I was lured against my own will to spend four days and three nights at Eichardt's, one of the best hotels in the world at Queenstown (New Zealand) - known globally as the Adventure Capital of the World.
I told the Queenstown people I had a lust for high-octane excitement. As a timid middle aged luxury traveller I wanted to get out and taste the world, on the edge. I wanted to become an adrenalin junkie - and Queenstown is the best place in the world to do it...and survive!
But when I walked into Eichardt's on the edge of one of the world's most majestic lakes, embraced by giant snow-capped mountains I could see pretty soon why they have been voted as the best small hotel in the world. The manager Victoria Shaw offers me a glass of award-winning Spy Valley sauvignon blanc and I plonk myself half gazing into the big roaring log fire and glancing out at the snow the thought of G Force paragliding. I nestle cosily into my chair and soak in the luxurious lounge surroundings. After a second drink hostess Shia takes me over to my whole cottage accommodation - stunning soft furniture, uninterrupted views down the lake and mountains and grand master bedroom with a sexy soft large fur rug spread provocatively over my king size bed. The flat screen TV is hidden behind a lovely oil painting.
I'm too exhausted to watch tv! I crash early and decide to make a list of what I will do the next day: heli-biking, heli-skydiving, paragliding, rafting, hang gliding, heli-hiking, tandem parasailing, jetboating, bungy jumping, canyon swinging, clay target shooting, fly fishing, horse riding, mountain biking, quad biking, skiing, snowboarding, skydiving, parapenting, heli-skiing, off-roading, sailing, deer hunting, canoeing, climbing, kayaking, ice skating, luge and river surfing, snowmobiling. I feel giddy at the thought of any of them. I get seasick in a bath so that cuts out the water activities. I only fly big jets so that cuts out the air. I sleep like a baby and wake to the tastes of creamed spinach, bacon, eggs Benedict, toast, tea and tasty fruit juice. I feel like a health junkie.
My exclusive Eichardt's suite is the plushest of all the luxury cottage hideaway destinations I have ever stayed in. It is romance, luxury and sumptuous elegance rolled into one. Eichardt's is a 150 year-old pub - renovated to 21st century luxury - among the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group. The girls who run Eichardt's are wonderfully cheerful and warm. I'm struggling to get out of this first-class place. That night I soak in the lavish spa-jet bathtub with a bottle of Envoy bubbly half empty on the heated marble floor. I wrap myself in a crisp white robe and lounge by the fire with some big decisions to make. I want to take to the skies and feel alive tomorrow. Dawn greets the glistening lake, the grand old steamer SS Earnslaw is ready to chug over to Walter Peak. This alpine village of adventure is alive early as people head to the snow slopes and other wild parts to live life on the edge. I begin to seriously exercise. I walk along the small open air malls of Queenstown, feeling invigorated by the alpine-air. Couples stroll arm in arm in designer jackets or t-shirt 'I have bungy-jumped' or other bravado branding to show off their boldness.
I race back to my cottage determine to book a skydiving trip or jump off a bridge bungy style.
Then I read an article where England cricketer Ian Botham rated Eichardt's as the best hotel he has stayed in. Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report have three times rated them among the best in the world - and once THE best little hotel. It is frightfully sexy and romantic. I am dizzy with all this luxurious reading and crash deeply to sleep on my big fur rug.
On my final day after sampling the best cooked breakfast washed down with healthy tea I decide to become a real adventure man. I make a new list: Walk around the lake 100 metres either way, take a gondola ride, soak in the hot pools, be bold and take a lake cruise, sneak into a beauty spa without anyone recognising me; drive to picture-postcard Arrowtown in my little Jucy car rental; watch others go hot air ballooning; maybe mini golf, or wine tasting or just sit in awe at the majestic lake and mountain view from my cottage suite.
You see, they never said anything at Eichardt's but they definitely lured me -against my will. Heaven! Curled up in that exclusive cottage suite, time stood still in one of the world' best sexy hideaway, in the Adventure Capital of the World. (Even looking at someone bungy jump or ride in a helicopter makes me feel squeamish).