Bay of Many Coves Resort, Marlborough Sounds, South Island $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
The Marlborough Sounds, on the South Island's northeastern coast, is a ruggedly beautiful landscape of ocean channels and rocky, wooded promontories. It's home to one the country's most famous walking trails, the Queen Charlotte Track, and it's also a paradise for boaters and sealife lovers (dolphins and penguins are often spotted in the waters). The remote Bay of Many Coves, built in 2003, sits high on a forested bluff overlooking the Queen Charlotte Sound; the only ways to get here are by walking (it's about four days along the walking track) or taking a 30-minute water-taxi ride from the port town of Picton (visiting "boaties" can also tie up at the resort's dock). The accommodations here are discreetly plush: The 11 apartment-like suites all have wood floors, vaulted ceilings, and streamlined modern furniture. Suites have open slate shower stalls, private balconies, and giant sliding-glass doors through which to admire the sparkling water. The amenities are simple and perfect: The pretty heated pool and outdoor hot tub are welcome when the sea's too cold for swimming; the glass-walled restaurant serves wonderful NZ fusion cuisine; the cozy breakfast café makes fresh-baked croissants every morning; and an on-site masseuse can help work out the kinks after a long day on the resort's 40-foot sailboat.