LUXURY LODGES for ultimate memories
New Zealand is spoilt for choice with luxury lodges. Dotted around some of the most naturally beautiful spots of our country, are jewels of the accommodation world. Staying at a luxury lodge is something everyone should do at least once,
Overlooking Lake Rotorua, Peppers on the Point has a collection of varying accommodation options that can cater for every traveller’s request. We enjoyed one of the cottage suites that are set apart from the main lodge. The cottage is a highly recommended option for those travelling with small children, as there are no worries about potentially disturbing other guests. It is well equipped and on request comes with a cot. There is small kitchen which allows for some self-catering if needed. The dining and living room are open plan, both with large windows (full windows in the living room) that are set to provide uninterrupted views over Lake Rotorua. Watching the moonlight sparkle on the waves on the lake, whilst sitting back enjoying a glass of wine is nothing short of breathtaking. The room exuded intimacy with a king bed, decorated with luxurious bedspreads. Adjoining was a sizeable bathroom, with a shower that had jets from every direction; so take heed when turning it on. The toiletries, housecoats and slippers completed the air of indulgence. On the deck there is a private spa pool that is freshly filled for each guest with untreated hot water, for soaking in and enjoying the views. Obviously using the spa pool at night would be a lovely experience. I opted to try it out during the day, which I heartily recommend as just in front of the cottage are some of the resident livestock, donkeys and sheep, meandering by talking to each other, which added to the atmosphere. Being on the rim of an ancient volcano, the rocky outcrops make for dramatic landscape. There is a walking track down to the lake foreshore where guests can enjoy a small private beach. A water plane is also able to dock here and provides unique excursions for guests and is a great way to aerially take in this volcanic area of New Zealand. There is a private chapel that would make for truly spectacular wedding and photos. To go with a wedding they have the ability to cater for private events such as weddings or business retreats.
There is an association with most lodges and a fine dining experience. Peppers on the Point is no exception. The meticulous menu can be enjoyed wherever suits guests; dining with others in the main lodge, in a private elegant dining room, or perhaps taking in the views from your own suite. The breakfast nook of the main lodge allows guests to interact and advice is on hand from the manager to help plan your day in the area. Treetops Lodge is nestled amongst the native trees near Horohoro. The 2,500 hectare working estate is an exclusive native wonderland ready to be explored at your fingertips. Treetops has such a range of experiences, I was like kid in a candy store, mind boggled with what to do first. Upon arrival we were greeted and personally shown (which involves a short drive) to our private valley view villa (there are alternatively forest view villas). Set overlooking a tree-lined valley everything exudes opulence, but retains its look of being one with the land. The stone entranceway, leads into a tastefully decorated living room, complete with a large open fireplace that we lite to add to the atmosphere. Not that it is needed as the underfloor heating keeps the rooms at the temperature desired. Treetops takes bathroom breaks to the next level, with a large bathroom (once again with underfloor heating) with both a large walk in shower and a spa bath. The bedroom, like the living room, has floor to ceiling windows to take in the views and a large walk in wardrobe. The building materials and internal décor have a real connection to the land. With wood and stone being an important part of the design, in the villas and the main lodge. Walking on a well maintained track back to the main lodge, guests enjoy the sights and smells of New Zealand’s native bush in its untamed glory. Every room in the main lodge is exquisitely decorated to match the earthy theme of the estate. The long Rimu beams of the main hall are astounding in size and were surprisingly cut by hand with chain saws. The adjoining rooms to the main hall, such as the business centre, are set with a country feel to them. Proudly mounted are deer heads, that relate to the different kinds of deer found on the estate, and one of the signature experience guests can have at Treetops; hunting. The perfect treat when travelling as a family is to have some animal encounters. With an early morning four-wheel drive safari (another one of Treetops signature experiences), we took pleasure in spotting all the different kinds of deer. Not only deer roam the estate, but other exotic animals such as water buffalo, wild pig, turkeys and many more, can be found as guests are taken around the estate. Another great way to experience the estate is to walk it. There are tens of kilometres of tracks all over the estate, suited to varying levels of fitness. Onsite is also a spa complex, which I had to myself that evening, to enjoy a sauna. Other spa treatments are available should you desire, but I just wanted to unwind in seclusion, enjoying the bushy view from the large window overlooking the forest. As if all that wasn’t enough, dining is just amazing! The real connection to the land was apparent even in the food. The chefs are trained in Maori cooking using native plants to in the dishes and the meat used came from the estate. A sensational six courses later, we knew we wouldn’t dine this well again anytime soon. Breakfast continued the finedining exposé. Numerous hot or cold breakfast options were available, made fresh from order, as well as, your hot drink requests. Whilst waiting continental breakfast dishes were available. My review of these two luxury lodges do not do justice to the experience of staying, or how pampering it truly was.
OTHER LUXURY LODGES:
Annandale – Near Akaroa, Canterbury and away from the tourist trail, this luxury coastal farm escape has four awardwinning villas to give guests a relaxed Kiwi experience. The 4,000-acre estate is a running farm, really bringing home the farm-to-table cuisine for guests. There are over 10km of rugged coastline, which can be kayaked or explored by motorboat. Mahana Villa – is luxury accommodation in Upper Moutere, Marlborough, with sweeping views across Mahana Vineyard to the Tasman Bay and the Southern Alps. There is the private, four-ensuite Owner’s Villa and The Loft containing two luxury accommodations. The Villa sits at the apex of the 25-hectare organic Mahana vineyard, next to the Mahana Cellar Door, Kitchen and custom-built, four storey, gravity flow winery. The guest experience offers cuisine prepared by a Michelin trained executive chef, a dynamic range of wines through private tastings and one of the largest privately owned modern art collections in the Southern Hemisphere. Minaret Station – Boarding with UNESCO World Heritage site Mt Aspiring National Park, the luxurious Alpine Lodge is a working 50,000-acre high country farm. Nestled at 915-metres in the scenic Southern Alps and only accessible by helicopter, the lodge is truly an alpine experience. Guided hikes, fly fishing, heli-skiing and hunting are just a few of the personalized signature experiences available for guests at Minaret Station.
LEFT: The lounge at Peppers on the Point.
ABOVE: Fireside dining at Treetops Lodge.
Mahana Villa, Marlborough.