Luxury Lodges, Travel Digest, November 2011


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Luxury Lodges, Travel Digest, November 2011

  1. 1. 26 November 2011, Travel Digest 27Travel Digest, November 2011 Escape toluxuryFor luxury lodges and exclusive retreats with dramatic and tranquil settings – New Zealand leads the world. Staying in a luxury lodge is definitely the ideal way to relax and unwind from the stresses of the everyday world. SARAH WEEKS profiles a selection. TONGARIRO LODGE This is one of the world’s great fishing lodges. Set alongside the mighty Tongariro River and against a stunning backdrop of the World Heritage Tongariro National Park, Tongariro Lodge is in a class of its own when it comes to luxury accommodation. Situated just north of Turangi, about 40 minutes drive from Taupo, the lodge is surrounded by 22 acres of picturesque park-like grounds with each chalet and villa facing the river – one of the best spots to fly fish and only available exclusively to guests staying here. Each chalet has private facilities and a secluded sunny terrace with views of the Tongariro River or mountains beyond. There are also stunning two to five- bedroom villas. The chalets are less expensive but still allow you to enjoy the furnishings and little extras you expect at a luxury lodge such as comfortable king beds, tea and coffee making facilities, television and internet. For ski-lovers, they each have a drying cupboard to store your skis or waders. The villa I stayed at is known as Cattle Rustlers, named after one of the fishing pools on the Tongariro River, which has four double bedrooms, a large double garage, a state-of-the-art open plan kitchen, dining room and lounge with a stone fireplace – not to mention a large deck with wood- fired oven, perfect for entertaining guests in the warmer months. Each bedroom has its own ensuite and is very spacious. The lounge features an L-shaped leather couch, widescreen LCD TV and open fireplace to enjoy a hot cuppa in front of the fireplace – great for relaxing indoors during the colder months. Prepare your own gourmet meals in the villa’s modern kitchen or enjoy a fine dining experience in front of an open fire at Tongariro Lodge Restaurant. The atmosphere is so cosy and warm and you will find an interesting collection of framed fishing photos from the lucky ones who caught a trout or two! The dinner menu offers a variety of fine dining options such as organic pork, fillet mignon and free range chicken, matched with a variety of award-winning New Zealand wine. And if there’s room left, the dessert menu is to die for – the soft centred chocolate fondant is one of the best I’ve had and is served with marinated berries and vanilla bean ice cream oozing with goodness! Should you wish to partake in some fly fishing, the lodge staff can arrange for one of their guides to take you out on a half-day excursion during your stay. But if fishing is not your thing, there are a number of other activities to do so such as white water rafting, underground caving, star watching, hiking, and soaking in the hot pools or even an in-room massage after a long day. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is New Zealand’s best one-day walk and a must-do when visiting this scenic area. A shuttle leaves the lodge in the morning and costs $40 per person. A packed lunch and up-to- date weather and mountain condition reports is available from reception. The track passes over varied and spectacular volcanic terrain including a cold mountain spring, lava flows, an active crater, steam vents, emerald coloured lakes and magnificent views. I decided to give white water rafting a go – something I’d never tried before. Operating since 1991, Rafting New Zealand offers a variety of river trips. Their experienced tour guides will take you on a thrilling adventurous ride down this wild river! Only a 15-minute drive from their base in Turangi and a short walk carrying our rafts down to the water’s edge and we’re off on our white water journey, full of twists and turns and lots of hair-raising moments! The tour includes a jump off a hidden waterfall and food and hot drinks to warm up after a good dunking in the freezing cold water. Its great fun and a good day out experiencing nature at its best with friends and family. COTTER HOUSE Take a step back in time to the luxury retreat that is Cotter House. Located Cotter House, Remuera, Auckland Tongariro Lodge, Turangi Executive five-bedroom chalet, Tongariro Lodge LUXURY LODGES
  2. 2. 28 November 2011, Travel Digest 29Travel Digest, November 2011 Lake Timara LodgeLuxury accommodation and dining in Marlborough 301 Dog Point Road, RD 2, Blenheim, Marlborough Phone: 03 572 8276 Fax: 03 572 9191 Email: Web: in Remuera, Auckland, this house is the fifth oldest house in Auckland and a prime example of historic conservation and renovation. Built in 1847 by enterprising English colonist Joseph Newman, the house symbolises his good fortune as a leading figure in the community. During the turbulent Maori Wars of the 1860s, he converted Cotter House cellars into a stopover for prisoners sent from Auckland, on their way to the Fencibles’ Prison in Howick. Ironically, the house was also used for Baptist services. Like many historic properties, it has a colourful past with many stories to be told.  Today, the mansion is owned by Colombian-born, French-raised Gloria Poupard-Walbridge who has renovated the house with a new lease on life, adding her exquisite antiques and extensive modern art collection. Cotter House boasts a classic French décor with a continental flair. Guests can choose from two packages – a standard retreat with breakfast or sumptuous deluxe retreat that includes all meals, to a luxury villa rental option ideal as a getaway for families, a number of couples or for a corporate event or function. During my stay I spent a night in the Oriental Room, filled with gorgeous antiques, in particular the 1890 antique Austrian brass queen size bed and embroidered French linen sheets adding that extra special touch. The marble ensuite bathroom is also very impressive and even has underfloor heating – a modern feature one would not expect in such an historic villa. A deluxe retreat includes pre-dinner drinks, hors d’oeuvres and a gourmet four- course not to be missed dinner. I was served the grilled salmon with honey soy glaze with quality New Zealand wine – simply superb! All the food is made from fresh, organic, seasonal produce by Gloria herself who provides some interesting pre-dinner banter. Having moved here from France with her French trade commissioner husband at the time in 1985, she has never looked back and now calls this picturesque part of New Zealand, home. The hotel has a unique collection of art, antiques, china and silver, ideal for art lovers and those interested in culture and the arts. For art enthusiasts and visitors curious to see what is happening on the art scene in New Zealand, special tours can also be organised to see the latest exhibitions and visit both art galleries and artist studios. Cotter House also showcases sculptures from outstanding young New Zealand artists. FANTAIL LODGE It’s no wonder they call this place Fantail Lodge – fantails actually welcome you as you enter this picturesque lodge, providing a close encounter. Located in Katikati, 40 minutes drive from Tauranga, guests can enjoy this tranquil setting and enjoy waking to the sound of birdsong each morning. This country estate and luxury lodge is set amid 40 acres of gardens, rocky creeks and subtropical plantations – it even has a working orchard full of fresh seasonal fruit, ripe for the picking. Guests can choose to stay in either an estate room, garden apartment, or one of their recently-built villas. If you are staying with a group, a villa is the best option including two bedrooms with en suites. However, these can be split out into two separate apartments if required. The villa contains all the mod cons one would expect in a luxury lodge including two fully- equipped kitchenettes, two bathrooms, a dining, lounge, undercover parking and sun patio overlooking two hectares of park-like setting. Underfloor heating, Dining room and lounge, Fantail Lodge, Katikati ( LUXURY LODGES Welcome to Delamore Lodge, a unique haven, offering luxury accommodation on Waiheke Island in the majestic Hauraki Gulf. From the moment you arrive at Delamore your senses and soul will awaken to the ultimate in relaxation and romance. Leave the rest of the world behind ... Delamore LodgeWAIHEKE ISLAND 83 Delamore Drive, Waiheke Island t 09 372 7372 f 09 372 7382 e w Cotter House Auckland’s finest intimate Art Hotel and Private Retreat Finalist in the World Travel Awards, again for 2011, Cotter House has received an Enviro Gold award for its commitment to Green practices and sustainability, rewarding work done on heritage restoration.  Cotter House offers an ideal setting for made to order fairytale honeymoons, sexy weekends away and intimate gatherings. Email: 4 St Vincent Ave, Remuera, Auckland Ph: 09 529 5156 or 027 567 2989 complimentary internet and SKY TV makes this place feel like a home away from home. A spa pool will also be added to the property later this year. Guests can either cook their own meals in the villa’s kitchen or treat themselves to a smorgasbord of fine dining at the lodge’s restaurant which is among the leading provincial restaurants in the area. Owner Harrie Geraerts often gives the finishing touches to these marvellous creations himself – a talented chef who puts a great deal of effort into providing only the very best service. His commitment to five-star service and fine cuisine receives ongoing rewards and the restaurant caters for house guests, private dinner functions, small and large, special occasions and celebrations. Cosy up by the fireplace and enjoy a five- course dinner or a degustation menu where each course is matched to a fine variety of New Zealand wine. I personally think the venison is melt-in- your-mouth delicious and the chicken stuffed with salmon is and very flavoursome. There are a variety of local activities to do and if you’re a foodie you’ll enjoy visiting Morton Estate, Basecamp Venison, Mount Eliza cheeses, Frangatio olive oil and avocado oil – although some may need prior notice. There are plenty of bush walks, among the most southern kauri trees. There is Mural town walk showcasing Katikati’s history and a Haiku walkway along the river with poetry engraved in large bolders. Then there is kayaking, fishing and hunting.