This is a luxury journey to end all
luxury trips: soaking in five of the best getaways in New Zealand – three of
them judged among the best hideaway spots in the world.

The assignment: To taste Lordens
Penthouse, Queenscliff, Matakauri, Blanket Bay and Eichardt’s in and around

Economic times may be tough but people
still save for special holidays to recharge their corporate batteries; for sexy
romantic getaways or both. Our first assignment is to taste two of the best
apartment hideaway havens in Queenstown: each around the $nz1000 a night.

Touch of Spice Lordens Penthouse Apartment 

 Our host Lynne from Touch of Spice met
as at Lordens – perched at the top of Fernhill overlooking the alpine township,
the lake, the mountains and all that goes with the adrenalin-pumping adventure
capital of the world.

 An elevator took us to the third floor
of our Lordens Penthouse, part of the Touch of Spice Private Villa Collection.
The views are embedded into my mind forever. It’s hard to notice the massive
designer kitchen or the Suzie Paynter touches to the interiors when the blue
skies, the glistening lake, the brilliant snow and the TSS Earnslaw lock your
gaze. The decks are spectacularly large and secluded. This was place in a class
of its own.

We lay in the spa in a chilly still
sipping our Framinghams classic riesling still spellbound by the superb views
of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables. At nights we dined at the award-winning
Wai and then stylish Lucianos on Steamer Wharf: excellent fare and brilliant
service. Lordens has three rooms all with ensuites; all with glorious picture
postcard views. This was a romantic holiday but could also be a great retreat
for families or groups of corporates staying here for conferences. It was
difficult leaving the Lordens and Touch of Spice were brilliant host organisers
for us.

We blattered through town in our little
Jucy rental and up the steep slopes to the top of Queenstown Hill to our final
destination – Queenscliff, arranged by a company called Relax It’s Done.
Queenscliff stares straight into the centre of town and beyond down the mighty
Lake Wakatipu. We lazed in the spa pool before dusk watching the shadows sneak
up the Remarkables.

Every second four wheel drive in
Queenstown promotes something – wine, food, accommodation and the endless
numbers of tourist operators. Writing on one vehicle parked near our apartment
said it all: G Force Paragliding. That’s Queenstown. Everything happens here. Even
the big international Winter Games in August will be huge for the region’s

We explored Queenscliff, which like
Lordens is spread over several levels. The atrium into Queenscliff is unique
with a glass floor looking down to the games room below. The black and red
comfy chairs, the pc work station area, the large plasma tv with My-Sky – it
was all here. The master bedroom had a walk in robe bigger than any double
bedroom. Queenscliff sleeps eight people, is 10 minutes walk to town and the
steepest walk returning home. But their vast inviting spa pool has one of the
best outdoor views in the world. Carmel from ‘Relax It’s Done’ arranged anything
we wanted, including arranging my squash games.

Lake Wakatipu,Kip Brook

We next threw ourselves at the mercy of
the warm and knowledgeable staff at Matakauri Lodge – one of the top 101 hotels
of the world according to Tatler magazine. General manager Grant Alley and his people
were first rate – our room had a stunning view – we were in heaven. We even
received a little Kiwi fluffy soft toy as a go-away present. Matakauri has it
all: a sanctuary for relaxing holidaymakers, native birds such as tui, native
frogs and a charming lakeside setting. The next morning we trundle around the
lake to famous Blanket Bay, twice rated by Harper’s as one of the two most
romantic hideaways in the world.

Blanket Bay,Kip Brook

Blanket Bay is a place every couple who
can save $1500 once in their life should go and spend a night at. It is the
grandest lodge ever. I loved the heavy textured wood: massive grey weathered
supports and fine furniture pieces with burnished rich patina. Philip Jenkins
is a brilliant general manager with a superb dry wit. The local staff were
excellent. Unlike some lodges, Philip insisted there was no dress code.

Their games room was a blokesy den with
a free bar. Before tea, I did a 30 minute jog through the bush and then around
the shore edge of the lake back to the hotel: if felt like running in paradise.
My seared grouper meal and Corbans Cottage Block chardonnay made me feel even


Next day I drive back to Queenstown,
where I spend the night at Eichardt’s – judged the best small hotel in the
world three or four years ago. My suite, room No.2, is possible the best
appointed I have ever stayed in. Bubbly Victoria and all the Eichardt’s staff
could not be more caring and helpful. The massive possum fur rug on my bed was
an utterly romantic touch. Their service is second to none. Sipping a Spy
Valley sauvignon blanc on my private balcony on the cusp of the beautiful lake
at Eichardt’s is a must for the bucket list. We make a note to return to
Queenstown next year.