The bath in the suites at Matakauri Lodge must surely have the best views in Queenstown. Freestanding and flush against the window, you could lose hours watching the TSS Earnslaw chug, toy-like, along Lake Wakatipu, past the base of Cecil’s Peak. Privately set against the lakefront on the outskirts of Queenstown, Matakauri Lodge is a lodge so luxe the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hired the Owners Cottage during their last royal visit to New Zealand. As well as the snug main lodge, where meals are served, there’s a cluster of separate suites set across the property plus a spa, infinity pool and croquet field.
The Lodge is a 10-minute taxi ride (around NZ$30) from the centre of Queenstown. Its position on the curves of the shorefront means the town is out of view and the lodge feels incredibly private.
No matter which room you’re in – the 36-square-metre Lodge Room, one of four suites, seven deluxe suites or the aforementioned Owners Cottage – each makes the most of the dramatic view and natural light with huge windows and skylights. In the Deluxe Suite, there’s an enormous tub, large rainshower and double sinks; the toilet is in a separate room. During turndown, sunrise and sunset times are advised on a print-out left on the bed – wake early and make your way to the chaise lounge underneath the window in the sand-and-burnt-orange-toned lounge area to watch the streaky pink sky turn blue above Cecil’s Peak at least once.
Food and drink
Head chef Jonathan Rogers changes the menu daily based on seasonal availability (including what’s sprouting in the on-site vegetable garden). There’s an a la carte option at dinner but the five-course tasting menu gives a delicious overview of what the kitchen can do and the plates – medium-rare venison, perhaps, or huge Bluff oysters – are so pretty it seems a shame to ruin them with a knife and fork. Dinner and breakfast (buffet-style fruits and cereals, plus hot options ordered off the menu) are included in the tariff.
For business travellers
As well as in-room wifi and a desk, there’s a computer and colour printer in The Library, a tucked-away space on the top floor of the main lodge (go up the stairs next to the fireplace in reception).
For wellness travellers
Clocking up kilometres on the rowing machine is a breeze if you imagine you’re skimming across the lake to the mountains beyond – which you can see from the small gym’s huge windows. It’s open between 7am and 10pm and yoga and Pilates classes are available by appointment. There’s a surprisingly non-freezing infinity plunge pool and a Jacuzzi on the deck in front. The spa has two treatment rooms and offers massages, facials and treatments by appointment.
The fab factor
To keep your focus on The Remarkables mountains rising grandly from the lake behind the town and not the rugby, the TV is hidden behind a black-and-white print of the scenery above the fireplace.
Number of rooms: 12 plus the four-bedroom Owners Cottage.
Rates from: NZ$695 (AU$659)+ GST/night per person.
Wi-fi: Free, unlimited and very fast.
Parking: An outdoor carpark is located outside the main lodge entrance.
Address: Farrycroft Row, 569 Glenorchy Road, Queenstown