combination of remarkable natural settings with lashings of style and refinement. While enduring legend Huka Lodge courts a global coterie with its sumptuous appointments and unparalleled service, The Lodge at Craggy Range is a stylish newcomer poised to cultivate a fertile following.
CRAGGY RANGE, HAWKE’S BAY
SITUATED AT THE FOOT OF TE MATA PEAK, a soaring outcrop steeped in Maori legend, The Lodge at Craggy Range is a superb addition to the bucolic Giants Winery in Hawke’s Bay’s Havelock North. Home to the Craggy Range cellar door and award-winning restaurant Terrôir, the Peabody family-owned property welcomes a sophisticated country retreat that relishes its glorious aspect.
To harmonise with this picturesque setting and reect Craggy Range’s inventive spirit, the state-of-the-art Giants Winery was conceived in the late 90s, drawing heavily on the area’s agricultural heritage and locally sourced materials. Now, in what was once the the head viticulturist’s residence, a classic low-slung building ringed by vineyards and enjoying sweeping views of the Tuki Tuki Valley, has been deftly recast as a premium winery stay.
Architect Simon Clarkson was called on to recongure interiors within the existing shell, opening up the cathedral ceilings to eect a generous sense of space. Pivoting around a central courtyard, the expansive abode includes formal lounge and dining rooms, as well as a more casual open-plan living space and a kitchen stocked with piquant oerings. Four lavish bedrooms all boast stone-clad ensuites resembling discrete sanctuaries under one roof. Rooms open onto the lush, manicured gardens and swimming pool which pose a striking juxtaposition against the rugged backdrop of Te Mata Peak.
Working with interior designer Andrew Melville, Mary Peabody and daughter Mary-Jeanne Hutchison devised a subtle but beautifully textured scheme of tumbled limestone, pewter, rustic timber and soft linen to echo the landscape’s natural palette. To instil the space with warmth and idiosyncrasy, they deployed a thoughtful collection of locally sourced objects and furniture. “Hawke’s Bay oers world-class artworks, antiques and furnishings and the lodge is an ideal location to showcase the region’s treasures,” says Mary-Jeanne.
Craggy Range wines are indeed among these regional treasures, and a trip to The Lodge is an opportunity to sample some terric limited editions. Taking in the region by helicopter, including nearby Gimblett Gravels vineyard where Craggy Range produces most of its wines, is a chance for guests to imbibe the breathtaking scenery before touching down to enjoy the fruits of its soil with an earth-totable menu prepared by Terrôir. For more, visit craggyrange.com
Clockwise from top le Aerial view of Craggy Range’s Giants Winery with Te Mata Peak towering above. The Lodge at Craggy Range. Open-plan kitchen for casual imbibing. One of the opulent king-sized bedrooms. An open replace is a focal point in the living space, which opens to the garden.
Clockwise from top le The Owner’s Cottage, Huka Lodge’s most lavish accommodation, is perched above the Waikato River. Breathtaking Huka Falls. The master suite at the Owner’s Cottage. The teal walls of the Alan Pye cottage lend a fresh vibe to the classic furnishings and reflect the river’s beguiling hue.
HUKA LODGE, TAUPO
HUKA LODGE RESIDES IN THE PANTHEON of haute retreats, counting Queen Elizabeth II among its habitués. Founded in the 1920s by Irishman Alan Pye as a y shing outpost on the Waikato River, the lodge has become synonymous with the kind of understated luxury that eschews ostentation in favour of discreet service, sumptuous appointments and a chance to commune with nature. And while y shing remains one of the region’s stellar attractions, it’s the sybaritic appeal of Huka Lodge that lures the international style set today.
Comprising 18 exclusive riverside suites and two grand residences, the lodge is set within seven hectares of spectacular gardens, which balance the clipped perfection of a parterre estate with the lush sprawl of Taupo’s natural surroundings. Conceived by landscape designer Suzanne Turley, the grounds meld almost seamlessly with the iridescent jade of the Waikato’s waters, lending every room a verdant outlook. They also aord some splendid spots to enjoy British-born executive chef Paul Froggatt’s fare alfresco – from hedged rooms and terraces to a pavilion jutting out over the river.
Private dining can also be experienced inside the original lodge, where crackling res, leather club chairs and handsome tartan wallpaper exude the hearty ambience of an English country manor. Meanwhile, a seven-course degustation dinner within the lodge’s teeming subterranean wine cellar is a seriously decadent aair.
Paul’s daily menu is informed by a passion for Taupo’s local produce combined with his classic training at Michelin-starred institutions abroad, and has helped arm Huka as an epicurean destination.
The classic styling of the original lodge is carried through to the 18 Junior Lodge Suites, though here the mood feels lighter, with a soothing neutral palette. Each features an indulgent ensuite, replete with deep bath, and French doors opening to a private terrace. At the other end of the property, the Owner’s Cottage is the larger of Huka’s two stunning self-contained residences, furnished with an array of elegant antiques and art by New Zealand’s foremost artists collected by Alex van Heeren, who purchased Huka Lodge in 1984. With views extending to Huka Falls, this grand abode boasts four large suites and an innity pool perched over the river, as well as a butler and personal chef. More recently, Huka has added the Alan Pye Cottage to its stable, where designer Virginia Fisher channelled the river’s turquoise hues for a space with more modern – but no less rened – panache.
For a growing breed of discerning travellers who enjoy restorative walks by day and convivial imbibing by night, Huka is the ultimate escape. Genteel pursuits on the property include tennis, croquet and petanque, while the sublime formations of Lake Taupo and Huka Falls are easily within reach. Here, guests can have their natural splendour and luxuriate in style, too. For more, visit hukalodge.co.nz
Clockwise from top le A view of the Tuki Tuki Valley accessed via one of The Lodge at Craggy Range’s four generous bedrooms. The manicured gardens and swimming pool are in striking contrast to the rugged landscape of nearby Te Mata Peak. Belle features writer Harry Roberts samples one of The Lodge’s sparkling oerings.
Clockwise from top left The open-plan living space of the Owner’s Cottage with views reaching out to Huka Falls. Alan Pye fly fishing on the Waikato River. The Alan Pye Cottage and exquisite Huka Lodge grounds. Framed archival photographs line the walls at Huka Lodge.