There are a number of New Zealand boutique lodges with ‘owner chefs’ and when you come across such a wonderful combination you know you’re in for a treat! When it comes to downtime and holidays who doesn’t dream of a little opulence…….a higher-than-usual helping of indulgence and luxury…….some just-for-me pampering…..surroundings of the dream-like and idyllic kind? This Utopian vision might well be a common one but far, far rarer are those companies or individuals that can deliver the goods and hunting them down can be more than tricky. Well tricky for some maybe but it just so happens we know a company which fulfils each and every one of those dream list-like requirements and then some – Boutique Hotels & Lodges of NZ.
Pen – y – Bryn Lodge in all it’s glory!
This wonderfully eclectic range includes boutique lodges, villas and hotels which make up a 100% New Zealand operated and hosted collection chosen for their historical, architectural, artistic or cultural appeal. There are certain things which come as standard with Boutique Hotels – if such a word can be used at all in connection with such individuality – and these are luxury, inspirational surroundings and breath-taking settings. Take your pick from settings of city, lake, mountain, bush and beach, sprinkled across both South and North Islands.
But what if you’re a bit of a foodie and your dining experience is paramount to your holiday happiness? What if the words perfect and leisure time for you can only come together when dining experiences of the highest quality can be had easily and every day. Well – at the risk of sounding like a broken record we’d again like to say – that’s not hard and same again – Boutique Hotels & Lodges of NZ.
The Boutique Hotel & Lodges choices typically come with hosts in the interesting, passionate and friendly categories and, likewise, fine dining is typically part of the experience but several of them have another small but highly significant detail – their chefs are also in fact their owners. What better guarantee could you possibly have; finding the gourmet in your getaway and the epicurean in your escape are, under such circumstances, simply a matter of course, whether you’re looking for uber-cool urban chic or a tranquil tucked away retreat. Come with us on a whistle stop tour of just a small selection of these.
Kawau Island – Vivian Bay suite with stunning views
Does the idea of skimming into your very own private island retreat by sea-plane appeal? If so you might want to book yourself into the ‘Beach House’ on Kawau Island, Auckland. There are some things you will have to go without during your stay here at one of the luxurious ocean-front or romantic bush setting cottages – such as cars, roads and light pollution- it’s a hard life!
Getting the sand between your toes is almost impossible to avoid here as the crystal clear waters of the bay lap gently just feet away and days are typically full of such things as scenic kayaking, snorkelling, bagging yourself a snapper, diving for shellfish, bush-walking or simply curling up somewhere with a book and listening to the calls of the native birds. If, as evening descends and the kiwis start to call, tearing yourself away from the ocean proves impossible – no problem. Your welcoming hosts – Andrew & Sandra – have arranged things so you can opt for some relaxed outdoor dining under a canopy of stars on large decks close to the beach.
Elegance and space are the order of the day at ‘The Manse’ in Hawkes Bay where hosts Dietske and Gary can serve up your exquisite meals – sourced from the properties own produce and livestock – while talking to you in your choice of English, Dutch, French and German. And these charming hosts are not just multilingual but multi-talented because owner Gary is both a qualified golf pro and a professional chef and can boast more than a year or two of experience in some high quality restaurants. Tastes and dreams are dished up seemingly effortlessly here and well they might be because after a day of clay-bird shooting, cooking classes, whisky and cigar tasting, golf, fly-fishing or 4WD adventuring you’re going to need something extra-special to refuel with.
Next on the menu is ‘Pen-y-bryn Lodge’ in Oamaru, South Island where it would take little imagination to transport yourself back to a bygone era when grandeur and grace were all part of life for those at the upper end of the social scale. Boasting a ‘Category One Historic Places’ classification this opulent homestead comes complete with unrivalled accommodation options, warm hospitality and an almost obligatory order to relax, unwind and indulge. The ‘Jameses’ – otherwise known as owners James Gluckman and James Boussy – will give you a helping hand with this last bit; the Gluckman half is also your chef and is intent on plying your palate with food experiences from around the world. These may take the form of a Chinese banquet, fine dining European style or experiences which showcase the best of cuisine choices from South East Asia, South America or the Middle East.
The 1st class dining experience at the Pen -y – Bryn Lodge
Cosy and contemporary and complete with stunning views of Lake Taupo, ‘Acacia Cliffs Lodge’ is a perfect boutique choice for foodies, because your hosts here – Linda and Rick – know what it feels like to be passionate about food and wine. Having travelled a great deal themselves they also know exactly what constitutes a warm and personal welcome and deliver accordingly from their luxurious property set on 2 hectares of grounds full of native flora and birds. The heart-achingly beautiful views come courtesy of expansive and light-flooding floor-to-ceiling windows so you can take in the lake, mountain and bush views as their colours change throughout the day. Dinner is something of an affair at Acacia Cliffs Lodge – a sumptuous four-course feast preceded by pre-dinner drinks and canapés shared with your hosts and any other guests.
Acacia fine dining with amazing views of Lake Taupo
The Boutique Hotels & Lodges collection also includes a few other treats for the food-passionate such as the ‘Point Villas’ on mountain-surrounded Lake Taupo owned by hosts of the fabulous kind – Peg and Brian. Such indulgences as a private heli-pad for whisking you off to remote fly-fishing spots, bespoke spa treatments and a swimming pool all exist harmoniously here and the stunning setting, which can even be enjoyed through the floor to ceiling glass as you soak in your bath, are probably enough on their own to tempt you in. However those looking to move a degree or two away from the traditional top-end lodge type experience or who value their privacy more may enjoy the opportunity to relax and cook for themselves – surrounded of course by tip-top luxury.
Some particularly fine dining can be found at the beautiful Boatshed on Waiheke Island which oozes sophistication and is just a short walk to the delightful white sand beach. With a respectful nod towards the traditional and iconic Kiwi ‘bach’ the rooms and suites of the Boatshed provide the perfect setting for retreat, privacy and beach dreams. The property boasts extensive kitchen gardens and produces freshly caught seafood as easily as a magician pulls a rabbit from a hat. You won’t find any communal tables here, instead – to continue on the privacy and retreat theme – tables are set discreetly around the property.
The Boasted private dining like never before – what an experience!
Last but not least – let us introduce you to the lady behind the collection – Susan Roberts. Susan’s mission – shaped by more than 35 years experience in the airline and hospitality industries – is to marry up New Zealand visitors with their idea of the perfect holiday base. All of this is presented through an easy-to-use website showcasing each property individually with a range of full-colour photos, videos and descriptions for each extra-special choice. You’ll need to take a website tour yourself to fully appreciate what’s on offer but be warned – you may find yourself suddenly overwhelmed with an urge to pack your bags and head off into the Boutique Hotels & Lodges-themed sunset…
For further information please contact Jerry Bridge at What to do in Wellington or click straight to Susan’s website
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