Fit for a king The Lodge at Kin­loch

This lodge has been de­signed to em­u­late Kin­loch Cas­tle in Scot­land, but with a con­tem­po­rary look and feel. LOR­RAINE THOM­SON checks in and laps up the lux­ury.

Travel Digest - - LUXURY LODGES -

The cas­tle in Scot­land with the same name has a very re­gal look, with red bricks and tur­rets and is on the small Isle of Rum, off the west coast of Scot­land. The Lodge at Kin­loch on the shores of Lake Taupo, is ac­tu­ally quite a con­trast, with white bricks and no tur­rets, but plenty of chim­neys. The ac­com­mo­da­tion is in free­stand­ing black tim­ber vil­las. You, nev­er­the­less, sense this is a very spe­cial place. The out­side look is quite unas­sum­ing – un­til you step in­side. I would call the look “lux­ury in­dus­trial”. There are lots of black tiles, white­wash boards and metal­lic fix­tures. There are gold metal­lic grills over the fire­places, bronze coated chairs, gold plated mir­ror frames and me­tal can­dle hold­ers and in places floor to ceil­ing glass with panoramic views over Lake Taupo and ma­jes­tic views over the Jack Nick­laus sig­na­ture golf course. There is ac­com­mo­da­tion for up to 55 peo­ple, but plans are in place to build other vil­las around the golf course. The golf course and the club­house are ac­tu­ally the first things you no­tice when you drive up the long wind­ing drive to the lodge. This golf course is no or­di­nary golf course. I am no great golf player, but I did play nine of the 18 holes on of­fer and I can tell you there was not one weed on the whole golf course. Even when you hit a golf ball into the “rough” you can al­ways find your ball. To make the whole golf­ing ex­pe­ri­ence a bit eas­ier, you are pro­vided with a golf cart which you can take up to your villa af­ter the game and use to drive to and from the lodge restau­rant later in the evening. You re­ally do feel like roy­alty at this place. If golf is not your thing, but you are keen to learn, the golf pro Tom Long is very will­ing to teach you the basics. The villa my hus­band and I were in fea­tured wooden floor­boards, brown woollen rugs and a black fea­ture wall among the white walls. Floor-to-ceil­ing glass win­dows and doors, opened out on to ex­ten­sive wooden decks. There was a lounge and a den with fire­places and con­tem­po­rary paint­ings and high qual­ity golf­ing books and mag­a­zines. The kitchen was fit­ted out with ev­ery ap­pli­ance you would need, in­clud­ing be­hind closed doors – a wash­ing ma­chine and dryer. On the kitchen bench-top and in the fridge was New Zealand del­i­ca­cies such as Dono­van’s choco­late fudge, Kumara chips, cheese and crack­ers and a se­lec­tion of wine and beer. On the ta­ble was an ice bucket and bot­tle of Cloudy Bay. The lodge staff seemed to get wind that it was our wed­ding an­niver­sary and left a lovely lit­tle note along­side the wine. The bath­room was almost like an­other lounge – just fit­ted out with dif­fer­ent plum­ing. There was a free­stand­ing white bath, a huge walk-in shower and re­ally plenty of room to swing a cat! A New Zealand range of toi­letries, Nel­lie Tier, of­fered a choice of body lo­tion, sham­poo, con­di­tioner and liq­uid soap. A short ride on the golf cart to the main lodge at the end of the day for pre-din­ner drinks and canapés added to the de­light­ful ex­pe­ri­ence. This is where we min­gled with

other lodge guests in the lounge bar, which of­fered ex­ten­sive and pen­sive views out over Lake Taupo as the sun went down. It is amaz­ing who you come across at lodges tucked a long way from home. I was lucky to sit next to one of New Zealand’s lead­ing tourism en­trepreneurs at the long din­ing ta­ble that night. He told me he how his tourism op­er­a­tions are not only in New Zealand, but also in Aus­tralia and in the United States [where he also has a house]. Din­ner was a work of art from the sous chef Jeremy Tal­bot, who pre­vi­ously worked at TriBeCa in Auck­land. I en­joyed potato and leek soup, fol­lowed by milk cooked pork fil­let. Think­ing of my waist­line, I de­cided to pass on the cit­rus and mas­car­pone cheese­cake on of­fer. I can’t re­call the vine­yard the wine was from – which may be a re­flec­tion of the fine time I was hav­ing – but I do know it was a New Zealand wine. The fol­low­ing morn­ing we headed off on a brisk walk down Kin­loch Road to the lake. We passed de­light­ful houses, a gen­eral store, a café restau­rant called The Tipsy and a ma­rina full of yachts of vary­ing sizes. It was about an hour and a half walk there and back – and I can tell you we needed that walk to make room for the very fil­ing coun­try break­fast to fol­low. I en­joyed Cran­berry juice, gluten-free toast and a mush­room omelette with blue cheese and truf­fle oil. All washed down with a freshly made flat white cof­fee. A big plus at the lodge is the com­pli­men­tary wifi in both the lounge ar­eas and in the vil­las. [All lodges and ho­tels should be of­fer­ing this.] Af­ter break­fast we headed down­stairs to a de­light­ful spa fa­cil­ity. I en­joyed a Romiromi mas­sage, which is the deeper of the tra­di­tional holis­tic Maori body treat­ments. Sim­i­lar to Hawaii’s Lomilomi, it com­bines body align­ment, deep-tis­sue mas­sage and stim­u­la­tion of pres­sure points to aid the re­lease of cel­lu­lar block­ages, tox­ins, pain and ex­tra­ne­ous en­ergy. My mas­sage ther­a­pist told me af­ter­wards she had “re­aligned” me, so that alone made me feel more com­posed. For spe­cial oc­ca­sions or for spe­cial guests, you can ar­rive and de­part this lodge by he­li­copter. There is a he­li­pad on site and a choice of lo­cal tourism des­ti­na­tions, in­clud­ing a flight over Huka Falls, a trip to Hob­biton and / or Wait­omo Glow Worm Caves. An­other op­tion is to take a he­li­copter ride to Tree­tops Lodge & Es­tate in Ro­torua. The eco lodge is a sis­ter lodge – in the midst of an an­cient na­tive forest. This wed­ding an­niver­sary will be one I will re­mem­ber and re­joice for some time. I am now look­ing out for an­other rea­son, to re­turn.

The Lodge at Kin­loch, over­looks Lake Taupo in the dis­tance.

En­trance to The Lodge at Kin­loch.

Kin­loch club bar.

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