Award-winning New Zealand - 2016 successes

New Zealand punches above its weight on the world stage - with recognition from prestigious publications and industry alike.

New Zealand is shown to be an exceptional holiday destination - not only through its stunning landscapes and thrill seeking adventure activities, but through high levels of service and striving for the best possible visitor experience. 

A proven favourite with presitigious publications such as The Telegraph and Lonely Planet, and industry peers, New Zealand has been recognised with top honours as a top travel destination and in categories covering luxury lodges, hotels and spas.  

Destination New Zealand

  • New Zealand - #11 in Best Countries in the World
    2016 – Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards 2016 (UK)
  • New Zealand - Favourite Country (fourth year in a row)
    Telegraph Travel Awards 2015-16
  • New Zealand - Australasia’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination 
    World Travel Awards 2016
  • Taranaki – runner up in World's Top 10 Regions
    Lonely Planet's Best In Travel 2017

Off the beaten track but far from remote, Taranaki and its main city of New Plymouth sit on the western coast about halfway between the main centres of Auckland (in the north) and Wellington (in the south) of the North Island. 

This is a region of great natural beauty, remarkable at the very least for its sheer photogenic qualities ranging from volcanic Mt Taranaki – which dominates the rainforest and rich green pastures of one of New Zealand's most productive regions (agriculture on shore and oil and gas fields off-shore) - all the way to its wild black sand beaches and the pounding surf of some of New Zealand's finest surf breaks.

  • Waiheke Island - #4 The World's Best Islands, #1 The Best Islands in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific
    Travel & Leisure World’s Best Awards 2016
  • Queenstown - Australasia’s Leading Destination 
    World Travel Awards 2016


  • East Day Spa - Oceania’s Best Hotel Spa and New Zealand’s Best Hotel Spa
    World Spa Awards 2016
  • New Zealand – Oceania’s Best Spa Destination 
    World Spa Awards 2016

One of New Zealand’s largest premiere luxury day spas, East Day Spa opened 11 years ago in the five-star SKYCITY Grand Hotel.

East Day Spa’s haven of calm, wellness and beauty sits right in the heart of Auckland city offering a range of expertly crafted massages inspired by ancient Eastern healing traditions, alongside modern beauty therapies. With a philosophy centred on stimulating holistic well-being, the spa specialises in holistic Eastern-style massage and was designed to provide peace and relaxation in an ‘East meets West’ ambiance.

Votes in the World Spa Awards were cast by professionals working within the spa industry, senior executives, travel buyers, tour operators, agents and hundreds of thousands of spa consumers in more than 90 countries.

  • Split Apple Retreat - Best Destination Luxury Spa
    Condé Nast Johansen Award for Excellence 2017

Split Apple Retreat is an exclusive-use villa and lodge perched on the water's edge of Abel Tasman National Park, in New Zealand’s northern South Island. It features three luxurious suites, all with 180-degree ocean views and the Abel Tasman National Park.

Every aspect of the Retreat revolves around relaxation with access to two private beaches, an infinity pool overlooking the Tasman Sea and gourmet yet healthy food prepared by a trained chef. 

  • Aro Ha Wellness Retreat - #2 The 15 Best Wellness Retreats
    Condé Nast Traveler (US)

Overlooking glacial-fed Lake Wakatipu and near the alpine resort town of Queenstown, in New Zealand's South Island, Aro Hā is a purpose-built wellness retreat that aims to refresh, rejuvenate and reignite all those who walk through its doors. 

Aro Hā is located on the Wyuna Preserve, a 40-minute drive from Queenstown, and five minutes from the small historic settlement of Glenorchy - on the way to another little place called Paradise and gateway to Fiordland, Mt Aspiring National Park and some of the most spectacular scenery New Zealand has to offer. Surrounded by 21 acres of sub-alpine terrain, the 20-room retreat constructed in natural materials is pure minimalist.

Lodges & Hotels
  • Kauri Cliffs - #1 World’s Best Hotels: Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific
    Travel & Leisure World’s Best Awards 2016

Other New Zealand properties featured in this list:

  • Huka Lodge - #3 World’s Best Hotels: Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific
  • Sofitel Hotel and Spa Queenstown - #9 World’s Best Hotels: Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific
  • Huka Lodge - #3 The 100 Best Hotels in the World, #1 The Best Resort Hotels in Australia and New Zealand, Travel & Leisure World’s Best Awards 2016

Huka Lodge – New Zealand’s first and oldest luxury lodge – is one of the most celebrated. It is located in the heart of the North Island, on the outskirts of the geothermal oasis of Taupo. 

Set within 17 acres of a magnificent Garden of National Significance, on the banks of the teal-hued mighty Waikato River and just above the thundering Huka Falls, Huka Lodge offers a range of luxury accommodation options. There are 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.

Other New Zealand properties featured:

  • The Farm at Cape Kidnappers - #3 The Best Resort Hotels in Australia and New Zealand
  • Matakauri Lodge - #5 The Best Resort Hotels in Australia and New Zealand

Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards 2016 (UK) selected Huka Lodge as #3, Best Hotel in Australasia & the South Pacific. Four other New Zealand luxury lodges featured in this list:

  • Blanket Bay - #6 Best Hotel in Australasia & the South Pacific
  • Otahuna Lodge - #9 Best Hotel in Australasia & the South Pacific
  • Kauri Cliffs - #15 Best Hotel in Australasia & the South Pacific
  • Eagles Nest - #18 Best Hotel in Australasia & the South Pacific

The World Travel Awards 2016 selected Annandale as Australasia’s and the World's Leading Experiential Luxury Property - for the second year running.

Annandale is rural New Zealand at its best: in one of the world’s most spectacular coastal locations, it is a 4000-acre sheep and cattle farm that offers exclusive use of four distinctive luxury villas with relaxed Kiwi-style informality.

Located on Banks Peninsula, south of Christchurch, Annandale was developed in 1843 and was one of the earliest and most renowned farms in the South Island. As one of New Zealand’s newest luxury accommodations (opened 2013), Annandale has been beautifully transformed into a secluded coastal escape.

  • SkyCity Auckland – Australasia’s leading Casino Resort
    World Travel Awards 2016: SkyCity Auckland gained this accolade for the third year in a row, and the fourth time in total.
  • The Residence at The George – Australasia’s Leading Luxury Hotel Villa 
    World Travel Awards 2016

The Residence, opened in 2016 as an exclusive property alongside the exceptional George Hotel in Christchurch, is already turning heads as one of New Zealand’s leading luxury offerings. 

The lovingly restored 1950’s character villa, offers the best of both worlds - access to full hotel services, but the privacy and exclusiveness of a private villa. The luxury property has been styled in the era of its time, with wood panelling and marble bench tops, and features some of the latest technology to appease every comfort. 

  • Eagle's Nest - Australasia’s Leading Villa Resort and New Zealand’s Leading Resort
    World Travel Awards 2016

Eagle's Nest is a luxurious multi-award-winning private retreat, styled as "somewhere between seven stars and heaven", and located within 27 hectares (75 acres) of lush estate near the historic seaside village of Russell, in the Bay of Islands.

The private haven has hosted many Hollywood celebrities - Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart, and Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher are rumoured to have stayed there. Most recently it was visited by Indian Bollywood Mega Star Sidharth Malhotra. 

The resort consists of five luxury villas that are available fully-staffed with a personal chef, personal trainer, massage therapist and chauffeur. This is the third year in a row that Eagle's Nest has scooped this award.

  • Hotel DeBrett Auckland - #4, Top Hotels in Australia & New Zealand
    Readers' Choice Awards 2016 - Condé Nast Traveler (US) 

Hotel DeBrett was the only New Zealand hotel, and the only boutique property to feature in this Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice list. In prime downtown Auckland, surrounded by business and fashion precincts, Hotel DeBrett pays particular attention to retaining its architectural Art Deco features, overlaid with modern comforts. Every room is individually designed and complemented with eclectic furniture, New Zealand art and photography.

Also featured in this list: 

  • Sofitel Queenstown Hotel and Spa - #8, Top Hotels in Australia & New Zealand
  • Aro Ha Wellness Retreat - #2, Top 25 Resorts in Australia & the South Pacific
    Reader’s Choice Awards 2016 - Condé Nast Traveler (US)

Also featured in this list:

  • The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs - #6, Top 25 Resorts in Australia & the South Pacific
  • Heritage Christchurch – Best Luxury Historical Hotel Australasia and Oceania region
    2016 World Luxury Hotel Awards 

Heritage Christchurch offers guests comfort and class in a building with a 103 year legacy. Originally the Old Government Building built in 1913, the property was transformed into the hotel in 1995, and is now listed as a category one building on the Historic Places Trust Register, reflecting its status as a building of national significance.  

The building stood strong through the 2011 major earthquake that hit the region, with only minor structural damage. Today Heritage Christchurch graces the ever-changing central city still with its stunning staircases, wide hall ways and beautiful high ceilings.

  • Greenhill Lodge - #1 Small Luxury Hotels of the World “Commitment to Quality” Award 
    Small Luxury Hotels Awards 2016

This award recognises and honours SLH member hotels that have gone above and beyond to provide the ultimate guest experience and exemplify the luxury brand’s ‘independently minded’.

  • Helena Bay - #1 Best New Hotels in the World
    Luxury Travel Intelligence  

Helena Bay is New Zealand’s newest luxury offering, situated in sunny Northland on the unspoiled Tutukaka Coast. Private and secluded, it is easily accessible from Auckland and guests can choose to arrive from there by helicopter or by road. Helena Bay has been designed to meet high expectations of comfort and style for those who seek peace, privacy and the opportunity to be close to the unspoiled beauty of nature, whilst enjoying a very sophisticated level of hospitality. 

Travel group Luxury Travel Intelligence specialises in assessing high-end accommodation and providing in depth and honest information to its member only clientele.

Flying high

  • Queenstown Airport -  #3 ‘World’s Most Scenic Airport Landing’
    PrivateFly 2015

Queenstown Airport is one of Australasia’s fastest-growing airports and is New Zealand’s fourth busiest airport for passenger numbers, hosting 1.65 million passengers in the 2015-2016 financial year. It serves as a direct gateway to some of New Zealand’s most renowned scenery and visitor experiences. Total passenger movements through the airport have increased 18 per cent on the previous year. 

Located in Frankton, 10 minutes from the internationally renowned four-season resort of Queenstown, the airport services the surrounding region with daily domestic flights and regular direct trans-Tasman flights.

  • Air New Zealand - Australasia’s Leading Airline (8th consecutive year)
    World Travel Awards 2016
  • Air New Zealand - Airline of the year 2017 (4th consecutive year)
  • Air New Zealand – # 3 Best Longhaul Airline 
    Telegraph Travel Awards 2015-16
  • Air New Zealand - #7 The World’s Best International Airlines 
    Travel & Leisure World’s Best Awards 2016