We drove (10 hours) from Christchurch and were totally blown away by the scenery. We thought we were nearly there at Queenstown but it was a further amazing drive along the lake, over 20 miles hardly seeing a building or other car, with the deep blue colour of the lake and the fantastic view to the mountains along the other side. We arrived and were warmly welcomed and shown about by the general manager.
The architecture of the building and furnishings are most impressive. There is a central lodge on three levels with bedrooms on the top, bar, lounges and restaurants in the middle and spa/games room at the bottom. There are also some suites in separate buildings. It is a most luxurious environment.
Our bedroom looked straight out across the lake. An unusual feature was a window that could be opened for ventilation but retaining an insect net. There were numerous lighting controls in the room which were good fun. The network was "free" and fast. The bathroom very very well appointed and spacious.
The main lodge, where our room was, is spaced about 100 yards from the lake. A Squirrel helicopter comes once or twice a day to collect people going to Milford Sound. The hotel also has a montrously powerful speedboat which does trips up the Dart River -it was the only boat we saw on the lake which must be about 40 square miles. There is a grass strip next to the hotel and we took a trip in a Cessna Caravan to Milford in order to go on a boat there. The flights both ways were absolutely magnificent.
The grounds are huge and there are so few guests that you never bump into anyone. If you want a swim, it is just you, if you want a walk along the lake likewise. If you go to Milford Sound it is just 4 of you in the plane and you can sit next to the pilot.
In the evenings, everyone would meet in the bar before dinner and socialise, which we found unusual but got used to and enjoyed it: everyone is extremely excited to tell all about the magnificent day they have had.
We do not know whether it has any awards, but we would guess the meals are at somewhere between one and two Michelin stars. The wine list has an enormous variety of NZ wines.
The staff are just brilliant. Very, very polite and helpful.
It is a pretty expensive place but special and you only live once.
It is worth going.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This stunning backcountry retreat sits on the lakeshore 45 minutes outside Queenstown in the Southern Alps New Zealand. Lofty beamed ceilings, rock fireplaces and vast picture windows frame the heroic stone and timber lodge housing the Great Room, Den, Game Room, Gym, spa and several indoor/outdoor dining venues.Thirteen rooms offer every conceivable amenity. Activities include an outdoor lap pool, bush walks, fly-fishing, jet boating, horse riding and scenic heli-flights ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Blanket Bay Hotel Queenstown