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Concierge.com

New Zealand's North Island Hotels

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Cotter House Luxury Retreat
4 St. Vincent Avenue
Remuera
Auckland , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 9 529 5156
info@cotterhouse.com
www.cotterhouse.com

This Regency mansion, the fifth oldest house in Auckland, was built in 1847 in what is now the city's stateliest suburb. From 1995 to 2001, owner Gloria Poupard-Walbridge restored the house to its original style, with egg-and-dart molding and recessed arches, and filled it with antiques, religious icons, and modern art gathered over her two decades of travel as a French diplomat's wife. The two rooms and two suites (including the owner's private apartment, available only if you book the entire house) are spacious and sumptuously furnished. The Bronze suite is the pick, with an Art Nouveau queen bed, heirloom Irish linen sheets, and a handsome antique mirror over the marble fireplace. Unwind in the adjacent dayroom on an 1860 single sleigh bed and watch DVDs (as Keith Richards did in 2006 after falling from a palm tree in Fiji). Or luxuriate in the deep tub overlooking the leafy grounds. Though the house is usually booked in its entirety, visitors can also reserve a single room or suite.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Eagles Nest
60 Tapeka Road
Russell , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 9 403 8333
eagle@eaglesnest.co.nz
www.eaglesnest.co.nz

Northland's Bay of Islands, where sapphire-blue coves are filled with whales and cavorting dolphins, could turn almost anyone into a New Age idealist. Once the summer tourists thin out, the hills and beaches around the seaside village of Russell seem almost suspiciously perfect—like the private Shangri-La of some billionaire guru. In keeping with the utopian vibe is Eagles Nest, with its five superluxury, private villas high on a bluff overlooking the sea. Here, you can have your Philippe Starck–designed kitchen fixtures and still feel at one with the universe. All the villas—the smallest sleeps two, and the largest accommodates eight—are designed with the most expensive simplicity. Glass walls, expansive decks, and private infinity pools let guests gorge on the views; inside, the gleaming chrome-and-marble bathrooms have glass-cube showers and heated tile floors. Guests can arrange for a chef to cook in their kitchen, a guide to lead them on a private mountain-bike tour, or a massage therapist to provide shiatsu or an Indian scalp massage. Those feeling a little too blissed out can always pop a bottle of bubbly and sprawl in front of the plasma-screen TV.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Farm at Cape Kidnappers
448 Clifton Road
Te Awanga
Hawke's Bay , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 6 875 1900
reservations@capekidnappers.com
www.capekidnappers.com

This golfers' magnet provides plenty for those who think golf a good walk spoiled. A five-mile road winds through farmland and bush to the property, on a 6,000-acre peninsula abutting the Pacific, and from the moment of arrival every whim is catered to. The main lodge features soaring ceilings and rustic artifacts such as old farm tools, and while the 22 suites and a cottage are broadly based on farm dwellings, bathrooms have underfloor heating; the gym, a personal trainer; and the wine cellar, master tastings. Diversions beyond golf include ATVs and guided nature tours. The verdict? Well above par.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Great Mercury Island
Great Mercury Island
New Zealand
Tel: 800 225 4255
sam@seaonz.co.nz
www.sanctuare.com

This 5,000-acre isle, 25 minutes by helicopter from Auckland, is the private retreat of two millionaires—a haven so hidden that even the paparazzi can't find the celebs who stay here. Mere mortals can visit, too, assuming they can afford the $20,000-a-day price tag. Included is free range of an island so large and varied that it feels like a small country, with miles of pristine white beaches, sensational scuba diving and fishing, and all manner of toys—from boats and Jet Skis to off-road trucks and motorcycles. There's also a superb chef whose food has kept the likes of Queen Elizabeth II happy. The two villas can sleep up to 20 people between them and are airy mazes where irregular, white-plastered passageways lead to individually themed bedrooms full of whimsy, wit, and every conceivable creature comfort.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hilton Auckland
Princes Wharf
147 Quay Street
Auckland , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 9 978 2000
reservations.auckland@hilton.com
www.hilton.co.nz

Set right at the edge of Princes Wharf overlooking Waitemata Harbour, this chic, modern property—the best large hotel in Auckland—is where jet-setting business travelers pull into port. The building itself (white, with walls of shimmering glass and twin prows jutting over the water) resembles the posh cruise ships that dock just outside; the interiors, though, are all slick, urban minimalism. The 165 guest rooms have angular, clean-lined furnishings, crisp white linens, and chocolate leather chairs—plus large desks where you can plug in a laptop. The best rooms, on the "starboard" side of the hotel, have water views. The five Bow Suites, with floor-to-ceiling windows, spacious balconies, and massive marble bathrooms, have hosted major VIPs (Bill Clinton, Al Gore); minor VIPs—well, PR types and their clients—fill the stark, aptly named White restaurant and the plush, low-lit Bellini Bar. In the gleaming fitness room and around the rooftop pool (whose fabulous underwater window frames the harbor), guests work their cell phones and PDAs. The well-pressed, efficient staff can be slightly chilly to guests who show up rumpled or gritty from a beach walk outside the city.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
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Hotel DeBrett
2 High Street
Auckland , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 9 925 9000
reservations@hoteldebrett.com
hoteldebrett.com

A mash of Art Deco architecture, sixties furnishings, and perky service, the 25-room Hotel DeBrett reflects the designer savvy and eclectic lifestyles of this edgy little district of downtown Auckland. Slick black-and-white bathrooms are a throwback to Mod Squad-era polka-dot dresses, and Austin Powers would feel right at home sliding down the two-story loft suites' spiral staircases or spinning vintage vinyl in the cozy drawing room with its record player and mojito bar. The hotel's heart is an airy, art-filled two-story atrium that encloses the restaurant and terrace of the adjacent pub, a place to kick back as Auckland's notoriously fickle skies roll overhead like a time-lapse movie. The food is super-fresh Kiwi culinary fare, like slow-cooked lamb rump with goat's-milk curd and snow peas. The DeBrett doesn't have a spa or gym but will gladly arrange in-room massages or personal trainer appointments, though most guests get their exercise exploring the city, including the boutiques along High Street and the bustling Viaduct Harbour with its waterfront pubs and America's Cup yachts. When to go: Auckland summers (December-February) are especially good for sailing the enormous bay and trekking the city's myriad parks.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Huka Lodge
271 Huka Falls Road
Taupo , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 7 378 5791
reservations@hukalodge.com
www.hukalodge.com

When the queen of England—yes, the real one—makes it to this most far-flung corner of her realm, the Huka Lodge is where she stays (reportedly, she prefers to dine in the library). She's not the only luminary who has discovered this luxury lodge near sparkling Lake Taupo in the North Island's center. Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, Kate Winslet, and Barbra Streisand have also been guests. First established as a humble trout-fishing camp in the 1920s, the property now includes a grand main lodge—where guests can sip aperitifs before a blazing fire and dine in a candelabra-lit dining room. Twenty plush lodge rooms sit among trees along the banks of the rushing Waikato River, which feeds into the thundering Huka Falls. Fishing trips are still a major pastime here; if you bring your catch back, the house chefs will prepare it however you like. More leisurely activities include lazing in the heated outdoor pool (or your private oversize bathtub), croquet, and pétanque.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Kauri Cliffs
Matauri Bay Road
Matauri Bay , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 9 407 0010
reservations@kauricliffs.com
www.kauricliffs.com

American investor Julian Robertson picked a prime piece of real estate for his plantation-style sporting lodge: a Bay of Islands cliff top with views stretching from Cape Brett in the south to the Cavalli Islands in the north. The 6,000-acre property—which includes a par-72 championship golf course, tennis courts, and a stable full of horses for equestrian safaris—has the feel of an exclusive country club. The old-money vibe carries through to the 22 guest suites, divided among 11 private cottages and stocked with roaring gas fireplaces, deep tubs, and not-so-mini minibars. A few suites even have small adjacent units for nannies or bodyguards. The main lounge, where pre-dinner drinks and canapés are served and men must wear jackets, is similarly upper-crusty. But there are plenty of ways to escape into nature here. The lodge's resident naturalist leads guided bush walks, and day excursions take guests to prime scuba diving, fishing, and even quad bike–riding spots around the Bay of Islands. Especially remote sights, like the Waipoua State Forest, can be reached via (ahem) the property's private helicopter.

Closed in June.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Mollies
6 Tweed Street
St. Mary's Bay
Auckland , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 9 376 3489
reservations@mollies.co.nz
www.mollies.co.nz

The soaring voices of opera singers in training fill the air at this Victorian villa, set in a posh residential neighborhood west of Auckland's city center. The singers are students of owner Frances Wilson, who has been teaching opera soloists for 40 years. Wilson and husband Stephen Fitzgerald, a theater set designer and renovator of grand New York apartments, transformed their elegant two-story home into a boutique hotel, where butlers pad across marble floors and 13 spacious guest suites are decorated with antiques, Chinese tapestries, and even a few Steinway baby grands. The largest, premium suites are especially opulent, with wood-burning fireplaces, custom-made sleigh beds, embroidered linens, spa tubs, and views of the harbor or an English-style garden. The mix-your-own martini bar and the tiny spa, where guests can chill out with hot-stone massages and body wraps, keep the place from feeling too stuffy.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ohtel
66 Oriental Parade
Wellington , North Island
New Zealand 6011
Tel: 64 4 803 0600
Fax: 64 4 803 0611
room@ohtel.com
www.ohtel.com

Clad in wood and glass, the coolest, sexiest boutique hotel in New Zealand's hilly capital overlooks the inner harbor and is a short walk to most of downtown—bars, restaurants, the civic center, and Te Papa, New Zealand's national museum. The ten decent-size rooms (385 square feet on average) offer a mix of high-tech features and midcentury furniture, including some original Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner pieces. Beds are comfortable, backed by a built-in wood unit and facing a flat-screen TV, through which—after you figure out the system—you can also access the manager's iTunes collection. A glass panel separates the sleeping area from the bathroom, which is dominated by a freestanding tub. Storage space is minimal, however, with little closet or drawer capacity. Front rooms have small balconies overlooking the harbor and the city. Guests tend to linger in the fireplace-lit communal dining area off the tiny lobby, where lavish breakfasts are served along with light lunches such as macadamia-crusted chicken and cured salmon with arugula, paired with well-chosen local wines. The young, hip staff offers recommendations and restaurant reservations, and will even help you unpack—and figure out that music system.—Lea Lane

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
On the Point
214 Kawaha Point Road
Lake Rotorua , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 7 348 4868
www.onthepoint.co.nz

New Zealand's North Island is awash in Maori myth—nowhere more so than in Rotorua, its geothermal heartland, where even the bottled water comes with a legend involving forbidden love and an ancient curse. A 1930s mansion overlooking gloriously tranquil Lake Rotorua, On the Point is a fairy tale in its own right. Its seven acres include steep-sloped gardens, a private beach, a jetty, and even a cave. The main building's seven suites have the tasteful air of an immensely wealthy friend's home, with motion-sensitive lighting, whirlpool tubs, and power showers with wall jets for those in the mood for an upright massage; the freestanding Log Chalet has its own alfresco hot tub. The food and service are both top-notch, and the toys (billiard room, wine cellar, tennis court, gym) above reproach. At the highest point on the property is the Lake Villa, the owners' private residence, which is also for let.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Treetops Luxury Lodge and Estate
351 Kearoa Road
Horohoro
Rotorua , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 7 333 2066
info@treetops.co.nz
www.treetops.co.nz

You don't have to be an Outside subscriber to enjoy this property—set atop a cliff within 2,500 acres of virgin forest and just a stone's throw from the wonders of the Volcanic Plateau. But self-sustaining sorts will certainly appreciate it here. The rustic main lodge (with a billiard room, cocktail lounge, dining area, and library) and eight guest villas are all constructed from native stone and wood, and fan-cooled. The running water is drawn from UV-treated natural springs, which also feed the property's trout-stocked streams and lakes. Meandering paths lead through the forest: One goes to the spectacular 80-foot Bridalveil Falls; others lead to glowworm caves that are spookily lovely at night. As you stroll the grounds, you might find yourself accompanied by Othello, the estate's 140-pound resident pig, or some free-roaming deer. Don't get too attached to the latter; one of them might end up as a decadent venison sausage on your plate.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Wharekauhau Country Estate
Western Lake Road
Palliser Bay
Featherston , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 6 307 7581
reservations@wharekauhau.co.nz
www.wharekauhau.co.nz

One of the oldest working sheep farms in New Zealand, Wharekauhau (pronounced forry-ko-ho) is set on the windswept, remote southern coast of the North Island. The focal point of the 5,000-acre property is an English-style country mansion—with tall chimneys and mullioned windows—where guests take their meals and socialize. The 12 cottage suites, tucked among the hillsides, are perfect for holing up when the weather is blustery: All are equipped with heated floors, cushy couches in front of gas fires, and superking four-poster beds. It would be a shame, though, not to venture out to see how the farm works. Manager Joe Houghton, born on the property 60-odd years ago, will gladly take guests to watch sheep-shearers and “eye dogs” (sheepdogs that stare their charges into submission) in action. Traveling to the estate by car requires a 90-minute drive from Wellington over winding and partly unpaved roads through the Rimutaka Ranges. But a quick helicopter ride from the capital can also be arranged.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.