The Gibbston Valley winery is a stalwart of Central Otago; the first commercial vineyard of the now established pinot-rich region. This new lodge, open since January 2020, expands its mini complex – which already includes a restaurant, cheesery and wine cave – to include accommodation and it’s a welcome addition. The main building has a heritage feel on approach thanks to the schist stone exterior but inside is a sleek open-plan space divided loosely into a lobby, lounge, restaurant, bar and library. The patio furniture makes use of repurposed wine barrels and there’s a fire pit to spend cold nights by, nursing a glass of red. The 24 villas snake away from this main lodge and are modern, cosy (the bed is especially large and dressed with plush throws) and completely private thanks to clever design and layouts.
Nestled in the Gibbston Valley, it's just under 30 minutes from Queenstown and the airport, and 10 minutes from Arrowtown. Accommodations are attached to the winery of the same name, but private thanks to subtle walls that block the highway.
The 24 villas are more like mini-homes, standing neatly in a row down a garden path lined with roses. Inside, the suites are open plan with sleeping space distinguished from the lounge area and wet bar by an elevated platform and sliding doors to block the light – though you wouldn’t really want to shut out the view of the surrounding manicured grounds and valley beyond. The styling leans towards cabin-in-the-woods with a number of luxe touches, including an alarm clock with a built-in wireless charging station, underfloor heating in the sumptuous bathroom, a roomy shower alcove and a cheese board ready to be demolished. Each villa has a private deck opening onto a sweet English-style garden with a man-made stream trickling gently by.
Food and drink
While the Gibbston Valley Winery restaurant and cheesery are a short walk away and worth stopping in at, the lodge has its own on-site restaurant that offers an elevated dining experience with a la carte breakfast (as well as a buffet selection of cereals, fruit and pastry), lunch and dinner crafted from sustainably-sourced seasonal ingredients. You might try sweet golden heirloom tomatoes simply dressed with dollops of goat’s cheese alongside perfectly pink Cardrona lamb stuffed into large, flat parcels of ravioli or octopus caught in Fiordland paired with a bright saffron saucy and spicy chorizo slices. Though the dining space is decorated in wintery materials – dark wooden floorboards, a central fireplace and leather chairs – it is bright and light thanks to enormous windows. The wine list features all the best drops from the winery and Bubbles Bar is tucked away to the side.
For wellness travellers
The on-site spa is worth a visit even if you’re not a guest at the lodge. Housed in its own tomato-red building, it has three decadent treatment room as well as private change rooms with showers, lockers for valuables and a post-treatment room with armchairs for snuggling into with a cup of herbal tea – or a glass of bubbles, whichever is more your speed – after a limb-loosening massage. In addition to a range of massages, the spa also offers full-body wraps and scrubs, facials using TheraVine products and maintenance treatments like waxing and pedicures.
The 24-hour gym has cardio and weight equipment, two hot tubs and a sauna designed to resemble an oversize wine barrel.
The fab factor
Organise an eBike hire with the lodge and zip along the wildflower-strewn cycle trail across the road. It follows the Kawarau River and takes in the best wineries within the valley.
Best for: A wine weekend
Number of suites: 24
Wi-fi: Free and fast
Parking: Ample and free
Address: 1820 State Highway 6, Gibbston