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12 luxury Queenstown lodgings that will make you want to linger longer

From one of the world’s most progressive health retreats to luxury residences with unrivalled views of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown doesn’t disappoint when it comes time to check in.

The Rees Lakeside Residences

Adjacent to the main Rees Hotel, the Lakeside Residences are about as close as you can get to Lake Wakatipu without going for a swim. Secluded and private, the spacious two-storey villas come with three bedrooms and just as many bathrooms. Not to mention a high-style living area and balcony, with each space designed to capture lake and mountain views – and offer glimpses of your spa pool.

One of the perks of checking in here is having a ‘Luxury Travel Curator’ at your service, whether to reserve a table at the hotel’s True South dining room or organise a day of adventure activities around Queenstown and the peaks that frame it.

3 best things to do at The Rees Lakeside Residences

  1. Book the ultimate Heli-Crayfish Dining Experience. Chopper over the Southern Alps to the West Coast for champagne and crayfish on the beach.
  2. Pair a bespoke art tour around town with a bottle of bubbles and a spa treatment in the privacy of your room.
  3. Ultimate Heli-Wine Tour with The Rees’ Wine Director. Experience Central Otago’s tastiest drops in the company of someone in the know.

Matakauri Lodge

Matakauri Lodge is set overlooking Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables, just outside Queenstown. The rooms and suites are tastefully designed with glass, stone and timber and offer breezy alfresco living.

The whole of Matakauri is spectacular, but the Owner’s Cottage is particularly beguiling. The private alpine retreat caters to eight guests across plush rooms, a light-filled lounge, full kitchen and dining room. Cook up a storm, or call on your chef for in-villa meals backdropped by mountains. The property regularly takes home awards for its food, prepared by chef Jonathan Rogers using local suppliers from the Central Otago region.

3 best things to do at Matakauri Lodge

  1. Make the most of the private jetty and enjoy a sunset cruise around the lake aboard a chartered motor yacht.
  2. Private dining in the library, overlooking Lake Wakatipu, as the setting sun lights up Cecil Peak in dancing shades of rust and greys.
  3. For the fitness inclined, the views from the well-equipped gym overlooking the pool, lake and mountains is an excellent energy reset. Then head to the spa for a treatment harnessing the healing properties of local muds.

Lodge at The Hills

This architect-designed property is for the exclusive use of you and your closest friends. Bed down in six spacious suites that ooze sophistication. There’s a large, open-plan kitchen and dining area where you can pick up cooking tips from your private chef. As well as a wine cellar stocked with top drops, art studio, music and media room and living area with floor-to-ceiling windows and an open fireplace.

Explore the sculpture garden that surrounds and extends on to The Hills Golf Course. You do, of course, have your own private par-three hole, infinity pool, spa, sauna, tennis court and outdoor firepit.

3 best things to do at the Lodge at The Hills

  1. Fly from the front lawn of the Lodge to the Kawarau Bungy bridge for a private jump before zipping off to a mountain-top peak for a gourmet picnic lunch.
  2. Have one of the region’s finest sommeliers fly in for an in-house tasting in the Lodge’s underground cellar. Wines selected from the private collection are paired with a chef-prepared meal in the subterranean formal dining room featuring a concave roof inspired by a whale skeleton.
  3. Gain exclusive access to The Hills Golf Course for a private art tour, exploring a selection of sculptures and artworks that rival some of the best galleries in the world. Follow this, perhaps, with a music recital in the Lodge’s grand reception area.

Azur Lodge

This spectacular nine-villa lodge offers the best of both worlds – a remote hilltop setting that will make you feel like you have Queenstown to yourself; and an easy commute into town. So you can be sitting down to lunch or dinner in an award-winning restaurant in next to no time.

All accommodations and shared spaces that overlook Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range. There are almost too many perches to choose from when it comes to cocktail hour – your private patio may just win as the last of the day disappears. This is also the ideal spot for a private yoga session or massage with a view.

3 best things to do at Azur Lodge

  1. Dinner for two in the privacy of your villa: Pick a local restaurant partner and the hotel will recreate an in-villa dining experience overlooking the lake and mountains.
  2. Light candles, fill up the tub, add aromatherapy oils, pour a glass of bubbles and enjoy a scenic soak – replete with bay windows allowing an indoor-outdoor experience.
  3. Canapés and wine amid the gardens or beside the enormous outdoor fire, under the twinkling stars.

The Spire

Set within a lively precinct in the heart of Queenstown, The Spire adds a pop of colour to every stay. The boutique property’s suites come with lipstick-read bed heads and bold artworks. Cosy up by your gas fire – either gazing over vibrant laneways, mountains or St Peter’s church. There’s art throughout, with each curated piece telling a story of local creatives and the region.

Dine on-site at highly awarded No5 Church Lane – cocktails here are sensational as well – or enjoy the short stroll to any number of Queenstown’s 150-plus other restaurants and bars.

3 best things to do at The Spire

  1. Sister to Eichardt’s, The Spire and its guests also have the 24-metre Falcon-S Pacific Jemm at their disposal to cruise around Queenstown.
  2. Explore studios off the beaten track, meet the artist and view hidden treasures of the region on a private hotel-led art tour.
  3. Talk to your concierge about a helicopter tour into Fiordland National Park to discover Milford Sound, one of New Zealand’s most beguiling attractions.

Hulbert House

Each of the six rooms in the gracious Hulbert House is individual in design, furnished to reflect significant moments in the 1888 Victorian villa they call home.

For Lake Wakatipu and Skyline Gondola views, be sure to book the Grand Room, decorated with flourishes in purple, royal blue and gold. There’s no restaurant – some of the city’s finest dining rooms are a short walk away – but there is a lovely patio-cum-bar, where you can while away the evening and plan your next adventure.

3 best things to do at Hulbert House

  1. Pre-dinner drinks and canapés on the sundeck, with unparalleled views of Queenstown and the lake.
  2. Let the hotel pack you a gourmet hamper, and take a short stroll to Queenstown Gardens for lunch.
  3. Enjoy the breathtaking Central Otago scenery while pedalling (minimally) on the hotel’s complimentary, top-of-the-range ebikes.

ARO HA

The word ‘transformative’ is regularly used to describe the experience of any stay at Aro Ha, a wellness retreat that delivers mind and body changes that last a lifetime.

Six- to eight-day retreats are inclusive and all-encompassing, from the moment you wake and salute the sun. Enjoy yoga, daily hikes, cooking classes, mindfulness workshops and nourishing meals. You will leave with a refreshed outlook on life. All the better that your base amid soaring peaks is a striking architect-designed lodge, replete with every comfort you need – the biggest being those soul-salving views.

3 best things to do at ARO HA Queenstown

  1. Alone time, without technology. In a world where we’re constantly switched on and always ‘busy’, perhaps the greatest luxury of all is having the space to do nothing much at all except enjoy nature and those around us.
  2. Long soaks in the outdoor pool or hot tub. With mesmerising lake and mountain vistas and some of the cleanest air in the world.
  3. That massage after a long day hiking and practising strength training. There’s nothing quite like it.

Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa

The ultimate way to arrive at Gibbston Valley Winery is via helicopter. When you land, you’ll be whisked off to your private villa surrounded by the estate’s organic and historic pinot noir vineyard.

No corners are cut when it comes to amenities. Each accommodation is sumptuously decorated and has covered decks and a private sun-kissed courtyard – ideal for that afternoon tipple. Which you can also enjoy, fireside, in the main lodge, with its striking stone façade and high-pitched roof; this is also where movies are screened and dinner is served. Continue the wine theme with an indulgent vinotherapy treatment in the on-site spa.

3 best things to do at Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa

  1. Private dining in wine cellar: Think a five-course degustation with matching wines.
  2. Essential Winery Experience. A half-day tour immersing you in top regional wines, including a glimpse into the Gibbston Valley wine cave – with a vintner tasting en route.
  3. Alfresco picnic lunch amid the 405-hectare Gibbston Station. Replete with seasonal produce prepared in the award-winning restaurant and a bottle of Gibbston Valley wine.

Eichardt’s Private Hotel

Queenstown’s most historic hotel haven retains the grandeur and charm it was given when built in the mid-1800s, but pairs that with supreme modern luxuries, both in design or service.

Set right on the lake, Eichardt’s Private Hotel offers everything from super-chic suites to waterside apartments, a self-contained residence and the pièce de résistance: the Penthouse. Check in here and you can enjoy indoor and outdoor kitchens, two sleek bedrooms, marbled bathrooms, a sauna, spa. The hotel also has Queenstown’s largest private terrace – replete with pool and fireplace. Is there a better way to soak up views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables range?

3 best things to do at Eichardt’s Private Hotel

  1. A Penthouse group spa package sees you and your friends completely pampered while luxuriating in your rooftop accommodation. Think champagne, massages, manicures…
  2. Dinner date at the hotel’s Grille restaurant, one of the most celebrated dining rooms in town.
  3. Charter the hotel’s 24-metre Falcon-S Pacific Jemm, the only premium cruising opportunity in Queenstown and Glenorchy.

Blanket Bay

Settings don’t get much more serene than the one enjoyed by this Relais & Châteaux retreat, on the shores of Blanket Bay at the base of the Richardson Mountains. Part of Wyuna Station – a working sheep and cattle farm – the property doesn’t compromise on style. It delivers lodgings set in grand stone-and-timber buildings, replete with soaring beamed ceilings, open fireplaces and floor-to-ceiling windows.

All chalets and villas are exceptional, but the Owner’s Residence stands out for its private setting. It has two spacious bedrooms, rustic country kitchen and manicured gardens. Begin your evening, glass of Central Otago wine in hand, in the Great Room and Den. Then enjoy an alfresco dinner watching the sun cast colours over the lake. During the day, cycle around the same waterway, try your hand at bocce or dive into the heated outdoor pool – a splash with an alpine view you won’t forget in a hurry.

3 best things to do at Blanket Bay

  1. Dinner in the Wine Cave, a private nook for up to six people, lined with rare and valuable bottles from New Zealand and around the world.
  2. A ‘Sense of Tranquillity’ treatment in the spa. It incorporates an indulgent massage and facial that uses healing local manuka honey.
  3. Savour the daily changing five-course dinner degustation. Always showcasing regional ingredients prepared with flair by the retreat’s award-winning chefs Jo Clarke and Dan Reynolds.

Millbrook

Millbrook waterside grounds backdropped by snow-dusted peaks will have you fall in love with the property.

For travelling groups, the two- to four-bedroom Resort Homes are ideal, each individually designed and decorated with fully equipped kitchens, spacious living areas and leafy gardens overlooking the lush greens and fairways of the resort’s namesake golf course and country club.

Facilities are extensive, with multiple restaurants and bars, a spa, fitness centre with a roster of classes and, of course, that golf course. If you want to explore further afield, the property also offers transportation into Queenstown proper.

3 best things to do at Millbrook

  1. A soak in the health centre’s two spa pools and outdoor hot pool, each warmed between 37° and 40°C.
  2. Get a feel for local wines, beers and spirits on a customised luxury tour; just ask your concierge.
  3. Reconnect with nature exploring the gardens and orchard – see how edible flowers and veggies are grown, and meet the hens.

Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel

This slick hotel is right in the centre of Queenstown, but gazing out your window you’d never know it – you’re surrounded by greenery. This lush setting is reflected in the interior design, with earthy materials creating calming spaces throughout.

Including in the top-tier Remarkable Junior Suite, with its private patio, freestanding tub for long soaks and own gas fire; there’s another in the communal guest lounge. There’s no restaurant or bar, but when you’re this close to the city’s finest eateries, they’re not necessary. Breakfast and evening canapés are, however, on the menu, and are a tasty way to mingle with other like-minded travellers.

3 best things to do at Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel

  1. Enjoy complimentary canapés served in the evening along with a welcome drink before heading out to dinner.
  2. Make the most of the hotel’s complimentary mountain bikes and pedal around shimmering Lake Wakatipu, within easy reach of where you bed down.
  3. Organise a luxury car (Mustang, anyone?) or 4WD from Touchdown Rentals. Head out to explore the wineries and mountains that surround.

This article originally appeared in volume 39 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine. Subscribe to the latest issue today.