New luxury lodge opens in New Zealand
13 Aug 2010
Luxury travellers to New Zealand will have a spectacular new destination - Matakauri Lodge near Queenstown, when it’s unveiled on 27 August.
Matakauri Lodge is the newest addition to the New Zealand luxury lodge collection of US investor Julian Robertson and family - owners of Kauri Cliffs, in the Bay of Islands, and The Farm at Cape Kidnappers.
The recent acquisition extends the Robertsons’ accommodation portfolio into New Zealand’s South Island, and is seen as a logical complement to their two North Island properties - both sought after destinations for discerning guests wanting exclusive accommodation, fine dining and onsite internationally acclaimed golf courses.
The Robertson family would be delighted to offer guests "an opportunity to experience the spectacular South Island of New Zealand", managing director Jay Robertson said.
Matakauri Lodge - described as a lakeside retreat - sits in a dramatic sub-alpine landscape, fringed by forest to one side and the waters of Lake Wakatipu on the other.
The lodge has sweeping views across the lake to the rugged peaks of the Remarkables range but, in spite of its wilderness location, is only 10km from the South Island resort town of Queenstown.
The surrounding region is renowned for its premium wine and food. It is also New Zealand’s premier winter sports destination, and a popular summertime holiday spot for walking and trekking, golfing, water sports, and adrenalin adventures.
Matakauri lodge - originally built in 2000 - was New Zealand’s first organic spa, and was named in Tatler’s 2008 'Top 101 Hotels of the World'.
Constructed in a contemporary New Zealand design, the strong simple forms of the lodge have been designed to minimise the visual impact on the landscape and maximise views of the natural location.
The lodge has accommodation in 11 luxurious suites, plus a stylish and spacious main lodge.
Three guest suites are located in the main lodge, and eight more in private cottages nestled in native forest and overlooking the lake. Each suite has a private porch, bedroom with sitting area and open fireplace, walk-in wardrobe and bathroom.
Facilities include a full-service luxury spa, fitness centre, outdoor infinity swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi and walking trails. While the Matakauri property does not have onsite golf facilities, Queenstown offers several high end golf courses.
Since the new owners acquired the existing property 12 months ago, Matakauri Lodge has been closed for extensive refurbishment.
The new interiors have been styled by New Zealand interior designer Virginia Fisher, whose signature contemporary casual style features in high-end lodges in New Zealand and overseas.
An emphasis on natural materials, warm colours and textures, reflects "the ruggedness that is very Queenstown", she says.
Fisher describes the lodge’s new style as "crisp and clean and full of natural light ... gutsy and contemporary .... a touch of glamour here and there."
Fine food & wine
British-born chef Dale Gartland, who has worked at Kauri Cliffs and The Farm, will head the Matakauri kitchen.
Gartland - who also has the role of group chef for the three lodges - has won accolades for his food, including Conde Nast Traveller (UK) Gold List ‘Best for Food’ in 2009 (The Farm) and 2010 (Kauri Cliffs).
The 31-year-old chef learned his classical French techniques working at a series of well-heeled English country hotels before moving on to Gidleigh Park Hotel - a Relais & Chateaux property where he worked under Michelin two-star chef Michael Caines - and then to Kauri Cliffs, New Zealand.
Gartland, who has shared his kitchen with celebrity guest chefs including Rick Stein, Peter Gordon, Neil Perry and Guillaume Brahimi, says Matakauri will offer a fresh tasting menu each day, and a choice of dinner courses.
While he doesn’t want to give away any secrets, the chef admits there will be a "simple and modern approach to New Zealand / European cuisine" and that he will remain committed to using the best regional and New Zealand produce - "letting the ingredients speak for themselves to give guests an honest taste of New Zealand".
"Finest local ingredients will remain the main inspiration for the new menus at Matakauri, where dishes will make full use of the local flavours and reflect the rustic character of the region and New Zealand," Gartland says.
The surrounding Central Otago region has an international reputation for its pinot noir wine, and the hot dry summer / cold winter climate also suits fruit growing, a wide variety of organic produce and boutique crops such as saffron.
Locally sourced lamb, berries, saffron, honey, cheese, fruits and Central Otago wines will feature in the menus, Gartland says.
Background: Kauri Cliffs / The Farm at Cape Kidnappers
Renowned New Zealand luxury lodges Kauri Cliffs overlooking the Bay of Islands, and The Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay, have received numerous accolades since opening in 2001 and 2007 respectively:
- Kauri Cliffs - #1 ‘Lodge/Resort in Australia, NZ and South Pacific’ Travel & Leisure (USA) 2009 World’s Best Awards
- The Farm at Cape Kidnappers - #2 ‘Lodge/Resort in Australia, NZ and South Pacific’ Travel & Leisure (USA) 2009 World’s Best Awards
- Kauri Cliffs - #17 in ‘Top 100 Hotels’ Travel & Leisure (USA) 2009 World’s Best Awards
- The Farm at Cape Kidnappers #21 in ‘Top 100 Hotels’ Travel & Leisure (USA) 2009 World’s Best Awards
- Kauri Cliffs - #1 ‘Lodge/Resort in Australia, NZ and South Pacific - Service’ Travel & Leisure (USA) 2010 World’s Best Awards
- The Farm at Cape Kidnappers - #2 ‘Lodge/Resort in Australia, NZ and South Pacific - Service’ Travel & Leisure (USA) 2010 World’s Best Awards
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