New Zealand is justifiably famous for its luxury lodges. Superb service, superb locations, superb dining and superb facilities have their place. But is it right to spend every night of your time in New Zealand in a luxury lodge? Or even in luxury accommodation? My answer - as you've probably worked out by now - is "of course not".
Typically our clients will spend their time at a mix of luxury lodges, luxury villas, luxury B&Bs, and even tented camps or shearers quarters. Some of our highest end clients with household names have particularly enjoyed under-the-radar private houses and in one case we even re-activated an outdoors camp which would probably sit at the 2-star level. (the 6-star location and absolute isolation was what they were after)
Also, those luxury lodges can have significantly different atmospheres and service styles and in my experience, some styles don't work with some personalities. So a specific luxury lodge might be wrong for you whereas another luxury lodge might give you one of your warmest memories ever. They can go from a 20+ room "uber lodge" with loads of staff and chefs to a delightful owner-operated 3-room gem which has attracted some of the highest praise we have seen. But is that 3-room place right for everyone? Of course not.
And, based on our experience of what our clients have been asking for, for the last twenty years - we have now developed our own expedition camp experience. The first of several in the pipeline. We've been trialling these this last year and are ready now to unleash the first of them on people! The idea here is total privacy in a very special place looked after by special people and doing special things. They are experience-led rather than accommodation-led.
However, none of that should detract from the excellence of certain luxury lodges - they simply complement a high quality line-up with different options - and the lodge above, Wharekauhau, is one we highly recommend if you love rural indulgence and have three days to spare in the lower North Island.
Read more in these associated articles: