Kauri Cliffs | New Zealand golf and beach luxury

Despite arriving at Kauri Cliffs at nearly the same time as a tropical cyclone boasting wind gusts over 65 mph, my enthusiasm for this property is not dampened.

For many guests, the challenging seaside links golf course is the reason to stay at Kauri Cliffs. Located near Kerikeri, New Zealand, north of Auckland on the Bay of Islands, the property features one of Golf Digest's top 50 courses in the world. Fifteen holes offer views of the Pacific Ocean, and six holes are played alongside cliffs that plunge into the sea. (The hole pictured at the left was obviously photographed during happier weather conditions.) Despite the crazy winds, I actually saw golfers arriving to play 18 holes.

Although it was not beach weather, I did walk down to one of the resort's three beaches, Pink Beach, which gets its name from the color of the small shells (pictured above). This beach has picnic tables and is a great spot to have lunch with your family. The best swimming beach is Waiaua Beach — long, wide, and covered with fine white sand; you can swim out to some of the tiny offshore islands.

Did I mention the food? As a Relais & Chateaux property, Kauri Cliffs takes special pride in its cuisine — and rates include full breakfast, pre-dinner drinks with hors d'oeuvres, and dinner. Also included: a free mini-bar and dangerously tempting, freshly baked cookies in your room. And as a Virtuoso property, you receive additional amenities as a complimentary perk when you book through your Virtuoso luxury travel consultant.

Beyond the large variety of outdoor activities and a spa for those who choose to be pampered, Kauri Cliffs is a stunning luxury lodge. Guest suites are spacious (a minimum of 840 square feet) and offer breathtaking views of the Pacific. The bathroom has a large soaking tub, walk-in shower, and dual vanities. There is also an immense walk-in closet designed for two travelers with a LOT of clothes. With a gas fireplace in each suite and a porch overlooking the Pacific, about the only improvement would be flat screen televisions — but I can't imagine who would spend their time watching television at Kauri Cliffs.

Kauri Cliffs (search here on Google)

copyright (c) 2009 by David J. Ourisman. All rights reserved. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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