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“Bliss” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet

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Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   494 Mt. Aspiring Road | PO Box 115, Wanaka 9343, New Zealand   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #12 of 22 hotels in Wanaka
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Bliss”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2012 via mobile

As other reviewers have said the surrounding scenery is beautiful, from the serene lakes to the spiky mountains. The view from the Lodge is only rivaled by the drama of the views from the Lodge's chalet. And the range of activity is fantastic, from ambling around the edge of Lake Wanaka to more serious hikes, climbing, canyoning and so on. There was no shortage of places to go and ways of exploring them. We were there as the autumn leaves were turning, with crisp air ideal for walking, and snow dusting the tops of some peaks.

While the town of Wanaka and surrounding towns are worth a visit, we didn't need to leave the Lodge for food and drink. Again as others have written, we have never experienced the diversity of gastronomic delight that each meal provided at the Lodge. We found not only the ingredients (which are local) and the portions exquisitely controlled.

We left with that feeling of deep revitalization that only this combination of activity and contemplation in natural surroundings can give. Where resorts create often an artificial feeling of tranquility, this had the authenticity that is deeply satisfying.

Stayed April 2012
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39 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
melbourne
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2012

We had seen photographs of the location, and browsed the recent award winning book but were still not prepared for the spectacular scenery viewed both from the window of our room (see photo) and from the surrounding mountain hikes and activities undertaken on our recent five day stay. It reminded us a little of a trip to Explora in the Torres Del Paine, Patagonia-every day we had our breath taken away.
A lot of reviewers mention the fabulous food but for me, who has a rather sensitive digestive system, it was unparalelled in that I could enjoy five amazing courses at dinner and not feel full (or sick as I often do after a degustation meal) afterwards. James was also caterin with ease to 3 or 4 food intolerances/choices at each meal including Fructose intolerance, coeliac,vegetarian and nut allergies!
The beds were so comfortable, the service exemplary and the range of activities on offer were broad and well organised. Cant wait to go back again!

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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WhareKea, Manager at Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet, responded to this review, April 26, 2012
Thank you Debbie! We are all so thrilled that you had a wonderful Whare Kea experience. Chef James Stapley has told us that he truly loves to work with guests dietary considerations- he likes to think outside the box. We look forward to welcoming you back to Whare Kea one day soon.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2011

Beautiful views, very friendly staff and excellent chefs. Loved the way we were introduced to the chefs in the kitchen on our arrival and were invited to bob in at anytime. The food was excellent, although fourteen guests dining on one table was not ideal, fine while there was only six or so.

However the bedrooms were very ordinary, not large and bathrooms rather tired, not the standard one would expect from a Relais & Chateaux.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
68 hotel reviews
Reviews in 62 cities Reviews in 62 cities
210 helpful votes 210 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2011

Great chef, brilliant food, a comfortable bed and a major view.

Lake Wanaka is so much better than Queenstown, and Whare Kea has a premium location. A morning walk on the lakeside path below the chalet is a reward in itself.

Although it’s a lodge it feels like a private house. The suites are really only large rooms, and the rooms themselves are small. If it was full it would feel too crowded for me.

But you don’t go to Whare Kea to lie about, it’s all about getting out and doing things. And the excellent staff can arrange just about anything.

Overall it’s a good experience , although I am not sure it warrants its price point.

Room Tip: If you are staying more than 1 night you will need a suite.
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Sydney
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2011

The location in the main attraction - awesome mountains surrounds and first class skiing nearby, particularly heliskiing - but Whare Kea is also in a class of its own when it comes to comfort and service, particularly the incomparable meals prepared by the Chef.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2011

We (me, my wife, our 12 year old daughter and her friend) stayed in this hotel for three nights from 7 to 10 July, 2011. To be honest, it was an extraordinary experience. We were the only guests at the time and it was as if we were staying in our own home but being waited on hand and foot by a friendly and attentive staff. Perhaps the highlight for us as regards the stay in the hotel was the food. James Stapley, the chef, and Craig (who kind of doubles as a "butler" and sous chef) were absolutely fantastic. My wife is a food fanatic and they were very happy for her to come in to the kitchen whenever she felt the need to watch them prepare our food, exchanging tips and discussing ingredients. The two girls also treated the kitchen as if it was their kitchen at home (and if the guys found it irritating, they didn't say anything!) James spoke to us each evening discussing what we wanted to eat for dinner the next day - he managed to get oysters, venison, crayfish and, for me, made a magnificent rhubarb crumble on the last day (I embarrassed myself by eating (nearly) all of it) as discussed the previous evening, amongst other delights. We cannot speak highly enough of James and Craig. My wife is looking forward to James's Whare Kea cook book which we understand is coming out shortly.

I should also mention the other staff who went out of their way to help with everything including trips notwithstanding the non-stop rain that accompanied our stay. They organised a horse riding trip for us (Timber Lake) one afternoon and we were delighted to see Carol the riding instructress cooking us breakfast the next morning!

We were also privileged to have dinner on the first evening with the owner and his son . We had a very good conversation about skiing, Wanaka and the hotel and chalet, amongst other things.

The views from the hotel across Lake Wanaka are absolutely stunning as has been well documented in other reviews. It is only a few minutes drive from the town of Wanaka and on the road to Treble Cone - say 25 minutes from here - and around 30 minutes or so from Cardrona - if you want to go skiing.

The architecture of the place is interesting in a modernist sort of way. The "living room" was extremely comfortable with a log fire in the centre of the room and spectacular views of the Lake and the mountains.

The rooms themselves did not quite justify the price of the hotel - they were large and comfortable but the fittings could be improved. My wife was unable to have a hot bath one evening because there was only cold water at the time - not sure why this happened given that we were the only people staying.

There is no doubt this place is expensive. For us, the price was justified by the food, the friendliness of the staff and chefs, the views and the fact that we had the place to ourselves. If money is of no object (and subject to some quibbles about the rooms), this is the place to stay in Wanaka. I would definitely return - would love to go to their chalet in the mountains - and would recommend Whare Kea to anyone with means.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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Heidelberg, Germany
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
111 helpful votes 111 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2011

During our three weeks vacations this sapcious 6 ****** Hotel was together with the
Split apple retreat simply the best. Charming service angles are always taking care of you. We stayed alone in ths wonderfull lodge, extra for us the cook came in and served us one michelin star quality food.

Gorgeous, unfortunately we have not seen something like this in Europe.

ABSOLUTELY PERFECT!!

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet

Address: 494 Mt. Aspiring Road | PO Box 115, Wanaka 9343, New Zealand
Phone Number:
Location: New Zealand > South Island > Otago Region > Wanaka
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service
Hotel Style:
#7 Romantic Hotel in Wanaka
#8 Luxury Hotel in Wanaka
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Whare Kea Lodge is a private retreat located on the shores of glacial Lake Wanaka in the South Island of New Zealand. The 6 room lakeside lodge has a perfect combination of expansive views and small-scale intimacy, sophistication and informality matched with fresh and innovative cuisine and superb service. Whare Kea Chalet is perched high (1750m) in the Southern Alps - a unique and exclusive hideaway that is accessed by helicopter only. All the comforts are elevated to the 2 bedroom mountain chalet - solar electricity, hot running water, comfy beds, divine cuisine, chalet host and mountain guide. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Whare Kea Hotel

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