Sunday, March 16, 2014

Matakauri Lodge: I beat you to it, Wills and Kate

So, in the papers this morning, the tabloid Herald on Sunday got all excited about revealing where Prince William and Kate are going to stay for their night in Queenstown next month, while the broadsheet Sunday Star-Times put a teaser on the front page and wrote about it inside in great detail but "chose not to name" the lodge after disdainfully noting that the Daily Mail had "inadvertently identified the luxury lodge" and mentioning security concerns. Which would be all very proper and responsible if - by sheer coincidence, obviously - they hadn't run a two-page travel story about Matakauri Lodge in their Escape section.
I could have written that. In fact, I did, for the HoS, after staying there in 2006 (before an ownership change and some alterations, but it's still essentially the same place). I reckon it's got the best views of any hotel in the area - yes, even including Blanket Bay, where *cough* I've also stayed. Why? Absolutely the views. Blanket Bay is brilliant, but Matakauri has the advantage of being perched on a cliff above Lake Wakatipu, just 10 minutes out of Queenstown but feeling miles away, with glorious views across the water to the Humboldt Ranges, the Remarkables also within sight, and the only sign of human habitation Walter Peak Station across the lake.
There's also the dear old Earnslaw fussing back and forth, but she's an asset to any scene; and at the beginning and end of the day a handful of little planes doing the Milford Sound run, looking ridiculously tiny against that magnificent jagged rocky backdrop.
You can see all of this glory from everywhere: dining room, spa, pool of course, but also, in my slate, schist and timber villa, from the terrace outside, from the living room, the bed and even the bath. Now that's a real treat, to lie back with bubbles popping under your chin and look out on all that natural splendour.
If it had been summer, I could have slid open the window for real connection; alternatively, had it been winter, I could have put on my fluffy robe and gone to sip wine in front of the log fire. As it was, I had to content myself with a massage and salty foot scrub there instead, before heading to the dining room for something delicious enough to drag my attention away from the view. It's a real treat to stay at Matakauri Lodge - and I say that without having seen the top-of-the-range Owner's Cottage the royals are to have. Wills and Kate are going to love it.

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