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The Lap of Luxury

Looking for the ultimate ‘staycation’, Cityscape tracked down the South Island’s finest escapes, where the lifestyle of the rich and famous can be lived out – and all within driving distance!

ANNANDALE, BANKS PENINSULA (PICTURED ABOVE)

You’re spoiled for choice at this super lux 4,000-acre sheep and cattle farm escape on the coast, with four award-winning world-class villas up for grabs. It’s steeped in history (it’s one of the South Island’s earliest and most regarded farms), and spans 10-kilometres of wild rugged coastline along Banks Peninsula’s Pigeon Bay. Accommodation options include the property’s lovingly-restored centrepiece, the five-bedroom 1880s Annandale Homestead, complete with infinity and spa pools; the charming rustic lux of the historic Shepherd’s Cottage for two, boasting uninterrupted views of the sea, Scrubby Bay’s cedar-clad bucolic beach house in a private bay setting for larger groups, and the jaw-on-the-floor inducing, glass enclosed ultra-modern contemporary retreat of Seascape (pictured), where natural stone feature walls join a super king bed and an outdoor lounge and spa – complete with a grassed roof, it’s a low-impact, swanky couple’s hideaway perched above the Pacific. annandale.com

 

Hulbert House Malaghan

HULBERT HOUSE, QUEENSTOWN

A beautifully restored Victorian villa that dates back to 1888, the lovingly-restored Hulbert House is steeped in history, and offers a combination of historic elegance and contemporary service that sets it apart. The luxury, boutique accommodation experience is situated just a hop, skip and a jump from Queenstown’s vibrant central city, and its six suites offer an immediate sense of calming serenity. Each features stunning views overlooking either Lake Wakatipu or the Skyline Hill. You’ll enjoy a complimentary breakfast, refreshments during the day and pre-dinner drinks and canapés before you stroll into town to enjoy one of central Queenstown’s many outstanding dining options. The Hulbert House team are always on hand to offer a complete and personal concierge service, assisting you with travel arrangements, to book some of the many exhilarating and scenic activities that have made Queenstown world famous, or securing you yet more serenity with a luxurious trip to a local 5-star spa. hulberthouse.co.nz

 

blanket bay at dusk

BLANKET BAY, GLENORCHY

A near-magical haven of peace and solitude, Blanket Bay Lodge allows you to experience unspoiled natural beauty and outdoor adventure from the very lap of luxury. With facilities and accommodation that rank with the very best the country has to offer, the magnificent Lodge perches on the shores of Lake Wakatipu on a 10,000-acre high country farm and offers glorious, quintessentially South Island lake and alpine views; it’s consistently ranked among the world’s best Lodges by prestigious international publications and organisations. From the Lodge you’re perfectly positioned to explore the nearby Milford Sound and the rest of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site from the air by private helicopter, take on world-class fly fishing in high country rivers, heli-ski, play some of the most spectacular golf courses in the world (such as Jack’s Point and Millbrook), or hit the wine and arts trails of the region. Relax in your choice of five guest rooms or one of three huge suites with large log-burning fireplaces, private bathrooms, super-king beds, sumptuous soft furnishings and magnificent lake views from private balconies, or add to your sense of cosy, lux seclusion in a chalet away from the main lodge. blanketbay.com

 

Hotel Montreal

HOTEL MONTREAL, CHRISTCHURCH

Refined elegance meets effortless modern sophistication at this boutique inner city oasis that offers 25 suites (junior and family) and a sprawling and super-slick three-bedroom, large apartment-sized penthouse with full kitchen (private chef available, natch) and an expansive balcony overlooking Hagley Park, perfect for watching the sunset with a cocktail in hand. Its location in the heart of the city makes it ideal for an inner-city mini-break, or as a splash-out crash pad after a big night in town. A lavish polo aesthetic features throughout, rolled out from the hotel’s own Polo Bar & Restaurant; this is a fittingly equestrian space where Argentinian eats (including their signature dish, featuring outdoor-roasted suckling pig – Lechon le de leche Empanadas) meet pimped-up house cocktails and an impressive ‘best of’ wine list. In short, you needn’t even leave to experience some of the city’s finest dining – or croquet in the verdant gardens! hotelmontreal.co.nz

 

The Penthouse by Eichardts 19

THE PENTHOUSE BY EICHARDT’S, QUEENSTOWN

The jewel atop the crown of Queenstown’s new Eichardt’s building, The Penthouse by Eichardt’s commands breathtaking, uninterrupted views across the world-famous Lake Wakatipu to the snow-capped majesty of the mountains beyond. The ultimate in luxury accommodation in the international visitor destination offers a massive 240m2 of spacious living areas, indoor and outdoor kitchens, two luxury bedrooms, marble-bedecked bathrooms, sauna, spa and Queenstown’s largest private terrace. You’ll also find fully automated lighting, entertainment and heating systems, and a fully equipped outdoor kitchen (joining the stunning indoor one, which features Gaggenau and Sub Zero appliances, a granite bench and yet more mountain views – plus a private chef, of course). Your Penthouse experience begins on arrival; meet your chauffeur at the airport in a Land Rover Discovery which is available for your private use throughout your stay, then call upon your 24-hour butler to escort you via private elevator to the Penthouse before enjoying pre-dinner cocktails served in-suite, Krug Champagne, and an excellent selection of Moet & Hennessy spirits replenished daily. Cheers! eichardts.com

 

Otahuna Rhodes Suite High

OTAHUNA LODGE, TAI TAPU

Built in 1895 by renowned New Zealand parliamentarian, philanthropist and horticulturalist Sir Heaton Rhodes, Otahuna Lodge is a beacon of luxury and privacy from a bygone era, set on 30-acres of award-wining gardens, woodlands, orchards and 19th century organic vegetable gardens that supply ingredients for its kitchen’s lauded garden-to-plate philosophy. Take up residence in the master suite named after Rhodes; this spectacular 100-square-metre-plus palatial suite, spread over four rooms, is resplendent with a Victorian-detailed fireplace (one of 15 in the Lodge) and inglenook seating, expansive bed, octagonal sitting room, and a private balcony that offers stunning vistas of Otahuna’s gardens and beyond to the South Island’s majestic Southern Alps. Rub shoulders with the chef in the kitchen before enjoying canapés and cocktails as a warm-up to an epic wine-matched dinner in the opulence of the grand dining room, or venue of your choice (including the sunken wine cellar!). otahuna.co.nz

 

Greystone PurePod starry night

GREYSTONE PUREPOD, WAIPARA

Take your lux escape off the beaten track (literally) as you leg it through native bush on the final stretch to Greystone PurePod where, nestled in the heart of the Waipara wine country, you’ll find your own private paradise with a sustainable bent. With glass walls, ceiling and floor, and perched above the award-winning Greystone Wines vineyards with views up the valley to the Southern Alps and with the Teviotdale Hills to your back, there’s something to see everywhere you look, including star gazing from your plush bed at night. Hit the wine cycle/walking trails, or just soak up the serenity as you graze your way through the optional food package, which features the region’s finest gourmet goodies and a local drop picked up on the way in. purepods.com/location/greystone

 

Stonefly Lodge interior

STONEFLY LODGE, NELSON

This majestic stone and timber lodge sits on 156 acres of private forest and the banks of the Motueka River. Relax in the library, strike up a game of snooker, or enjoy the excellent range at the Matai Bar – all excellent options after a day of world-class fly-fishing. Four guest rooms offer glorious views as well as fine linen, super king beds, bespoke furniture and local art, and a large open kitchen adjoining the dining area provides relaxed, shared fine dining among guests. stoneflylodge.co.nz

 

The George Residence Master

THE GEORGE, CHRISTCHURCH

Epitomising comfort and luxury in one of the city’s most covetable locations (bordered by Hagley Park and the tranquil Avon River, and mere minutes walk from the city’s top attractions), The George is the boutique, lux bar raiser by which all other city accommodations are measured. The go-to for visiting celebs and touring rock stars, it’s perfect for your own rock star moment, whether you’re kicking back in the dark-timbered and plush velvet surrounds of one of the 50 suites (you want the seriously swanky three-bedroom, multi-award-winning character villa The Residence – trust us), enjoying a flute of France’s finest in the bar, or undertaking a gastronomic degustation odyssey at the legendary Pescatore restaurant. thegeorge.co.nz

 

Split Apple Retreat View from Infinity Pool

SPLIT APPLE RETREAT, ABEL TASMAN

This exclusive, multi-award winning luxury lodge and wellness retreat is located on the edge of one of the country’s most beloved and scenic spots, the Abel Tasman National Park. Focussed entirely on your relaxation and wellbeing, the lodge offers a salt-water, infinity swimming pool and Japanese spa with views that stretch out across the azure Tasman Sea and Astrolabe Islands, with additional rejuvenation and invigoration facilities including a FAR-infrared sauna, steam room, gym, and outdoor shower with hot water. Head to the screening room to experience deep, high-tech meditation (or simply watch one of their large selection of films in reclining leather seats), or experience gourmet cuisine with a difference – a team-up of retired physician Lee Nelson and trained chef Anne Pen Lee has resulted in gourmet fare that still makes a positive contribution to health and wellness. Three luxurious suites offer 180-degree ocean views as well as 2 private decks with fragrant gardens, and private paths lead guests down to beautiful examples of the golden-sand beaches for which the area is famous, with one overlooking the 120 million year old landmark that gives this world-leading spa its name. splitapple.com

 

Hapuku Treehouse Vertical Hero

HAPUKU LODGE AND TREEHOUSES, KAIKOURA

With the concept of putting its guests amongst the birds, Hapuku Lodge stations guests in luxury treehouses amidst the canopy of a native Kanuka grove, some 10 metres above the ground. This 5-star eco-retreat just a few kilometres north of Kaikoura allows guests to nest in luxurious comfort in the treetops, with your bedroom in the sky clad in native timber and offering a luxurious king bed, fireplace and spa. Their five luxury tree houses are joined by an additional four luxury lodge suites and the Olive House, a beautifully converted building that originally contained an olive press, and now offers a beautiful three-bedroom apartment across two stories. Join it all with an idyllic setting where wild deer wander nearby on the resident farm near olive groves and a vineyard – all staged in front of the spectacular backdrop of the Kaikoura Ranges – as well as outstanding cuisine with a natural focus on the region’s own premium ingredients (fresh crayfish, anyone?), and you can see why the Lodge is in hot demand. hapukulodge.com

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