Largest ever show home opens at Queenstown’s Millbrook Resort

The grandest and most luxurious show home ever built by the developers of Queenstown’s Millbrook Resort is opening its doors this weekend.

Residences on Dalgleish is a collection of five magnificent homes designed by award-winning Mason & Wales Architects, fronting the 4th and overlooking the 7th fairways of the Coronet Nine, bathed in year-round sunshine and with outstanding mountain views.

And while debate rages around whether New Zealand’s property market is going up or down, sales at the high-end golf and lifestyle resort appear to indicate a healthy appetite for homes at the highest end of the spectrum.

The new 405m2 show home is on the market for $5.765million fully furnished — of the different designs available two have already sold while another is under contract.

Millbrook Resort Director of Property and Development Ben O’Malley says sales have been “running hot” since lockdown, adding up to over $15 million in confirmed sales and another $10 million under contract.

“We’re seeing an upswing in buyers from Auckland where there appears to be a mindset that if they’re not going to be travelling, then they’re keen to invest in Queenstown property and enjoy the lifestyle that Millbrook and its surrounds have to offer,” he says.

“It was a new venture for us to build home and land packages of this size, but we were confident that there was a market for larger homes ready to move into. Sales to date vindicate us taking that opportunity.”

The five-home development is made up of two distinct home designs known as the Stirling (show home) and the Braemar which sit on sites averaging around 1,200m2.

Spread over four distinct pavilions, clad in different yet complementary materials including schist stone, glass, timber, steel and slate, the Stirling show home impresses from the outset.

Steel and glass entry doors open up to a spacious entry lobby where a curved stone wall bathed in uplights connects living and sleeping pavilions.

A large wine room has pride of place, and the entrance to the living area is flanked by a sumptuously-decorated semi-circular media room to one side and an office with built in desk, ultra-fast broadband and expansive storage opposite.

The living pavilion is a symphony of light and height, a contemporary interpretation of a Central Otago barn with rich stained soaring cedar ceilings, steel feature trusses and plaster finished walls.

A striking kitchen and scullery with integrated appliances, designed by Rachel Barnes of Ingrid Geldof Design, takes pride of place in the heart of the home, while a steel feature fireplace invites owners and guests to sit back and relax.

The space opens out to three separate terraces to the east, north and west, and a covered loggia with Louvretech roofing features a built-in fire, BBQ and rangehood for the ultimate in outdoor entertaining.

Each of the two-bedroom pavilions boasts a master bedroom and an additional bedroom, perfect for two families buying a holiday home together. All four bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms with a range of freestanding or built-in baths, double or single showers, double basins and some with large dressing rooms. They too have access to outdoor terraces or the loggia, capturing the best of the sun and views at different times of the day.

Another pavilion houses garaging with ample space for two cars and a golf cart, while custom-built ski racks, a drying room and loft storage space means there is plenty of room for holiday sports equipment.

With different bedding configurations available, the show home can very comfortably sleep up to 8 people, all on one level.

Interior designer Roz Hamilton has crafted a stunning aesthetic that is moody and dramatic, with sophisticated use of steel and timber, softened with luxurious furnishings.

Millbrook Resort’s most recent development was the eight-home neighbourhood called The Frontiers. The first four homes are finished and the remaining four are close to completion. Only one of the eight is still for sale.

“We are thrilled with the show home where our design team has collaborated extremely well to achieve what is our most stunning show home to date,” says Mr O’Malley.

“Bamford McLeod Construction has crafted these homes to very high standards and we look forward to people viewing this magnificent property.”

Read More

Holiday Inn Express opens first NZ hotel in Queenstown

Holiday Inn Express opens first NZ hotel in Queenstown

Pro-invest Group is set to launch its first hotel in New Zealand with its doors opening to guests in Queenstown for school holidays and the start of the ski season.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Queenstown is a 227-room hotel, on the corner of Stanley and Sydney Streets in Queenstown’s centre. It officially opens to guests on Friday 10 July.

The hotel opening is being seen as a massive ‘shot in the arm’ for the beleaguered Queenstown tourism industry and a mark of faith in the resurgence of domestic and future international visitors.

The hotel’s room offering includes spacious suites – a Holiday Inn Express ‘first’ in New Zealand and Australia – in addition to superior rooms, which provide breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range.

Ronald Barrott, Pro-invest Group Chief Executive Officer, said the Group was excited to launch a new product at its first New Zealand property and expected strong demand.

“We are committed to expanding the Holiday Inn Express brand in New Zealand and we’re confident that Queenstown’s reputation as premier destination makes it the ideal place to start,” he said.

“Holiday Inn Express & Suites Queenstown has a stylish vibe, complete with an outdoor lounge with firepit. It’s also equipped with the smart, simple rooms, and features business and leisure travellers know and love.

“With school holidays approaching, the ski season underway and New Zealand’s COVID-19 travel restrictions lifted, we are anticipating that Queenstown and our latest hotel will be a popular destination for many holidaymakers.

“It provides easy access to popular ski destinations of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona and Treble Cone, while popular tourist attractions such as the Skyline gondola and the town’s dining precinct are on your doorstep. Queenstown is the home of adventure and also the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Milford Sound.

“The hotel’s location will also appeal to corporate and business travellers and makes for an ideal events and convention venue, as it’s only a short distance from the CBD.

“We are pleased to contribute to Queenstown’s vibrancy with another high-quality hotel offering.”

The hotel is equipped with all the features the Holiday Inn Express brand has become renowned for including an Express Start breakfast, power showers, black-out blinds, high-quality bedding with a choice of pillows and uncapped Wi-Fi.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Queenstown also features a fitness room, sauna, two flexible meeting rooms, self-serve laundry, dry room, onsite parking and a free business centre.

The hotel’s architecture – designed by local architectural practice McAuliffe Stevens (MSRA) – combines abstract elements representing ice and erratic rock forms to pay homage to the hotel’s landscape history and achieve a design that fits with the surrounding urban environment.

The hotel’s General Manager, Jason Sabin, said his team was looking forward to showcasing what smart, simple travel is all about.

“Our rooms provide all the quality conveniences that make you feel at home, even when you’re away,” he said.

“We are proud of our sustainability-focused facilities and initiatives, such as the carpets throughout the building which are made from recycled fishing nets.”

Mr Barrott also highlighted other initiatives.

“From a design perspective for instance, all air leaving the hotel passes through a heat recovery plant. This extracts the energy from air coming from the hotel’s bathrooms and other areas and transfers that energy, whether it’s heat in winter or cooling in summer, to the incoming fresh air. The results are a substantial reduction in energy used to pre-treat the incoming air for the hotel ventilation,” he said.

“We are also excited to continue rolling out IHG’s flagship sustainability initiative, A Greener Stay, which Pro-invest in collaboration with IHG introduced to the APAC region back in 2017.  A Greener Stay allows guests to take part in conserving the environment through opt out of housekeeping services should they stay two or more nights, resulting in energy and water savings. As an added reward, guests who choose the opt-out receive up to 500 IHG Rewards Club points per night.

“As a group, Pro-invest is committed to developing, operating and managing its hotel portfolio in a sustainable manner and continuously improve on its ESG strategies wherever feasible.

“We look forward to welcoming locals looking for a staycation, travelers exploring the region from all over New Zealand and – circumstances permitting – from overseas very shortly.”

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Queenstown is the first and only hotel under the Holiday Inn Express brand in New Zealand to date. It is the sixth Holiday Inn Express property since 2016 to be opened by Pro-invest Group, following the launch of Sydney Macquarie Park, Brisbane, Adelaide, Newcastle and Melbourne Southbank hotels in Australia.

Pro-invest Group has plans for additional New Zealand properties.

“We have acquired a prime site in Auckland on the North Island to help continue the Group’s international growth in the coming years,” Mr Barrott said.

“This site will become New Zealand’s second Holiday Inn Express hotel and Pro-invest and New Zealand’s first voco hotel in 2021.”

The voco Hotels brand is a lifestyle-orientated brand by the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).

Pro-invest Group develops and operates Holiday Inn Express and voco hotels in Australia and New Zealand under a franchise agreement with IHG.

Read More

From fire to water – Tekapo Springs celebrates 12th anniversary with community event and Australian bushfire family offer 

From fire to water – Tekapo Springs celebrates 12th anniversary with community event and Australian bushfire family offer 

A multi-award-winning Tekapo tourism operation business is celebrating 12 years in business with the launch of new attractions and a very special Australian bushfire relief package.

The horror stories that came out of the bushfire tragedy prompted Tekapo Springs to reach out to an Australian family that’s ‘lost everything’ with a collaborative package to take them from the fire-ravaged region to the peace and tranquillity of Tekapo.

The family has yet to be told, but their dream holiday will include return flights to Christchurch with Air New Zealand, a five-night accommodation package including Accor Hotels’ Peppers Bluewater hotel in Tekapo and a rental car from Thrifty.

Tekapo Springs has donated the return flights and activities at their complex, including the hot pools, day spa treatments and a tour with Tekapo Star Gazing.

Tekapo Jet, Mackenzie Alpine Horse Trekking, Christchurch Adventure Park, Christchurch Tramway Restaurant, Hassle Free Tours – Christchurch Hop On Hop Off Tour, KJet Queenstown and Ziptrek Ecotours have also offered activities.

Tekapo Springs’ sales and marketing manager Andy Murray says they’re “thrilled” with the response so far.

“We’re celebrating 12 years of having built a fantastic business in Tekapo so thought it was time to give back to our local and wider community,” he says.

“We know after having talked to Australian visitors who’ve lived through the fires just how much they appreciate getting away from it all, so we came up with this gorgeous family package. Along with the other businesses that have given so generously, we can’t wait to host them.”

The Australian relief package was announced this week as Tekapo Springs officially launched its fun new summer activities, the Jumpernaut and Aqua Drop waterslide.

Tekapo Springs was founded by Karl Burtscher, who still owns the company. It developed over the years to become a multi-award-winning, world-renowned and year-round tourism attraction featuring three hot pools, two cooler pools and an aqua play area, a day spa, a café and bar, steam and sauna rooms, unique stargazing products, and an ice rink and snow tube park.

It operates 364 days a year, employs up to 50 people and welcomes around 150,000 people a year.

“I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved,” says Karl. “We’ve had an awesome summer as domestic tourism in New Zealand has been really strong, so we celebrated by having some fun, acknowledging our 12thbirthday milestone and giving back in the best way we can to our friends in Australia who’re having a hard time.”

Karl thanked the Albury Ice Hockey Club (now called Mackenzie Ice Hockey Club) as without their support and allowing the sale of the land, the Tekapo Springs complex of today would not exist.

“I also want to say a huge ‘thank you’ the local Tekapo and the wider Mackenzie community as without their support this would not have been possible,” he says.

Mackenzie district Mayor Graham Smith attended the birthday celebration along with Canterbury Cricket stars Chad Bowes and Cam Fletcher. The Mayor got into the spirit of things by racing the young cricketers on the Jumpernaut followed by a speed trial on the Aqua Drop, where speeds of 41km per hour were reached.

Read More

Sudima Hotels to Open New Property in Queenstown’s Five Mile Precinct

Sudima Hotels to Open New Property in Queenstown’s Five Mile Precinct

One of New Zealand’s most sought-after tourism and leisure hotspots is getting a brand-new hotel to meet increasing demand for high quality accommodation in Queenstown.

The 4.5-star hotel at Queenstown’s popular Five Mile precinct, set to open in the 2021-22 summer season, will operate as Sudima Queenstown and add to Sudima Hotels’ current portfolio of four hotels (Auckland Airport, Rotorua, Christchurch City and Christchurch Airport) and two more due to open in 2020-21, Auckland City and Kaikōura.

The property is owned by Clearmont Group, developer of the mixed-use Five Mile retail and business centre. Director Craig Greenwood says that after over four years in the planning they’re “delighted” construction has started on the signature four-storey ‘Armadillo’ building which completes the entrance to the Five Mile centre.

“In choosing a hotel operator we felt we needed a brand which delivered a quality experience at an affordable price, and we believe Sudima Hotels fulfils these brand values,” he says. “The hotel will also have a conference centre, meeting a need identified by our business customers, and there will be a further 2700m2 of retail on the ground floor.”

The building was designed by Queenstown’s JCY Architects director Richard Chambers and his team, inspired by the rugged geological strata of the area and developed in close collaboration with Clearmont Group and Sudima Hotels.

“The building will complete the retail loop of the centre with a lobby on the ground floor accessing the hotel above. The palette of materials developed from previous buildings on the site includes weathering steel, warm timber-like tones on the upper levels and board-marked concrete panels with timber soffits.”

Construction by Naylor Love began earlier this month, with the company’s regional manager Greg Boland saying they were proud to have worked with Five Mile from the start of the development.

“The design team has put a lot of time into making sure that the new hotel ties in with the look and feel of the rest of the development, and we’re looking forward to delivering a stunning building that fulfils their vision,” he says.

Sudima Queenstown at Five Mile is close to Queenstown Airport, major ski fields and main routes north and south. The hotel will feature 120 guest rooms (king, twin and family), a restaurant and bar with alfresco dining, four meeting and conference rooms and ski storage. The décor will have natural finishes throughout to complement the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Sudima Hotels is an award-winning leader in the New Zealand accommodation and hospitality sector. Last year it won three New Zealand Tourism Awards, taking home the Supreme Tourism Award, along with the Environmental and Employer of Choice awards.

Sudima Queenstown is set to open as a single-use plastic free property, built to a standard that will enable certification to carboNZero status as soon as possible. This will further bolster Sudima Hotels’ reputation as a leader in sustainability, diversity and accessibility.

Sudima Hotels CEO Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala says, “We’re thrilled to be announcing a new property in Queenstown, and proud to be chosen by the Clearmont Group as their hotel partner as they further augment the already successful Five Mile precinct.

“We set out to provide exceptional customer service in a welcoming and unpretentious manner and strive to be industry leaders in social and environmental responsibility. We look forward to progressing our mission and pushing ourselves forward with the opening of two new hotels this year and Queenstown a couple of summers from now.”

About Sudima Hotels

Sudima Hotels is a New Zealand hotel brand that is passionate about and committed to delivering environmentally friendly and accessible hotels in New Zealand. It is an industry leader in setting sustainability benchmarks, having achieved the first carboNZero certification for a New Zealand hotel, and initiating a movement within its group of hotels to become single-use plastic free by 2020. All its hotels are accessible and have been rated between Bronze and Platinum for accessibility by Be. Lab.

Underpinned by strong values that centre on caring, doing the right thing and working together, Sudima Hotels focuses on helping guests make the most of their day. Both corporate and leisure travellers will feel welcome and be greeted with a smile at Sudima Hotels.

Sudima Hotels current locations include Auckland Airport, Rotorua, Christchurch Airport and Christchurch City. It has hotels under development in Kaikōura, Auckland City and Queenstown.

Sudima Hotels is owned and managed by Auckland-based entrepreneur and property investor Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala.

Read More

Outstanding Wine Experience On Offer At Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa

A stay at Central Otago’s newest luxury lodge would not be complete without an outstanding wine experience.

And that’s exactly what’s on offer at Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa, nestled among the vines in the region’s founding winery.

As Central Otago’s pioneering winery, Gibbston Valley has a deep history of winery excellence and land guardianship, reinforced in recent years with its standing as a BioGro certified organic vineyard, and BioGro certified organic winery.

Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa, featuring 24 villas, a striking central lodge building and separate spa, opens later this month and offers the ultimate in relaxed luxury, fine wine, culinary excellence and 5-star personal service.

Winemaker Christopher Keys says the Lodge & Spa’s Essential Wine Experience is the perfect opportunity for guests to get up close to what the winery team does.

“At the Winery everything is hand-tendered and made, from vine to fruit to wine,” he says.

“By the time each bottle makes it to the table, there are endless stories encapsulated in every glass.  People, place and seasons are captured in our wines, so the Essential Wine Experience is a fantastic way to unravel this, bringing our wines, our people, land and story to life.”

The half-day educational experience, exclusive to Lodge guests, winds through the working core of Gibbston Valley for a behind-the-scenes view of its operation. Sights and smells turn into tastes and chats with winemakers and chefs.

Leaving the sunlight behind to enter New Zealand’s largest wine cave, Christopher says there’s a “sensory change” as guests pass into its depths.

“There’s nothing else like it,” he says. “The atmosphere is peaceful and contemplative – just you and hundreds of barrels of Pinot Noir lining the walls.”

Guests then enjoy an entertaining cinema experience with the showing of Bud to Bottle – a short film of the winegrowing process – in the Lodge’s private wine education theatre.

“It’s a visually spectacular piece that perfectly captures the annual cycle of winemaking,” says Christopher. “Our idea is to satisfy those who are curious about the essence of winemaking.”

The film is followed by a tasting session of Gibbston Valley’s premium and Single Vineyard releases, led by an experienced winemaker.

The experience ends as it should, with food, wine and conversation at the at the Lodge Restaurant. Executive Chef Anthony Gradiska and his team will delight in preparing a convivial lunch featuring seasonal produce from the winery’s organic gardens, expertly paired with wines.

The Lodge Concierge will be available to advise guests on additional customised experiences, such as a guided helicopter trip to understand the ‘ins and outs’ of making Gibbston Valley wines from above. The helicopter experience will stop at all the Winery’s major vineyards, as well as additional spots to catch some spectacular views.

For further information and bookings go to gibbstonvalleylodgeandspa.com

Read More

Gibbston valley opens new luxury spa with wine on the menu

Gibbston valley opens new luxury spa with wine on the menu

When Gibbston Valley Winery opens its new 5-star luxury lodge this month, a standout feature will be the luxurious private spa and – fittingly – its range of vinotherapy treatments.

Part of the Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa development near Queenstown, the Spa will offer guests a luxurious retreat for health, beauty and well-being and the unique opportunity to connect with the land and winery on a whole new level.

Nestled within the breathtakingly beautiful grounds of Gibbston Valley Winery’s 1000-acre estate and a few minutes’ walk from the new accommodation villas, the standalone spa building features three private treatment rooms.

Experienced therapists will offer a range of treatments to suit any personal indulgence, including vinotherapy face and body therapies using different parts of the grape and vine to benefit the skin.

Gibbston Valley Winery CEO Greg Hunt is thrilled with the innovative treatments on offer at the new spa.

“Unmitigated wine immersion is central to what we want guests to encounter here at the Lodge & Spa – a weekend full of unique, indulgent, and engaging experiences that can’t be found anywhere else in Queenstown,” says Greg.

“So quite naturally incorporating wine elements into our spa treatments enables us to offer guests a chance to embrace the winery and spa experience in a very special way.”

Vinotherapy treatments include the TheraVine™ Luxurious Pinotage & Lime Salt Scrub, a full-body exfoliation that harnesses grape extracts, mineral salts and a citrus infusion to reveal silky, rejuvenated skin, and the Aromavine™ Uplifting Massage where a 100% natural blend of grapeseed, clary sage, rose and jasmine oils will leave guests feeling equal parts relaxed and invigorated.

Other signature treatments include a pampering massage using locally sourced Greenstone and Quartz, a Mud-Detox wrap where warm clay is applied in a full body envelope to draw out toxins, or a variety of tailored packages for individual or couple indulgences.

For total relaxation, guests can immerse themselves in one of two open-air hot tubs nestled into the hillside behind the Spa, offering an outdoor bathing experience with uninterrupted views of Central Otago’s ruggedly charismatic landscape.

Those who like to ‘sweat it out’ will enjoy the intimate yet well-appointed gym inside the spa building. Equipped with state-of cardio machines, free weights and a private all-hours access the gym provides a secure and tranquil place for guests to workout.

At the helm of the Spa is the newly appointed Spa Manager Frances Shirley. With over twelve years’ experience in massage therapy and spa management, UK-born Shirley is a trained beauty and massage therapist. She brings with her a breadth of skill and knowledge gained from previous roles at high-end luxury spas, including locally Matakauri Lodge and Hilton Queenstown.

“The aim of the new Spa is to create a calm, trusting and kind atmosphere for our guests that extends from the treatment rooms all the way back to their villa. Our therapists are intuitive, enthusiastic and highly trained offering tailored treatments and a wealth of knowledge to ensure every guest has a personalised and relaxing experience,” says Frances.

Catering to guests of Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa, the Spa will be opening alongside the landmark Lodge and twenty-four private villas this month. For Spa information and bookings please visit: https://www.gibbstonvalleylodgeandspa.com/spa/

Read More

Sustainability at the Heart of New Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa

Central Otago’s new luxury lodge will have sustainability at its heart when it opens its door later this year.

Located amongst the vines of Central Otago’s founding winery, the Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa will offer the ultimate in relaxed luxury, fine wine, culinary excellence and 5-star personal service.

Every element of its operation has been put under the microscope so it ‘walks the talk’ on initiatives that do far more than pay lip service to sustainability. And it has high standards to live up to, being set amongst a BioGro certified organic vineyard, and BioGro certified organic winery.

Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa sustainability practices cover everything from in-room recycling bins to refillable glass milk bottles and breakfast spreads served in ramekins and refillable jars. Villa bathrooms will have bamboo toothbrushes, and still and sparkling water will be ‘on tap’ in the Lodge with reusable bottles supplied.

Nitty-gritty detail extends to even the smallest supplies. Guests won’t find straws, sugar packets, tea bags or individually-wrapped mints anywhere.

Support for the local artisan economy comes from using the Queenstown Soap Company for in-room soaps, and liquid soaps and lotions are from Healthpak’s Forest and Bird range, where a percentage of profits go to conservation group Forest and Bird.

Pillows, mattress toppers and duvets made with recycled plastic come from Kiwi company Vendella, which plants thousands of native trees throughout the country each year.

EcoWise environmentally conscious cleaning products will do all the dirty work required, while NZ social enterprise company For The Better Good provides bottles made from plants and plants native seedlings for each villa room turnover.

Also forging ahead with a range of sustainability initiatives is Executive Chef Anthony Gradiska and his team. They already raise their own seeds in an onsite glasshouse and have established gardens near the winery kitchen, but are now taking sustainability to the next level.

A new fruit orchard has been planted in a sheltered spot renowned for its microclimate, where fig and feijoa trees will thrive alongside a new berry grove.

Watercress will grow in waterways running between the Lodge’s 24 guest villas, and composting, developing worm farms and giving waste products to the farmer next door for his pigs have become part-and-parcel of how the kitchen team operates.

Chef Gradiska put blood, sweat and tears into building the new gardens, constructing terraces from recycled pallets with the assistance of restaurant employee Cristian Astudillo.

Astudillo, with a background in agricultural engineering, biodynamics and organics, designed the terraces to ensure soil nutrients were retained.

The driving force behind the new Lodge & Spa’s sustainability focus is Gibbston Valley Operations Manager, Donna Gradiska, who has been with the company for just over two years.

With a 20-year-plus background in the tourism and hospitality industry, including managerial roles at five-star resorts and hotels and luxury super-yachts, she is “thrilled” to see her visions realised.

“Sustainability has been my entire life,” she says. “The Lodge & Spa is not only going to be sustainable in its product offerings, but in streamlining how we work as a team across the winery and lodge,” she says.

Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa will open with a stunning architecturally-designed central lodge, complete with striking feature fireplace, soaring ceiling, sun-filled conservatory, al fresco dining area, an exclusive restaurant and Lodge Cellar overflowing with historic vintages.

World-class luxury accommodation in 24 sumptuously comfortable and modern villas oozes with sophistication, sleek interior and exterior design, accompanied by lush landscaping and peaceful water features.

The on-site spa will be a luxurious retreat for health, beauty and wellbeing, and guests will be encouraged to connect with the land and the winery experience, indulge in outstanding food and wine and enjoy a range of customized packages.

Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa is set on 1000-acres of privately-owned land, dotted with many kilometres of exclusive biking and walking trails. Luxury experience packages available at Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa include the Wine Immersion, Food & Wine Indulgence, Relax & Revive, Romantic Escape and Ride the Vines.

Rates start at $825NZD per villa. For further information and bookings go to www.gibbstonvalleylodgeandspa.com

Read More

Villas among the vines – luxury Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa opens in December

Villas among the vines – luxury Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa opens in December

Central Otago’s most exciting luxury offering is on final countdown to opening.

Located in the heart of Central Otago’s founding winery, Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa will offer the ultimate in relaxed luxury, fine wine, culinary excellence and 5-star personal service.

In just over two months, its doors will swing open to reveal a stunning architecturally-designed lodge complete with striking feature fireplace, soaring ceiling, sun-filled conservatory, al fresco dining area, an exclusive restaurant and a Lodge Cellar overflowing with historic vintages.

With a locally-sourced schist stone exterior mirroring the rugged Central Otago environment, Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa will be firmly planted in the vineyard’s rich history.

The world-class luxury accommodation experience is oozing with sophistication, sleek interior and exterior design, accompanied by lush landscaping and peaceful water features.

Twenty-four beautiful, sumptuously comfortable and modern villas are nestled just above the first vineyard block ever planted in the valley, in perfect view of the vines and distinctive Central Otago landscape on adjacent hills.

A secluded on-site spa will be a luxurious retreat for health, beauty and wellbeing, offering a serene, relaxing environment for a range of indulgences including – fittingly – vinotherapy treatments.

Gibbston Valley Winery CEO Greg Hunt says the Lodge & Spa gives guests the opportunity to connect with the land and the winery experience on another level.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have created a totally unique and completely enriching new experience for guests,” he says.

“It’s more than just unwinding among the vines – it’s about exploring the vineyard and gaining an intimate, deeper understanding of the behind-the-scenes workings of a world-class winery to a degree that’s not available anywhere else in the world.

“Going at their own relaxed pace, guests will be able to take the time to indulge in outstanding food and wine and really experience Gibbston Valley in all her glory.”

A highlight of the Lodge experience will be the opportunity to sample exquisite cuisine, carefully created to pair beautifully with premium, handcrafted Gibbston Valley Wines.

The exclusive Lodge menu is the brainchild of renowned Chef Anthony Gradiska, guided by the seasons and fresh produce grown in his Chef’s Gardens scattered around the Lodge and Spa buildings.

Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa is set to have a distinct sustainability focus, going to great efforts to do away with single-use products and introducing eco-conscious options throughout the entire operation.

The diversification of the vineyard has been an involved four-year planning project to ensure all elements of the Lodge & Spa meld seamlessly with the iconic look and feel of Gibbston Valley and the 30-year-old winery.

Additional Lodge features include a small wine education theatre, private meeting rooms, and unique indoor and outdoor spaces for intimate boutique weddings.

Each villa, boasting a modern, sophisticated décor, open plan indoor living space and the latest technology, also features a secluded sun-washed courtyard surrounded by lush landscaping and a private covered deck with dining area.

As a matter of course, a selection of premium Gibbston Valley Wines personalized to guests’ preferences greet visitors on arrival.

Customised concierge services round out the experience by providing the very best advice and local knowledge on wine tasting, cycle tours, walking tracks and packages for activities on-site and throughout the wider Central Otago region.

Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa is set on 1000-acres of privately-owned land, dotted with many kilometres of exclusive biking and walking trails. The Queenstown Trail, New Zealand’s most popular Great Ride, passes the property and provides access to over 130kms of off-road trails between Gibbston, Arrowtown and Queenstown.

Luxury experience packages available at Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa include the Wine Immersion, Food & Wine Indulgence, Relax & Revive, Romantic Escape and Ride the Vines.

Rates start at $825NZD per villa. For further information and bookings go to www.gibbstonvalleylodgeandspa.com

 Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa – what you need to know

  • Villas feature 100m2 of private, open plan indoor living space
  • Bathrooms feature a large walk-in shower, separate feature tub and dual basins
  • Complimentary bike use included for guests
  • Private wine tastings and intimate dinners available in the Lodge Cellar
  • Seasonal à la carte restaurant menu
  • Exciting range of wining, dining and leisure activities on the doorstep
  • Shuttles available for guests into Arrowtown and Queenstown
  • Spa features three private treatment rooms, a sauna, secluded hot pools and small gym
  • Just 20 minutes from Queenstown’s International Airport
  • Lodge & Spa designed by Queenstown architects Wyatt + Gray
  • Villa design by Space Studios
Read More

Millbrook Resort starts work on $50million development

Four years of planning, appeals, hearings and zone changes have finally come to fruition for Queenstown’s Millbrook Resort. The multi-award-winning resort has been granted resource consent for a $50m development that will see it develop a neighbouring farm into a new golf course interspersed with 42 sections for high-end residential homes. The development will add…

Initial site clearance is underway and, under a separate consent, work has almost been completed on shifting the Arrow Irrigation Pipe to a new location to make way for the development.

Groundworks include a raft of ecological and landscape enhancements, the first land titles should go live in late 2020, and once the new golf course is constructed and ‘grown-in’ it should be playable by 2021.

Millbrook Director of Property and Development Ben O’Malley says the net was cast “far and wide” for project tendering, with the main earthworks contract going to Grant Hood Contracting from Ashburton.

Highly-experienced turf specialist company TIC Golf Projects Ltd has been awarded the main golf course construction project, the same company that developed the resort’s Coronet Nine course, along with a golf course irrigation installation contract.

Millbrook is still working through detailed design on works such as roading, reticulated services and the resort’s distinctive schist stone walls.

In the initial earthworks phase, half a million cubic metres of material will be moved within the site. A ‘zero cut to fill’ balance means all work will be carried out with material contained within the farm area, with topsoil stripped and stored before being re-spread once earthworks are complete.

Mr O’Malley says Millbrook has been working alongside the Friends of Lake Hayes and the Otago Regional Council to support their initiative to discharge off-peak water from the Arrow River irrigation race to Mill Stream (which runs through Millbrook into Lake Hayes).

“They believe this will help enhance the water quality of Lake Hayes and we have the means to provide them the link between the Arrow Irrigation Company pipe and Mill Stream,” he says.

The ORC is part-way through a plan change process that will see a minimum flow placed on the Arrow River, from which Millbrook currently sources its golf irrigation water via the AIC.

The minimum flow process would pose a risk to Millbrook’s golf operations, as it’s sand-based tees and greens, installed to meet international PGA specifications, require daily watering.

“To guard against this risk we’re also constructing a 30million-litre water storage lake on the farm land,” says Mr O’Malley.

The new 36-hole format at Millbrook s been described as a ‘game changer’ for the resort, effectively adding 100% golf capacity with two fully operational 18-hole courses that can be operated simultaneously.

It’s being welcomed by the growing number of Millbrook Country Club members who will be able to play an ever-changing private members’ course on a daily basis, as well as another for tourists and locals.

It’s also good news for the long-term future of the New Zealand Open, currently hosted at Millbrook in conjunction with The Hills golf course.

The Open has always planned to move to a three-course model, similar to international Dunhill Links and AT&T events, and having two courses available at Millbrook would enable this goal to be achieved.

Ben O’Malley says the resort is “ecstatic” to be getting underway with the development.

“It’s been over four years since we first bought the former Dalgleish Farm land with the dream of adding to the resort,” he says.

“There’s been a lot of hard work from our consultants and planning team to get to this point, but now it’s all coming to fruition it’s simply fantastic.”

The land has provided a fantastic opportunity for the golf course team, as well as lending itself to the development of two discretely and geographically-separated residential neighbourhoods.

The large upper plateau contains 24 sites boasting elevated panoramic views over fairways and pastoral lands to the wider basin. The lower slopes are home to a further 18 sites with north-facing outlooks over an enhanced Mill Stream and the last of the stunning new golf holes. Most of the sites are expected to sell for over $1million each.

Parts of Mill Stream will be widened to create larger waterways and enhanced wetlands. The new development will retain a rural, agrarian style with over 20 hectares of working farmland retained for grazing and retention of a historic woolshed.

The original 1860’s farmhouse will also stay on the land, with some sympathetic additions.

Read More

New Zealand’s first smart hotel opens in Queenstown

mi-pad Queenstown, New Zealand’s first fully ‘smart’ hotel has opened its doors in the heart of Queenstown.   MIPAD Holdings Ltd has opened mi-pad Queenstown, a next generation, energy-conscious hotel experience for the smart traveller and the ultimate marriage of technology, sustainability, comfort and convenience.   The six-storey hotel features 57 stylish and well-appointed rooms…

And the key to mi-pad Queenstown is that there is no key.

 

Guests booking their stay download the hotel’s personal app ‘mia’ and their smartphone becomes a room key, meaning physical check-ins (or check outs) are a thing of the past.

 

Mia also has a range of other tricks up her sleeve, with the app enabling guests to set temperatures and mood lighting in their room (even remotely), request room service or alert hotel staff that they don’t want to be disturbed.  

 

Access to the hotel is available 24/7 thanks to the technology. Once guests are settled in, mia transforms into a personal digital concierge, delivering the latest information on events, activities or offers and encouraging them to experience the best of this stunning destination.

 

The $15m John Blair-designed hotel is in the heart of Queenstown, less than a two-minute walk from the vibrant centre with its hundreds of bars, restaurants and activity operators set on the shores of stunning Lake Wakatipu.

 

The mi-pad hotel concept is the brainchild of Queenstown property developer Lewis Gdanitz and is the fruition of three years of hard work.

 

“mi-pad is the result of 15 years of research, travelling the world and finding the places that did accommodation really well,” he says.

 

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to deliver a property that’s unlike anything else on offer in New Zealand, operating on a premise of affordable luxury delivered using the latest technology.

 

“I’m also very proud of the eco-conscious initiatives we have in place for every aspect of the operation.”

 

MIPAD Holdings Ltd is a joint venture between Lewis and experienced hotel investment and development company TJK NZ Ltd, owner of luxury boutique hotels The George in Christchurch and Regent of Rotorua.

 

TJK NZ CEO Stephen Borcoskie said the company had a proud pedigree of leadership in, and commitment to, the New Zealand hotel industry.

 

“Our goal is to always exceed customer expectations by excelling in service delivery, and we’re thrilled to be entering the Queenstown market which consistently leads the way in delivering world-class experiences and lifelong memories to visitors from around the globe.

 

“It makes perfect sense to open a unique property like this in Queenstown.”

 

Hotel manager Kylie Hogan has 20 years’ experience in international resort management.

“We’re offering an innovative, connected hotel experience for smart travellers who’d prefer to spend their hard-earned dollars on experiences rather than pay over the odds for accommodation,” she says.

“We appreciate that they want to keep in touch with family, friends, or colleagues whether they’re here to ski their hearts out, check out bike trails, enjoy some world-class golf or award-winning wines.

“mia’s the key to all of that, the complete package for guests who want to have fun like a local.”

The hotel hasn’t forgotten the basics of ensuring guests get a great night’s sleep, with Queen beds, clever storage options, smart TV’s and bathrooms featuring organic products and top-of-the-line hair styling tools.

Guests can have as much or as little interaction with mi-pad staff and other guests as they like, including the option to share experiences, photos or messages through mia’s private chat group.

A floor-to-ceiling ‘social wall’ in the hotel’s entrance lobby also features mia’s latest updates and guests shared experiences.

Although there are snacks and breakfast options available within the hotel, mi-pad’s owners made a conscious decision to keep F&B services to a minimum to encourage guests to savour the town’s renowned eateries.

But if they prefer to order-in or BYO, the hotel’s best kept secret is its huge rooftop terrace with an outdoor fireplace, plentiful seating and wraparound 270-degree views of Lake Wakatipu and surrounding mountains.

The terrace is exclusively available to guests and is the perfect spot to enjoy an outdoor dining experience or luscious wine with some of the best views in town.

To unlock the key to the full mi-pad experience, book online at www.mipadhotels.com

Read More

Queenstown offers coolest winter holiday escapes

The snow has blanketed Queenstown peaks and the coolest winter escapes are out there for snow lovers of any age, stage and ability. Queenstown’s a mecca for skiers and snowboarders for a host of reasons, not least that its four closest ski areas deliver a wide range of terrain to suit everyone from beginners to…

Crowne Plaza Queenstown’s IHG winter sale ends on July 9 2018 so buyers need to get in quick, although the deal’s valid for stays until the end of October.

The winter sale package is ideal for hungry skiers who can fuel up for the day ahead with a free breakfast, while also saving up to 20% on accommodation.

With the winter package valid until the end of the ski season, a spring skiing trip is also on the cards for those who can’t make it these school holidays.

Queenstown is so compact it’s the perfect spot for a ski holiday. Visitors can be catching some big air in the morning and playing nine holes of golf or sipping on a world-renowned Pinot Noir in the afternoon.

Coronet Peak is perfect for First Tracks – skiing over sweet lines left by the overnight grooming team as the sun rises over the mountain. It’s also the only resort in the South Island with night skiing, meaning guests can enjoy Queenstown adventures during the day, head up in the afternoon to catch the sunset and experience the magic of ‘cheeky’ night ski sessions on Wednesday, Friday or Saturday nights.

Simply put, The Remarkables is just remarkable, for its great on and off-piste options accessed by the new Curvey Basin chair among others. Locals love to stop for a drink at the Ice Bar (halfway down the chairlift) where amazing views make it a great spot for must-have Instagram photos or just to have a beer.

Head ‘over the hill’ towards Wanaka and in less than an hour guests can be sampling the wide-open bowls of family-friendly Cardrona ski resort or having fun sampling classic and ski skating or snowshoeing at Snow Farm, New Zealand’s only Nordic ski area.

At the end of a day of winter fun, Crowne Plaza Queenstown invites guests to kick off skis and boots in their dedicated heated ski locker, relax with a mulled wine or cocktail and settle in for dinner at threesixty restaurant, taking their pick from a hearty new winter menu.

Over the school holidays, some guests just might be surprised with vouchers for hot chocolates at the world-renowned Patagonia Chocolates, or passes to go ice skating at the Queenstown Ice Arena.

If there’s one thing hotel guests rave about, it’s Crowne Plaza’s central location, perched on the shores of Lake Wakatipu with sweeping mountain views and yet less than a minute’s stroll to Queenstown’s bustling main streets.

Back at the hotel, the concierge team has the best advice going to help guests explore Queenstown like a local, and it’s Queenstown Winter Guide has plenty of inspiration for non-skiers too.

Ski shuttle buses stop right outside the hotel front door and daily snow reports keep guests up to speed with conditions throughout the day (and night!).

Read More

School holiday fun at Holiday Inn Auckland Airport

With New Zealand’s July school holidays on the horizon, an airport hotel is inviting families on a ‘mini-break’ before or after connecting to domestic or international destinations. The newly refurbished Holiday Inn Auckland Airport has some ‘big wallet-savings’ on offer for families travelling during the school holidays with the creation of its new Very Important…

There’s no such thing as an ‘I’m booooored’ day when youngsters can choose from paintballing at Lock N Load Adventures, rope climbing at Rocket Ropes, an afternoon of fun at Butterfly Creek or putting their way around Treasure Island Mini Golf.

All parents have to do is plan the day’s activity or activities and show the kids wristbands on arrival to receive the relevant discounts.

Holiday Inn Auckland Airport General Manager Scott Schaefer says the hotel is delighted to offer family-friendly travel solutions that are easy on the pocket.

“The V.I.K. programme gives the kids a great holiday, even before they get on the plane!” he says.

“Travelling during school holidays can be expensive so this, combined with our long-running guarantee that kids stay and eat for free, enables us to offer an affordable ‘fun for all the family’ getaway.

“From check-in to departure, there’s plenty to do to keep the family entertained in comfort while you wait for your next flight, which is why families love staying with us.

“Kids can expend all that energy on their adventure of choice, and of course refuel at Vapor Restaurant, while parents catch their breath with some much-needed ‘time out’.”

The hotel has recently completed a $3million refurbishment to transform the ground floor restaurant and bar, hotel lobby, reception and swimming pool into eye-catching yet welcoming spaces.

The hotel’s Vapor Restaurant is now a destination in its own right, taking diners on a culinary journey of native New Zealand in a Pacific holiday setting, renowned for its selection of buffet dishes suitable for all ages, taste buds and even the fussiest of eaters.

A giant chessboard, arcade games and welcome packages will keep the kids entertained and if they feel up to braving some cooler winter air temperatures, the pool is an oasis of calm amidst sub-tropical gardens.

This year’s Term 2 holidays also happen to neatly coincide with the hotel’s winter sale, so a budget-friendly family getaway is definitely on the cards.

Guests can save up to 20% off accommodation and free breakfast when booking before July 9 2018 for stays until October 30 2018.

Discover more about the V.I.K. programme in the latest campaign video here, or online here.

Read More

TESTIMONIALS