Superb design which is very pleasing to the eye. (I felt like sitting still in the living room and just appreciating the sheer quality and the genius with which it was put together. every detail I focused in on was rewarding in its quality and depth.) The phenomenal views of Matakauri. And underneath it all a breathtaking attention to detail with the aim of making your life easy. Need to turn the light off? You find the switch in the first place you look. Want to sit on the deck - hugely comfortable seat of the highest quality. Heading for the loo in the middle of the night? A low light on a proximity sensor comes awake so you don't have to feel your way. I simply could not fault the property. Just when we thought we'd seen it all in Queenstown, this place has taken it to a new level.
And the main lodge has bedded itself in very well. Management and staff are smooth, relaxed, attentive, intelligent. No jackets required for dinner for a while now. And I now do agree with Jay - this is the finest food in Queenstown.
Fantastic. With properties like this and service levels like that, luxury New Zealand has another one to be really proud of.
.....and before this....
When Matakauri Lodge last changed hands a few years ago, I thought "finally". Someone's going to get it right. The place had been blessed with some good architecture and superb views but kept falling over in service terms.
Anyway, we tried it out and it didn't work.
So when Julian Robertson bought it, we watched, and tried it, with great interest. As the first offering of the Robertson 'empire' (including Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers) in an established high-end destination, it would expose them to compeition for the first time. And also as the first offering without a golf course, it would need to stand on its merits as a lodge. Up against Eichardts and the Spire, there was some good competition in town. With Blanket Bay being stuck at the end of a long 'no exit' road in the middle of nowhere, (and therefore as much a part of the Queenstown scene as Wanaka is) there was no real competition in the view department.
We had a look, and the decor was excellent. We had a try, and everything seemed to work well. We then put clients in and the feedback has been excellent. So Queenstown now has a lodge close to town with phenomenal views and excellent decor and service.
Our verdict - if you want a lodge with lovely views, service and privacy near Queenstown - look no further. If you want something in town (walk to shops, restaurants, cafes), then it's Eichardts and The Spire.
If you want one of the best photographs from your bathtub in New Zealand, then it's Matakauri!