Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown, New Zealand
Perhaps Queenstown’s best property, Matakauri Lodge is a Relais & Châteaux member with unforgettable views of Lake Wakatipu and the Southern Alps from every suite designed by famed New Zealand lodge designer Virginia Fisher. Each large and luxurious guest suite comes with a private veranda, open fireplace, walk-in wardrobe, living room and heated floor ensuite bathroom. One of the incredible super lodges owned by hedge fund billionaire Julian Robertson (the others are Kauri Cliffs and The Farm at Cape kidnappers), the recently opened Owner’s Cottage allows guests to live the way he does and hide out in their own four-bedroom private residence with private spa pool, sprawling lounge, huge kitchen and courtyard; while guests of the lodge and adjoining suites also have access to a lounge, dining room and living areas in the main lodge building. Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are among Matakauri’s recent guests.
Dining: Breakfasts and dinners at Matakauri Lodge are culinary events with an a la carte menu that changes daily, created by talented Head Chef Jonathan Roger using local and seasonal produce. Aside from dining in the restaurant areas, each evening guests are invited to choose from several private dining spaces around the lodge, from relaxed dining by the central open fire (that’s where we dined each evening) to secret dining in the upstairs library. Daily drinks are served from 6pm in the lounge, where guests are encouraged to mingle alongside premium wine, beer, spirits and canapés.
What to do: The activities on offer are seemingly endless, with a variety of offerings like horseback riding, river jet safaris, excursions to Skipper Canyon where guests can pan for gold, peruse the studios of the region’s artist community, take a wine tour through the renowned vineyards of Central Otago, golfing, skiing, fly fishing and various short walks and hikes in the mountain ranges. For movie fans, a guided Lord of the Rings Tour can be arranged.
Rates: From March to September 2015, Matakauri Lodge is offering four nights for the price of three; including accommodation, pre-dinner drinks and canapés, gourmet dinner each evening, full breakfast, use of all lodge facilities and complimentary non-alcoholic mini bar.