There’s plenty to distract you from the beautiful vista at Kāmana Lakehouse. Perched high above the lake, just outside of town in Fernhill, the hotel’s communal spaces and rooms have been thoughtfully kitted out following an overhaul of an existing property in 2018. Rooms are made for two, with sleek bathrooms and a balcony prepped for chilly nights with comfortable private seating and a cosy blanket (Tahuna Lakeview rooms offer the best outlook). The lobby opens into a lounge area adorned with recycled birch trees, a wall crafted with Jenga-like precision from blocks of timber and four fireplaces suspended from the ceiling. The Art Deco-style restaurant, Nest Kitchen & Bar, serves a broad buffet for breakfast and Mediterranean-skewed dishes at night, plus a drinks list that includes Central Otago wines, a selection of Japanese whiskies and a dangerous gin-and-tonic menu.
Just outside of Queenstown central in Fernhill, a five-minute drive from the Lakefront – the taxi fare should be similar to what a dropoff in town costs. The Queenstown Orbus stops outside of the hotel and offers a direct link to the airport.
There are several different rooms types at the Kamana, all similar in size and with the same muted alpine palette. The main difference between the suites – and the prices – is the view: Kamana Rooms offer courtyard outlooks, while Tahuna rooms have vistas of the sparkling lake, made even more spectacular thanks to the elevation of the hotel; it’s one of the highest in Queenstown. Each room is equipped with mini fridges, wall-mounted televisions and wardrobe space tucked in next to the minibar; the bathrooms are compact but sleek and inviting.
Food and drink
Breakfast and dinner are served at Nest, the open-plan lounge, kitchen and bar that leads off from the lobby. The first meal of the day is buffet-style, with a broad assortment of hot and cold classics with thoughtful touches like locally made jam, while the dinner menu is designed to share: pizzas (ideally enjoyed fireside in the lounge accompanied by a Central Otago pinot noir), New Zealand lamb slow-cooked to melting point and served with flavoursome couscous and addictive kumara chips. Don’t be surprised if you find it hard to focus on ordering, though – the view over Lake Wakatipu through the restaurant’s enormous windows or from your seat on the deck is truly mesmerising; so much so that at first glance it appears almost like a watercolour painting.
For wellness travellers
Three indoor hot tubs with lake and mountain views for guest use will be opened in 2020; in the meantime, the front desk will happily recommend and book spa treatments in town on your behalf.
Forget stuffing your snow gear in a claustrophobic cupboard when you get back from the slopes. The ski storage room at Kamana is as Instagrammable as the view, with a wall made of stacked wood offcuts and a recycled chair lift for selfies.
Best for: Couples
Number of suites: 73
Wi-fi: Free and fast
Address: 139 Fernhill Rd, Queenstown