more New Zealand Luxury Lodges

When I return to New Zealand, Blanket Bay is one property where I want to enjoy a much longer stay. Situated directly on Lake Wakatipu, there are no other resorts anywhere in sight (or signs of human civilization for that matter). Blanket Bay is a place to come to enjoy the scenery and relish the splendid isolation, an ideal base from which to explore the Milford Sound area of the South Island. The rooms are large and comfortable, and bathrooms all feature tubs, walk-in showers, and dual vanities.

The best rooms in the lodge are the suites at either corner of the top floor. Corner windows provide stunning views of the lake and mountains. The Chalet Suites also provide great lake views and, with a connecting living room between two guestrooms, offer a great option for families. Free internet, a great recreation room with pool table and shuffleboard table, and free minibar (everything except hard liquor) are included in the rates. This would be a great destination for a honeymoon — and if you want to surprise someone with a proposal, reserve the private “wine cellar” for a romantic, candlelit dinner.

Otahuna Lodge is one of the most charming properties in New Zealand. Located about 30 minutes from downtown Christchurch, Otahuna Lodge is a large, comfortable home that has been converted into an exquisite luxury lodge. When it was built in 1894, it was the largest private residence in New Zealand. Recognized as an architectural icon with a place on the Historic Places Trust, this Queen Anne style residence was purchased by its current owners who have lovingly created one of the most comfortable lodges I have ever seen.

Every room is unique, and the Master Suites are especially attractive. The room rate includes a 5 course tasting meal, each course paired with wines. As much as possible, the produce used for meals is grown in the lodge’s own organic vegetable garden. The staff are warm and hospitable, a culture that begins with the owners. You’ll especially enjoy the chef, Jimmy, and ask for a tour of the garden as well! Come to Otahuna to relax, to commune with nature, to fish, and as a base from which to explore the sights of the Canterbury region of New Zealand.

Treetops Lodge is located 20 minutes from Rotorua and is an unique property offering an eco-wilderness adventure with every possible luxury. The lodge is in the midst of thousands of acres owned by Treetops. Come here to fish, to explore nature, or simply to enjoy a retreat away from the fast-paced world. Come also to experience the Maori culture of New Zealand; we were greeted in the Maori language by a member of the hotel’s staff (all staff members are native to New Zealand). Rated Travel + Leisure’s #1 resort in New Zealand, rooms at Treetops Lodge are large and comfortable — baths all have dual vanities and walk-in showers — and the Villas are exceptionally beautiful, large, high-ceilinged rooms with gorgeous views looking out on Treetop’s property (2,500 acres). There is a special emphasis here on ecological responsibility; all wood and stone used in the construction of the property came from the grounds of Treetops. 100% of their power is hydro-electric, derived from waterfalls on the property, and Treetops even sell excess electricity back to the utility. Organic vegetable and meats are used for meals, and all are raised on the property. Springs provide the resort’s water. Lead-in suites are surprisingly affordable, especially in the off-season.

Greenhill Lodge is an intimate, 7-room lodge in the heart of the Hawke’s Bay region, the Napa Valley of New Zealand. An historic Victorian house on a hilltop overlooking farms and grazing land, the beautifully renovated estate offers comfortable accommodations for guests wanting wine tours. The lodge offers the ambiance of an elegant B&B, and if the canapes we tasted are any indication, you’ll enjoy their à la carte breakfasts and four-course dinners. Although the three rooms, three suites, and separate villa are more modest in size than many of the properties reviewed here, this is still an excellent choice for guests. A beautiful property in a wonderful setting, all at a reasonable price-point. Ask as well about their “Behind the Label” wine experience hosted by an accomplished enologist who can arrange for exclusive visits to many excellent vineyards. Guests receive free greens fees at Hastings Golf Club in Bridge Pa, rated on of NZ’s top ten courses.

Virtuoso amenities are available at Blanket Bay, Otahuna, and Treetops Lodge, value added perks for you at the same rate paid by the general public. Contact a Virtuoso luxury travel consultant for complete details.

Virtuoso luxury travel consultant (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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