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Hotel Highlights

  • Majestic alpine and lake views on cue
  • Warm but professional service ensure pampering
  • Set in New Zealand's adventure capital. Skiing, trekking and boating beckon
  • Every room boasts majestic views
  • Professional but warm service
  • Spa pampering or adventure aplenty, from trekking to skiing

Overview

In the shade of towering mountains and on the cusp of glittering Lake Wakatipu, Matakauri Lodge hotel boasts 11 luxurious rooms and close proximity to Queensland, the adventure capital of New Zealand. Sleek interiors and fresh cuisine complement alpine views in this sun-filled retreat, recognized for its flawless service.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Matakauri Lodge with us:

A gourmet picnic hamper for two

Facilities

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Need To Know

Rooms

11, including 10 suites.

Check–out

11am; check-in, 2pm, but both are flexible subject to availability.

Rates

Double rooms from $934.65 (NZD1,190), excluding tax at 15 per cent.

More details

Rates include breakfast, pre-dinner drinks with hors d'oeuvres, a three-course à la carte dinner, free minibar (excludes spirits and wines) and use of lodge facilities, including guest office, gym, Jacuzzi and sauna (excludes spa treatments).

Also

Matakauri's spa serves up a seductive menu of holistic, tailormade and temptingly named therapies, such as the Cocoon Bliss and Glacial Facial. For a uniquely Kiwi experience, the Pounamu (greenstone) Pebble Pedicure is our top tip. Babor and NZ's Evolu Botanical Skincare products are harnessed here, and naturally, both treatment rooms have gorgeous views – a beautifully soothing note with which to begin and end a session.

At the hotel

Gym; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen LCD TV, DVD player, iPod dock, minibar, Evolu toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

Located at each end of the lodge, outlying Deluxe Suites 7 or 9 will make you feel like you have Matakauri's mesmerising mountain and lake views all to yourself, with beds and baths positioned to make the most of them. To be honest, though, all the rooms here will send your jaw plummeting when you spy the va-va-voom vistas. You'll also be spoilt by the serenely stylish interiors, including fireplace-warmed sitting areas, walk-in wardrobes, oversized bath tubs and private decks.

Poolside

Matakauri's outdoor infinity pool will draw you in on balmy days. There's also a Jacuzzi and sauna to keep you in swimwear.

Packing tips

They don't call Queenstown, in the heart of the South Island, NZ's adventure capital because folk like to crochet. Bring kit for your sport of choice, whether skiing, sailing, cycling, trekking, golf or more high-octane thrills are your poison.

Also

A two-night minimum stay applies between 15 December 2013 and 31 March 2014.

Children

The lodge is quite an adult affair, but kids under five stay for free in existing beds. Extra beds for older children cost NZ$500–NZ$525 (plus tax) a night. Baby cribs are free for infants up to two years old and babysitting is also available.

Eco‐friendly

Matakauri uses energy-saving lighting and sources local, seasonal and organic food for its restaurant where possible, some of it grown on site.

Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

Executive chef Dale Gartland, originally from Shrewsbury in England, is a proponent of maintaining balance and stylish simplicity in the Modern European fare he prepares at welcoming restaurant the Dining Room. He views Matakauri as an extension of a guest's home, so you don't have to eat off the menu and can order tailormade dishes if you fancy something different. With a menu that changes daily, there is already ample variety, but Dale will happily source New Zealand’s finest seafood or game on request. He works with a sous chef and pastry chef and the team not only shines at dinner; they will get your day off to an impressive start, too. Mouth-watering dishes include truffle-flavoured risotto, blue cod from the Foveaux Strait and fillet of Hereford beef.

Hotel Bar

The bijou bar is located in the light-filled lobby area and seats about four people, but the restaurant is where most quaffing and sipping goes on. Pre-dinner drinks are served from around 6pm in the upper lounge – a chance for guests to gather and swap views on the views. Matakauri stocks most local Central Otago wines (the house wine), a region that is renowned for producing award-winning Pinot Noir and setting new international benchmarks in quality. If in doubt, wine choices will be expertly guided in the dining room and bar, and your palate preferences will be recalled by staff the next time you ask for a drink.

Last orders

The dining room kitchen closes at 9pm – after a day of adventuring, you probably won’t be up much later.

Room service

Available 7am–9.30pm, with a daily-changing menu mirroring what is served in the dining room. Chefs will try to accommodate your requests if you'd rather go off piste.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Smart, casual chic with a sporty spin is how it rolls here during the day; be as elegant as the cuisine at dinner.

Top table

Take a window table for breakfast and sharpen the senses with those crystal-clear views. Matakauri also excels at private dining: you can eat on your suite patio, in various cosy nooks around the lodge or down on the jetty at sunset.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

If you are in a Deluxe Suite with the bed positioned with a full-frontal view, you don’t even need to get out of bed. Just open your eyes, then take a deep breath before it’s taken away by the awe-inspiring view.
For those who prefer to stay close to home at Matakauri, kayaking, mountain biking, fishing and a personalised day tour of Lake Wakatipu on the 1930s luxury yacht are all at your doorstep. The restaurant can arrange a picnic and drinks for all excursions.

For guests who golf, there’s access to the private Hills Course, home to the the 2007 New Zealand Open, and the scenically blessed Jacks Point, on the other side of Lake Wakatipu. But for those seeking thrills and spills, pulses will race at the thought of what New Zealand’s adventure capital has to offer – skiing (and heli skiing), jetboating, bungy jumping, mountain biking (and heli biking), horseriding, helicopter flights, canyoning and rock climbing. The snowfields open from June 5 and close in October, with six fields within a comfortable drive from Queenstown; the closest being Coronet Peak.)

The Dart River is a must for soaking up the scenery – choose the Wilderness Safari over the Funyak Safari. The Shotover is more of a thrill ride – the kind that whirls you full throttle into a rock face, only to turn away at the last minute. You'll be on an adrenaline high for hours after a bungy jump, or try the Nevis Arc, the world’s highest swing – with six options, you can pick your poison.

Queenstown has developed a vast number of mountain bike trails, many of which are easily accessible from town, but to get the most out of your experience book a guided trip with Greg McIntyre of Fat Tyre. If you are on limited time, bag one of the heli trips for four to five hours or the full day.

Louisa 'Choppy' Patterson’s is a helicopter pilot and guide with the motto: 'Your itinerary is limited only by your imagination'. High praise has been given to the Milford Ultimate, which takes you over the Main Divide of the Southern Alps, Lake Te Anau and the famous Milford Track and the Sounds. Chill your champagne with ice from the glacier and have lunch in the mountains at a goldminer's cottage. Visit www.flynz.co.nz for an impressive choice of trips or contact Choppy for a tailored tour.

If you’ve never been to Paradise… it’s time to pack in as many spectacular lake and alpine views as you can and drive there. Grab your camera and coast from Matakauri to Glenorchy for wild views up the Dart Valley to the imposing Mt Earnslaw. After the small township of Glenorchy, Paradise awaits at the end of the road. As the sign says: 'Glenorchy - closer to Paradise than Queenstown'. The National Parks of Mount Aspiring and Fiordland offer some of New Zealand’s most scenic walking tracks.

The charm of Arrowtown is also a must – its stone buildings and cobblestone streets are beautifully preserved from its gold rush days. Even the cinema, Dorothy Browns, has character.

Local restaurants

Amisfield is the hallmark of chic regional dining and booking is essential. It’s both restaurant and winery and their wines are excellent. Choose from small place, daily specials or the 'Trust the Chef Men'.
There seems to be a French twist to the alpine village of Queenstown, with two eateries standing out. Les Alpes, with Anne-Marie and Serge Guilhaumou at the helm, covers patisserie, deli, wine cellar and restaurant. For breakfast try the pan au chocolate with almonds, the giant palmier or the more hearty eggs with mountain cheese – best with a chardonnay of course, according to Serge. And there’s Solero Vino (info@soleravino.co.nz), which is charming, intimate and unassuming and serves reliably good French-style fare.

Botswana Butchery (17 Marine Parade, Queenstown; +64 3 442 6994) is currently closed due to a fire but it will be worth a visit when it reopens in late November. It has earned a reputation for quality – yep, meat dishes – and its lighter menu options.

 

Local bars

For yet more perfect views, Eichardt’s (www.eichardtshotel.co.nz) delivers these and more from the charm of an old stone dwelling. The house bar has had a staunch presence since 1867 and sets a sophisticated tone in contemporary Queenstown. Surfaces to about knee-height are water-resistant due to the occasional tide that washes in higher than is traditionally comfortable. The menu dominates with fresh flavours featuring organic produce.

Local cafés

It's not a café, but for those who have a compulsion to peruse the supermarkets shelves when they travel internationally, the Mediterranean Market (www.mediterranean.co.nz) is where you’ll find a premium selection of New Zealand and international artisan produce, fresh produce, deli goods and cheeses, ideal for takeaways or picnics.

+ Enlarge
Shores of Lake Wakatipu

Matakauri Lodge

Farrycroft Row, 569 Glenorchy Road, Queenstown, South Island, 9348

A short drive north of Queenstown, on the winding shores of Lake Wakatipu, Matakauri Lodge is set amid lush forest with striking mountain views.

Planes

Fly into Queenstown Airport (www.queenstownairport.co.nz) on NZ's South Island, approximately 20 minutes' drive from Matakauri. Air New Zealand, Jetstar and Qantas operate daily flights from major domestic cities Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch, with Pacific Blue offering twice-weekly services. Direct international services are also available from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in Australia.

Automobiles

It's just a seven minute drive from downtown Queenstown to the lodge if you've picked up your own wheels (the airport offers hire-car facilities). Parking is free at Matakauri.

Other

The lodge can arrange helicopter transfers, price on request, and can advise on charter flights.

Reviews

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Matakauri Lodge - Queenstown - New Zealand

Anonymous review

by Zoë Foster , Beauty queen

As someone incredibly wise and well-liked (probably me) once said, ‘You have to go to Queenstown.’ Most people don’t know the second half of the sentence is, ‘And make sure you do it properly.’ Properly, we discover, is Matakauri Lodge. Mr Smith and I arrive at the boutique luxury retreat at 9pm after driving for what seems like 468 hours, and valiantly electing not…
Read more

Matakauri Lodge

Anonymous review by Zoë Foster, Beauty queen

As someone incredibly wise and well-liked (probably me) once said, ‘You have to go to Queenstown.’ Most people don’t know the second half of the sentence is, ‘And make sure you do it properly.’

Properly, we discover, is Matakauri Lodge.

Mr Smith and I arrive at the boutique luxury retreat at 9pm after driving for what seems like 468 hours, and valiantly electing not to purchase crisps at the petrol station so as to maintain our (titanic) appetites. We share a deep, grateful sigh as we pull up, the kind that comes when you know a weekend of enormous robes the colour of celebrity teeth and pre-dinner scotch awaits. A smiling angel in fetching white slacks manifests at the top of the steps leading down to the lodge, and greets us by name. And so it begins.

The angel (Claire) kindly indulges us as we stumble from the car and stare at what lies before us. Our glazed eyes can barely comprehend the brain-bending view: dense pines cuddle the sides of glassy Lake Wakatipu, the sun (yes, sun – southern New Zealand in January has a penchant for very late nightfall) illuminates the formidable Cecil and Walter Peaks, and shadows of soft, cartoon-shaped clouds glide across the Remarkables range. Risking our reputation as totally suave luxury cats, we quietly request a photo.

Jittery with excitement – and low blood-sugar levels – we devilishly decide to head straight to dinner, until Claire artfully tells us there is a dinner jacket dress code. To the room! She leads us through the neat grounds to our Deluxe Suite, one of six that are detached from the main lodge. It sits above a wild drop to the lake, directly facing Cecil Peak.

The suite instantly reminds me how many stars (13 or so) I am dealing with at Matakauri Lodge, and that contemporary design needn’t be code for clinical. To my enchantment, I find myself in one of the chic interior design magazines I optimistically buy each month. Bursts of orange and burnt yellow against muted greys, creams and white give the suite a fresh feel, and the layered textures, cushions and rugs inject warmth. It’s cosy but uncluttered. And so smart. Mr Smith is very impressed by the massive black TV hidden behind a painting and the switch-operated fireplace; I like the separate toilet (a small but critical point when ensuring a truly romantic weekend).

Also, there is a bath, if by ‘bath’ I mean ‘magical aquatic recreation area’. This tub is set in a lavish double bathroom, perched against a window offering vistas of one of the most breathtaking natural landscapes either of us has ever witnessed. Said tub will later become the scene of an indulgent two-hour soak and a bottle of Moët & Chandon, but that’s its fault. It was asking for it.

Back in the small, elegant lobby, which boasts the kind of view hotel websites have to doctor to make look that good, numerous and attractive young staff float around politely. We are informed we’ve been given the library to dine in, a cosy room upstairs from the main dining area and with a very romantic feel. Delightful! I inhale moreish, miniature Japanese tempura prawns with tapenade, while Mr Smith sinks his teeth into butter-soft pork belly and local fish. We slurp on dazzling Otago pinot noir, all the while fretting that we should’ve tried the chardonnay or pinot gris – it’s terrifying choosing The Right Wine when you are in one of the world’s best-known and most impressive wine regions. Not surprisingly, staff members know their grapes, and together we (OK, they) make an excellent choice.

Ask for pancakes at breakfast if they’re not on the menu; when I do the following morning I’m rewarded with perhaps the finest blueberry hotcakes in modern history. Lunch is a delicious array of choose-your-ingredients sandwich and salads – it sounds modest, and it is, but the food works hard and is thoughtfully created. And there is something marvelously decadent about eating a cheese and chutney toastie in such a luxurious setting and with such a phenomenal view. (Accompanied by a glass of irresistible Amisfield riesling, of course.)

Despite being spectacularly happy lazing about our lakeside home, we figure we should see the town before we become floppy, hopeless post-massage victims, and drive the five minutes into Queenstown.

Although it’s summer (a scorching 15 degrees; it’s all relative), the town is busy hosting masses of bungy-jumpers and river-rafters, and expertly hiding all of its hip bars and eateries in tiny alleys. We have dinner at the Bunker after hearing rave reviews from gastro-snobs. It is a triumph, especially the bar upstairs, and more specifically its Old Fashioned.

We watch the choppy lake lap at the pier wall and have a coffee and world famous cheesy roll at Vesta, because one cannot eat enough toast and cheese in NZ, then head back to the hotel for deep-tissue massages. The spa, gym and pool are modest, but like the menus and the lobby, size is irrelevant when the service is exceptional. And it is: we emerge from our rooms (there is no couples room, which is sad until we realise we’ve become a couple who prefers massages in couple’s rooms, and then it becomes embarrassing) dazed and wiping drool from our mouths. Susan, my therapist, is masterful. Definitely ask for her.

Despite having only opened in August 2010, as the younger sister of the Farm at Cape Kidnappers and the Lodge at Kauri Cliffs (both consistently perched at the top of Condé Nast and Travel + Leisure’s ‘World’s Best’ lists), we don’t expect to find many teething problems, and we don’t. My only constructive piece of criticism is that an air conditioner in the bedroom wouldn’t go astray.

Matakauri Lodge excels at stealth wealth, bursting with convivial staff, terrific food and discrete luxury. And as there are only 11 rooms, it felt incredibly private. We rarely see other guests, and despite our room being under another, we don’t hear them either.

People come to Queenstown for the movie-set style views. This isn’t news. But you do not find views like this in town – uninterrupted, expansive, lake-edge vistas complemented by authentic serenity. You arrive and feel an irrational need to write a novel, or some terribly clichéd poetry. It is awesome, in the true sense of the word.

I’ve resented the eerie, disorienting 11pm New Zealand nightfall my entire time here, but at Matakauri Lodge I find myself clinging to daylight like a filthy wretch clinging to her last shiny coin. Or cheese toastie.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Matakauri Lodge from Smith members

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