2010 SKI AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
2010 Ski Australia & New Zealand - Luxury Travel Magazine
|By: Hilary Doling, Issue 42 – Autumn 2010|
|(Australia & New Zealand)|
|HILARY DOLING ROUNDS UP THE LATEST, THE GREATEST LUXURY SKI ACCOMMODATION IN AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND|
|There are rooms with a view and then there is ‘a Room with a View’, capital R, capital V: The Rees Hotel and Luxury Apartments, Queenstown’s newest fivestar offering supplies the latter.|
Walk into your room and the view hits you like a blast of cold mountain air – it takes your breath away. Right outside your floor-to-ceiling windows and balcony is the deep green of Lake Wakatipu. Beyond that to the left, the snow smudged peaks of The Remarkables. Nothing breaks the tranquillity and majesty of the view except the occasional jet boat from Queenstown’s action central buzzing like a red mosquito across the polished jade of the lake.
In winter it is the mountains that beckon, sun on snow is an irresistible combination and since the hotel is a mere 20 minute drive from the slopes of Coronet Peak most people would rather ski the slopes than look at them.
The hotel is named after early pioneer and hotelier William Gilbert Rees and a painting of him hangs over the fire place in the Bordeau wine and coffee lounge. More specially commissioned art work featuring New Zealand pioneers hangs around the walls and there is also a library of rare historical books on the region. But it is hard to give the oil-painted Rees the respect he deserves when out of the high glass windows is more of that stunning view. My eyes swivel automatically towards the lake. Sorry William, no contest. The hotel, with common areas of hand-crafted stone and dark wood, is designed around the view and with a long stretch of absolute water frontage why wouldn’t it be. With a soft opening last ski season, (some of its hotel services were yet to kick in) The Rees is raring to go for the 2010 snow-fest.
This year you can opt to stay in a hotel room with a five-star standard of service or an apartment. The concept works because those who choose apartments still get the service you’d expect from a luxury hotel but with more space and the option to cater for themselves.
The sleek furniture in all the rooms is designed and custom made by a local Arrowtown furniture maker, Ed Cruikshank who honed his craft at Viscount Linley’s design studios in the UK. Floors are carpeted in thick New Zealand wool (we’d expect nothing else). After a hard day on the slopes relaxing in front of the stone fireplaces in the apartments with a glass of Otago pinot is irresistible and underfloor heating in tiled areas thaws out ski boot-numbed feet.
Chief Executive Mark Rose is a gourmand from way back, he has lived and worked all over the world and sampled some of the best food and wine along the way and it shows in the standard of what The Rees offers. The private wine cellar is impressive, including not only New Zealand’s best vintages, particularly from around the Otago region, but what is probably one of the most comprehensive collections of fine Bordeaux wines in the Southern Hemisphere.
Rose was previously General Manager of Cameron House Hotel on Loch Lomond, Scotland and brought his Head Chef Ben
Batterbury with him to run the Kitchen at the hotel’s True South restaurant. Batterbury bases his menus around local produce from high quality suppliers in the area south of Christchurch. So expect seasonal treats such as West Coast whitebait, Stewart Island blue cod, and Bending Station merino lamb, free range pork from Havoc Waikato, Gibbstown Valley and Omar Whitestone cheeses. The food is so good it is hard to choose, so we recommend the five course tasting menu with matched wines. This is a fine dining experience that you are not likely to get anywhere else in this ski town.
At the end of the day I head back to my hotel room and a deep hot bath. Sliding bathroom windows mean that even from my tub I can see a panorama of the lake. Do you see what I mean - ‘A Room with a View’? Definitely.
|The Rees Hotel & Luxury Apartments www.therees.co.nz|
|Sofitel Queenstown: Rooms at the Sofitel have deep spa baths, with a resident ‘bathologist’ to run you a special scented oil version, perfect for weary ski limbs. There is also the signature Sofitel Mybed. But what makes Sofitel Queenstown the perfect skiers hotel is the Ski Concierge, just what you need to make your stay near the slopes as hassle free as possible. With the Soski program the Ski Concierge will assist with all things snow-related. Lift passes and equipment hire are organised for you, and you get your skis, board and boots fitted while sipping on a glass of local pinot. Soski also gives you door-to-slope transfers. Ski conditions and weather reports are available to guests via cell phone text messaging, and the inroom ‘snowfone’ button and on your TV. www.sofitel.com|
|Blanket Bay: Blanket Bay, a five-star lodge at Glenorchy on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, has gourmet food and designer rooms but its real skier appeal is the ‘A la Carte Heli-skiing’ menu. This is the ultimate in heli-skiing, a helicopter (from Harris Mountains Heliski) exclusively for your use, your own guides and thousands of vertical feet of untracked snow in the Southern Alps to explore. And the good news for less extreme skiers is that New Zealand’s unique geology means you can heli-ski on moderate terrain (the equivalent of a blue run) with your own private helicopter right from Blanket Bay’s doorstep. The bad news? This doesn’t come cheap, costs are based on numbers in the group and the helicopter hours flown but expect upwards of $2,000+ per person. www.blanketbay.com|
|NEW SOUTH WALES|
|Thredbo - Rockpool Lodge: This is one of Thredbo’s newest five star private lodges a short distance from Friday Flats. The lodge, built in natural timbers and stone, has two bedrooms and a kid’s loft retreat. Open stone fireplaces and sink-intome- sofas are the place to relax after a long day skiing. There is a spa room with push back windows so you can see the large screen TV and a sauna for warming frozen limbs. The master bedroom has a claw-foot bath in the ensuite. And if you are really desperate you can still be a high flyer at high altitude and run your business from the slopes. The lodge has a private office with a fax machine, photocopier, scanner, flat screen PC, printer, wireless LAN, and high speed ADSL. www.rockpoollodge.com.au|
|Thredbo - Ski-In Ski-Out Chalets: With ski-in, ski-out access to the Crackenback Supertrail (hence the name) and a secluded setting among the snow gums these five-star chalets are some of the most luxurious places to stay on the slopes. A range of chalets stepped down the slope offer from one to five-bedrooms. Expect king-size beds, spa baths, fireplaces, designer kitchens, drying rooms and underfloor heating. All the mod-cons that luxury lovers like to see. Some chalets also have private saunas or steam rooms. www.skiinskiout.com.au|
|Perisher - Lake Crackenback Resort, Jindabyne: The resort is in the Snowy Mountains high country on the shores of Lake Crackenback; the Skitube which whizzes you to the Perisher snow is 800 metres away along a private driveway. The resort can organise lessons and lift tickets so you don’t have to queue on the mountain and there is an onsite ski rental shop. Owner David (Harro) Harrison has spent thirty years tuning skis so expect a sharp edge. www.lakecrackenback.com.au|
|Falls Creek – Quay West Resort & Spa: Mirvac, the people behind Sebel and Quay West opened Australia’s newest luxury ski resort in Falls Creek last season. Quay West Resort and Spa claims to offer ‘drive in, drive out’ as well as ‘ski-in, ski out’ so the car stays de-iced and you don’t have to lug your skis around. What more could you want? Apartment-style rooms have balconies with snowy views and hot tubs and an indulgent day spa downstairs with a small but perfectly formed plunge pool. An on-site restaurant, supermarket and gym means you don’t have to go far to get fit or fed. www.mirvachotels.com|
|Falls Creek – Huski: When Huski first opened in 2006 it heralded a revolution in Aussie ski lodge design. Out went Tyrolean pine, in came cool-as-ice fitting and fixtures and shiny black floors. Designed by architects Elenberg Fraser the outside looks like a series of ice cubes piled on top of each other. The two four-bedroom penthouses are Huski’s most luxurious option. On the ground floor the all-white Endota Day Spa is like an upmarket igloo and the produce store and cafe with its open fire has become a popular Falls hangout. The frothy European-style hot chocolate also happens to be the best on the mountain. www.huski.com.au|
|Falls Creek – Fjäll: The name of this Falls Creek resort (pronounced “fe-yall”) is a good indicator of what to expect from this luxury accommodation – a combination of Scandinavian tradition and a dose of good humour. With interiors designed by Hecker Phelan & Guthrie, who are also responsible for the Ivy in Sydney, guests of these three-bedroom residential apartments can expect sleek, modern design coupled with a neutral palate and natural timbers, with some decorative antlers thrown in for good measure. Overlooking the Kiewa Valley, Fjäll is found on Wombats Ramble trail, the country’s longest beginner ski run. www.fjall.com.au|
|Hotham – Blowhard Chalet: The ten-level Blowhard Chalet is the ritziest accommodation in the Hotham Heights chalet development. Part Art Deco, part ski chic it is lush and indulgent and made for a luxury stay on the snow. We especially like the spa with its sliding windows and views over Mount Loch and the cinema room with lounging area heaped high with cushions. All up you’ll get a heated driveway undercover parking, a top floor bar, large spa, cinema, games room, sauna, scenic sundecks and five separate living areas and three of the bedrooms have their own ensuite spa. www.mthotham.com.au|