For the third successive year, New Zealand's exclusive Eagles Nest retreat has won top honours as the World's Leading Boutique Villa Resort at the 2015 World Travel Awards.
The luxurious multi-award-winning private retreat, styled as "somewhere between seven stars and heaven", is located within 27 hectares (75 acres) of lush estate near the historic seaside village of Russell, in the Bay of Islands.
Eagles Nest is a favourite with Hollywood celebrities and high-end business clientele.
The Wall Street Journal is among the many publications that have heralded WTA as 'the Oscar’s of the travel industry'.
Eagles Nest GM William Hudson, who accepted the award in Morocco, said it was "a privilege to take home such a prestigious and significant award."
"We strive to provide a world-class experience and to be recognised as the World's Leading Boutique Villa Resort is testament to the dedication of our team and the beauty of the Bay of Islands," he said.
Eagles Nest is a private haven that has hosted many Hollywood celebrities - Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart, and Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher are rumoured to have stayed there. The retreat was also the setting for the final episode of season 13 of US reality TV show The Bachelor.
The resort consists of five luxury villas that are available fully-staffed with a personal chef, personal trainer, massage therapist and chauffeur. Villas range in price from NZ$2500 per night to NZ$20,000-plus in peak season - but prices include a bottle of quality champagne, high-speed internet, fruit platter, minibar and gourmet breakfast.
Four of the villas have a heated swimming pool, and all villas are furnished with a jacuzzi, air-conditioning, original art, home theatre system, luxury New Zealand bathroom products and a fully-equipped gourmet kitchen.
Rahimoana - described as the presidential villa - is the largest and accommodates eight people. The minimalist styled pavilion, built in glass, steel and granite, has 320 degree views of the Bay of Islands from its hill-top perch.
Eagles Nest previous awards include:
2014 World Luxury Hotel Awards - Continent Winner Luxury Hotel 'Best scenic environment'
2014 World Travel Awards - World's Leading Villa Resort
2013 World Travel Awards - World's Leading Villa Resort
2010 World Luxury Hotel Awards - Global Winner, Luxury Coastal Hotel / Hot List
2009 & 2010 Conde Nast Traveller Gold List
2009 Tatler Magazine World’s Best 101 Hotels
2008 Conde Nast Traveller Gold List - Top 100 Hotels #1
Background: Bay of Islands
Eagles Nest is located on the Tapeka tip of the Russell peninsula, in the heart of Northland’s Bay of Islands.
The Bay of Islands region encompasses Kerikeri, Waitangi, Paihia and Russell. The area is said to have been discovered by legendary Polynesian navigator Kupe, long before British explorer Captain James Cook visited in 1769.
Russell was a whaling station in the 1800s and was once described as ‘the hellhole of the Pacific’. Today, it is known for its carefully-preserved historic buildings, amazing ocean views and as a tranquil oasis, perfect for a seaside summer holiday.
Waitangi is the birthplace of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document. It was there that important Māori chiefs and key European representatives met in 1840 to sign the charters that formed the Treaty.
The peaceful Treaty grounds are home to the Treaty House, a fully carved whare runanga / Māori meeting house, and New Zealand’s largest ceremonial Māori waka / canoe.
Less than 15 minutes by car from Waitangi, Kerikeri is a fertile orchard town - famed for its New Zealand tamarillos, avocados and citrus - with a strong arts community. As well as checking out the local farmers’ market and orchards, visitors can follow a wine trail, and walk ancient kauri forests.
Background: World Travel Awards
WTA was established in 1993, to recognise, acknowledge and reward the leading travel, tourism and hospitality organisations in the world, those companies which push the boundaries of excellence in product and service, and create groundbreaking ideas.
The brand has since developed into the most prestigious and comprehensive awards programme in tourism, and is recognised worldwide as the hallmark of industry excellence.