New Zealand lodge tops international hideaways list

New Zealand’s exclusive Otahuna Lodge is the best of the best according to the influential Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report.

New Zealand’s Otahuna Lodge, near Christchurch, has been voted the Top International Hideaway for 2015 by readers of one of the world's most influential luxury travel reader’s polls, Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report

Harper’s describes the lodge as an “evocative seven-suite Queen Anne manor amid century-old estate gardens. Magnificently appointed public areas contain a richly paneled dining room, library and guest lounge. The property offers tennis, croquet, day spa, cooking classes and stable for horseback rides.”

Otahuna Lodge’s owner, Hall Cannon said the win was a “stunning confirmation for a fantastic team that works harder than anyone to show off the wonders of Canterbury.” 

“As an American who chose to settle in New Zealand, this award confirms what I have felt for a long time: that New Zealand is a destination that leaves a deep and lasting impression.” 

Otahuna Lodge was also named as #14 in the list of 'Top Food and Wine Resorts', while The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, in Northland, was named #16 in the 'Top Golf Resorts'.

The Hideaway Report is a respected monthly publication which reviews luxury hotels and resorts with 75 or fewer rooms. It was founded in 1979 by a travel writer under the pseudonym Andrew Harper. The publication prides itself on its impartiality, as Harper always travels incognito and pays his own way.

The results are based on the annual independent Reader Survey in which Andrew Harper’s discerning readers vote for the best hotels, resorts, safari lodges and cruise ships around the world. This year's Readers’ Choice Awards boast 122 hotels in 51 destinations. Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report is a leading source of information about luxury travel, having provided candid and insightful reviews to its subscribers for more than 35 years.

The Otahuna story

On the heels of this latest accolade, Otahuna Lodge is gearing up to release its first book which tells the many stories of the estate and its cuisine since it was built in 1895. 

The coffee table book For the Love of Place recounts the lodge’s heritage, gives a rare glimpse inside the celebrated property and shares many fine recipes from its acclaimed kitchen. 

It also tells the story of how Halls Cannon and Miles Refo, who fell in love with New Zealand while on holiday, relocated from New York City in 2006 to purchase Otahuna and embarked on a multi-year journey of renovations – both planned and unplanned. Together, they have overseen the adaptation of the estate to a commercially successful business and the continuous development of its historic gardens. 

For the Love of Place (by Hall Cannon & Miles Refo with Simon Farrell-Green, published by RHNZ Godwit) will be available from 1 October. 

Otahuna Lodge – Tai Tapu, Christchurch

Just a 25-minute drive from the South Island city of Christchurch, Otahuna is a magnificent example of 19th century colonial architecture - a grand country house built in Victorian style. Catering to the most discerning travellers, it is an ideal place from which to explore Canterbury’s extraordinary scenery, from the spectacular Banks Peninsula to the majestic Southern Alps.

The lodge sits on an expansive estate and gardens that in September each year produce New Zealand's most glorious daffodil flower display.

New Zealand's largest private historic residence is a member of the exclusive Relais & Chateaux collection and has been much lauded for its beautiful luxury accommodation, glorious gardens and sophisticated cuisine. 

An organic vegetable garden grows 95 different types of vegetables, herbs, nuts and fruit. The mushroom crypt has oyster and shiitake mushrooms, and porcini mushrooms grow in the shade of the lodge’s 100-year-old oak trees.

Suites start at NZ$600 a night per person in low season. Tariffs include breakfast, pre-dinner drinks and nightly five-course degustation dinners with matched New Zealand wines, and laundry service.  

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs – Matauri Bay, Northland

Named at #16 in Andrew Harper's Top Golf Resorts, Kauri Cliffs plantation style lodge overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its own world-class championship golf course. Set on 6,000 scenic acres (2,400ha), the beautiful grounds are on the cliffs above Matauri Bay in the Northland region, 3.5 hours’ drive north of Auckland. 

The par 72 championship golf course is the jewel in the crown with six of the 18 holes on top of cliffs that plunge to the ocean below. Five sets of tees challenge any level of golfer as inland holes wind through marsh, forest and farmland. Kauri Cliffs is currently ranked #39 in the world by Golf Digest Top 100 Greatest Golf Courses in the World.

Twenty-two guest suites and a two-bedroom Owner’s Cottage are beautifully designed and decorated for visitors to the lodge. Every suite offers its own private porch, bedroom with sitting area and open fireplace, walk-in-wardrobe and ensuite. The cottages are nestled in a native forest overlooking the golf course and the Pacific Ocean.

World-class facilities at Kauri Cliffs include a stunning infinity pool, relaxing day spa and tennis courts. A wide range of activities can be organised on or off the property like fishing, diving, nature walks, farm tour and mountain biking.

International luxury travel

Luxury travel is a developing sector in New Zealand’s tourism industry.

Drawn firstly to the unspoilt landscape, international visitors are often blown away by the sophisticated infrastructure and services providing all the trappings of a first-class experience - topped off with peace, privacy and safety.

Discerning travellers regularly vote New Zealand as their favourite destination - among them Condé Nast Traveler readers who’ve voted New Zealand their favourite country in the world on multiple occasions. 

Getting there

Otahuna is in Tai Tapu, just 20 minutes by road from central Christchurch on the way to Banks Peninsula and Akaroa, in the South Island of New Zealand. There are daily international flights direct from Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney into Christchurch Airport as well as domestic flights from around New Zealand.