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Kauri Cliffs, Matauri Bay 

Matauri Bay Road
Matauri Bay , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 9 407 0010
view web site ›'s insider take:

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.

From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
This oceanfront newcomer with a rash of perfect scores is "stunning, as if you were airlifted to heaven." Plantation-style buildings have perfect-scoring suites where ceiling fans, light colors, and subtle patterns create a country feel. The restaurant changes its menu daily—"you'll want to stay all day and just order another bottle of wine" on the outdoor terrace. Perfect-scoring staff include caddies with "knowledge of many topics, not just golf." On the challenging course (one of the perfect-scoring activities), "we played four times and only once came close to another group."

(22 suites)
—2011 Gold List
Overall Score: 98.4
  • Activities: 100.0
  • Design: 100.0
  • Food: 96.9
  • Location: 93.8
  • Rooms: 100.0
  • Service: 100.0

Amenities: Beach, Golf, Pool, Spa, Tennis, Water sports

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