Concierge.com's insider take:
A Valhalla for brown-trout fishermen, Lake Rotoroa's narrow mountain-flanked waters (a 90-minute drive south of Nelson) are fed by more than 20 different rivers and streams, and have been featured on fishing programs like ESPN's New American Sportsman. Little wonder, then, that this 10-room luxury lakefront lodge—where celebrity anglers like Liam Neeson and Michael Keaton have stayed—has an extremely fishy vibe. Built back in the 1920s as a gentlemen's overnight stopover on the rugged coach ride from Nelson, the lodge still draws a heavily male crowd, most of it wearing waders and carrying expensive tackle. The fishing guides here tailor all-day trips according to their guests' desires and experience levels; most leave at dawn and return in the early evening, and then gather in the lodge's folksy screened patio to swap stories and share pre-dinner drinks. The guestrooms, fitted out in dark wood and rich colors, are comfy and subdued; all have bathrooms with heated floors and views over the lake or surrounding beech forest. All have verandas, but beware: The sand flies here can make sitting outside less than pleasant.
Closed May through September.