Three New Zealand luxury lodges in top 20 international hideaways list

Three New Zealand luxury properties have been named in the latest list of top 20 international hideaways released by the Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report.

Three New Zealand luxury properties have been named in the latest list of top 20 international hideaways released by the Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report.

Leading New Zealand luxury lodges Otahuna, Huka and Blanket Bay have been voted into the Top 20 International Hideaways for 2016 – published by one of the world's most influential luxury travel reader’s polls, The Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report.

Prestigious Otahuna Lodge in Tai Tapu, Canterbury, gained second place in the Top 20, while Huka Lodge, Taupo, ranked at 17th and Blanket Bay, Queenstown, at 19th. The Farm at Cape Kidnappers was named at 20th in the top 20 international golf resorts, also published in the Hideaway Report.

The results are based on the annual independent Reader Survey in which Andrew Harper’s readers vote for the best hotels, resorts, safari lodges and cruise ships around the world. This year's Readers’ Choice Awards covered 131 properties in over 25 countries.

Otahuna Lodge, Tai Tapu (Christchurch)

A luxurious seven-suite heritage property, Otahuna Lodge is no stranger to the Andrew Harper’s Reader’s Choice Awards. Otahuna topped the list in 2015, and this is the third year it has appeared in the top three.

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 panelled 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 “brilliant, truly humbling news.”

“For three years running we have ranked amongst the top 3 spots in the Andrew Harper awards. And, these continued placements are an extraordinary recognition of a fantastic team that works harder than anyone to show off the wonders of New Zealand.”

Otahuna Lodge, which gained #1 placing in the 2015 hideaways list, was dethroned by the Aman Venice, making its first appearance in the list. 

International luxury travel in New Zealand

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 Conde Nast Traveler readers who've voted New Zealand their favourite country in the world on multiple occasions.

Background: Otahuna Lodge – Tai Tapu, Christchurch 

Just a 30-minute drive from the South Island city of Christchurch, Otahuna is a magnificent example of 19th century colonial architecture - a grand country mansion 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 created by renowned executive chef Jimmy McIntyre. 

Getting there

Otahuna Lodge is in the Tai Tapu countryside, 30 minutes by road from Christchurch, on the eastern coast of New Zealand’s South Island. There are daily international flights from Singapore, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney into Christchurch Airport as well as domestic flights from around New Zealand.

Background: Huka Lodge, Taupo  

Huka Lodge - a gracious 20-room lodge on the banks of the mighty Waikato River, in New Zealand’s central North Island - adds this latest recognition to a tableau d’honneur that’s almost as long as the 90 years it has been in existence.

It has made several appearances in the Top 20 International Hideaways, and other awards include: 'Best Hotel in Australasia and the South Pacific' in the 2014 Reader’s Travel Awards of Condé Nast Traveller Magazine; TripAdviser’s 2014 'Travellers' Choice Award'; Tatler’s 'Enduring Excellence Award' (2010), recognising "outstanding consistency in maintaining the highest standards of excellence for the last 25 years".  

Huka Lodge has come a long way since it was founded by Irishman Alan Pye in 1924. It was his simple tented camp, generous hospitality and authentic tales of bountiful trout that brought visitors from around the world to Huka. Under new ownership since 1984, the lodge has been much celebrated for its refined style, luxurious experiences and hospitality.

Set within 17 acres of a nationally significant garden noted for its native plantings, the lodge sits in a magnificent setting on the banks of the teal-hued mighty Waikato River and just above the thundering Huka Falls. The range of luxury accommodation options include 18 Jnr Lodge Suites, one Lodge Suite and two exclusive cottages - The Owner’s Cottage and the Alan Pye Cottage - both designed and decorated to reflect the outdoor lovers' paradise of the Taupo region.

Getting there

Huka Lodge sits on the banks of the Waikato River, near Lake Taupo in New Zealand’s central North Island, and about halfway between Auckland and Wellington. Taupo has a small airport, with connections to the major hubs, and is a 45-minute flight from both Auckland and Wellington.

Background: Blanket Bay, Queenstown  

This is the fourth time that luxury lodge Blanket Bay - on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown - has been named in Andrew Harper’s Top 20 (2010, 2011, 2014).  

Blanket Bay is regularly awarded top accolades, reaffirming its status as an internationally-renowned luxury lodge. Awards over the past 15 years include being named the 'World’s Ultimate Escape' by the UK Sunday Times Magazine, and several times taking the title of Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report’s 'Best Hotel Under 50 Rooms' category.

Sitting at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu - on one of the world's top scenic drives - Blanket Bay is close to Queenstown and the endless outdoor and luxury pursuits of New Zealand's famed Southern Alps. Its name recalls the 19th century farm workers who made rough shelters from blankets to use when shearing their sheep. The 13-room lodge has lake views and an award-winning kitchen.  

The Andrew Harper website describes Blanket Bay as a "splendid sanctuary along the shores of Lake Wakatipu with a majestic backdrop of snowcapped peaks; a scenic 45-minute drive from Queenstown".

Getting there

Queenstown, in the Southern Alps of New Zealand’s South Island, has an international airport and regular connections from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Background: The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay  

Named at #20 in Andrew Harper's Top Golf Resorts, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is a much awarded luxury lodge and world-class championship golf course on a rugged peninsula jutting out into the Pacific Ocean. The Hawke’s Bay region, on the east coast of the North Island, is one of New Zealand’s top food and wine-producing destinations.  

The par 71 Cape Kidnapper's golf course designed by Tom Doak is not for the faint-hearted with challenging tee shots over deep canyons and the roaring ocean far below.  

The Farm is a sister property to The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, in Northland, which also boasts an acclaimed golf course, and Matakauri Lodge, near Queenstown. The three super luxury properties - owned and operated by New York-based financier and philanthropist Julian Robertson and family - are members of the exclusive Relais & Chateaux hotel group.

Getting there

Hawke’s Bay and the art deco city of Napier are on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Napier is a one-hour flight from Auckland or Wellington, and there are regular connections to other main centres. It is a 2-hour drive from Taupo. 

Andrew Harper's The Hideaway Report

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 readers vote for the best hotels, resorts, safari lodges and cruise ships around the world. Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report is a leading source of information about luxury travel, having provided candid and insightful reviews for more than 35 years.