Lodge at Paratiho Farms, Nelson, South Island $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
This property's six luxury suites, heated infinity pool, tennis court, spa, and garden scattered with bold, kinetic modern sculptures all seem a little out of place in farm country. But the juxtaposition of luxury and bucolic simplicity works. The lodge, opened in 1999 on a 2,000-acre working sheep farm, gives visitors the chance to taste rural New Zealand life without having to muck around in it. Lounging in their private courtyards, gas-fire warmed sitting areas, or giant clawfoot tubs, guests can listen to the sounds of sheep bleating from the hillsides; if they need a little constitutional after lunching in the cozy dining room, they can take a guided "farm walk" through the property and see sheep being sheared. The lodge is known for its fresh produce and its cuisine; in 2005, a cooking school opened on the premises. The five-course dinner menu, which changes daily, reflects what's in season but always has a Kiwi twist—past dishes have included pancetta-wrapped seared scallops with grilled sheep's-milk cheese and corn foam—and is always accompanied by labels from nearby Nelson wineries.