Queenstown New Zealand is the undisputed outdoor adventure capital of the Southern Hemisphere, and also home to some of the world’s most spectacular scenic beauty. Thanks to the cinematic power of Lord of the Rings, the natural wonders are no secret and with the recent opening of Relais & Châteaux property Matakauri Lodge, the latest offering on the already impressive New Zealand luxury lodge menu, Queenstown and the South Island of New Zealand are set to top any “must visit” lists of discerning travelers.
Matakauri Lodge is the newest addition to a growing family of stunning properties in New Zealand owned by New York hedge fund billionaire Julian Robertson and family.
Robertson’s first foray into New Zealand was an impressive debut when ten years ago he built and opened The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, home to a 22 suite lodge, a spa and an achingly beautiful golf course designed by David Harman, overlooking the Cavalli Islands. Next came The Farm at Cape Kidnappers in the North Island’s Hawke’s Bay wine region – a fabulous lodge built on a bucolic sheep and cattle property with views of the Pacific Ocean. Like Kauri Cliffs, the Cape Kidnappers property also features spectacular accommodation and lodge facilities, a spa and a world class golf course – this time by Tom Doak and dramatically perched above the sea on what resembles large fingers jutting out into the Pacific. A triumph of golf course architecture and exhilarating to play, Cape Kidnappers is rated Number 27 in the world by Golf Magazine, the world’s leading authority on the subject.
The last opening of Matakauri Lodge gives the Robertsons a trifecta – their first lodge on the South Island, and one that is on-par with and complements their two spectacular North Island properties.
Seven minutes from Queenstown and spectacularly situated on Lake Wakatipu, Matakauri Lodge was an existing lodge when Julian Robertson and his son Julian III “Jay” Robertson bought the property. However, the property underwent an extensive twelve month interior renovation under the Robertson family’s direction and remerged in August 2010 as a stunning new property, boasting generous lodge and dining facilities and eleven luxury suites, each boasting private terraces looking out to a dramatic lakeside and mountain view. It was soon welcomed as Relais & Châteaux’s sixth New Zealand member property.
The affable Jay Robertson manages all three lodges for the family and is based at Matakauri Lodge, welcoming guests from around the world and obviously revelling in sharing and showing off the delights of his adopted New Zealand home for the past seven years.
Acclaimed New Zealand designer Virginia Fisher was responsible for the interior makeover (she had also worked with the Robertsons on Kauri Cliffs) and has given the lodge a crisp and clean style, full of natural light and “a bit more gusty and contemporary in feel than its two sister properties in the North Island”, she states.
Fisher added, “at Matakauri there was no real historical design reference to adhere to, so I was able to follow my instincts, have some fun with colour and add a touch of glamour here and there, always keeping comfort at the forefront.
Natural materials reflect the ruggedness that is very Queenstown and expansive glass and bay windows feature in the main lodge and suites, taking full advantage of the gob smacking views.
Matakauri Lodge provides the perfect alpine lakeside retreat nestled in one of the world’s most serenely beautiful landscape settings, yet just a few minutes by car from all the attractions of Queenstown and the leisure activities this part of New Zealand’s South Island is renowned for.
While the Matakauri property does not have a golf course, like its two sister properties it offers luxury accommodation, superb food and wine, exemplary service and stunning panoramic views.
There are several excellent courses to play within easy reach such as Jack’s Point, the Hills, or Millbrook and the lodge staff are only to happy to arrange tee times. A range of outdoor pursuits from snow skiing or heli-skiing in winter to hiking and adrenalin sports are on the doorstep year round.
Food and wine are a highlight of a stay at Matakauri Lodge, as group executive chef Dale Gartland (ex- Kauri Cliffs, Cape Kidnappers as well as Gidleigh Park in the UK) personally tailors menus to guests’ tastes. With one of New Zealand’s top wine regions, Central Otago, just down the road, wines are well matched to each meal with Central Otago Pinot Noir, a stand-out of the lodge’s well stocked cellar.
Guest can choose from a range of dining spots for enjoying Dale Garland’s take on seasonal New Zealand produce, from the main lodge dining room to the cosy upstairs library, or in summer, the Remarkables Terrace with outdoor fireplace and unencumbered views of the lake and the Remarkables and Cecil Peaks mountain ranges.
The new lodge also offers a Day Spa, a state of the art fitness centre, sauna and an outdoor infinity pool.
Commenting on the recent lodge opening, Kauri Cliffs, Cape Kidnappers and Matakauri Lodge Managing Director Jay Robertson said, “we are delighted to be able to offer our guests the opportunity to experience the spectacular South Island of New Zealand at Matakauri Lodge and are truly excited about being able to offer our guest the ultimate New Zealand between our three lodges, all a bit different and in unique locations”.
For more information on Matakauri Lodge, please visit www.matakaurilodge.com.