Staycations are so last season, so pack your bags and hit the road. We’ve got a weekend getaway to suit your every need.
The Penthouse at Eichardt’s Private Hotel
Vibe: Eichardt’s has long been considered Queenstown’s premier lakefront address, and with panoramic views and 240m2 of spacious living areas (including an expansive terrace, complete with spa pool, fireplace and fully-equipped outdoor kitchen), the newly opened Penthouse is the jewel in its crown.
What’s included: From a chauffeur-driven Land Rover Discovery (which you can use throughout your stay), to a dedicated 24-hour butler and a private chef, The Penthouse experience is all about giving you what you want, when you want it. Pre-dinner cocktails served in-suite, or would you prefer Krug Champagne? The choice is yours, baby.
How much: $10,000 per night — so think hibernation destination, rather than just a bed to sleep in. But with a 140cm television, Netflix, and a Nespresso machine included among dozens of other high-end extras (ghd and Molton Brown goodies in the bathroom — hello!) why would you ever need to leave?
Wharekauhau Country Estate
Vibe: A scenic 1.5 hour drive from Wellington, nestled between the rugged Rimutaka ranges and the Palliser Bay coastline, Wharekauhau Country Estate comprises four luxury accommodation options spread across 2200 hectares of farmland. Hankering for an indulgent, winter weekend away? Opt for The Ultimate Package
What’s included: As well as three nights in a sumptuous Cottage Suite with drinks, canapes, and a nightly degustation dinner, The Ultimate Package entitles you to two 90-minute massages, a half-day guided farm tour, a full-day guided wine tour of the Martinborough region, and a private tasting of Martinborough Vineyard wines. Return transfers from Wellington Airport are included, or you can upgrade to a helicopter.
How much: $6855 for three nights between April and December. This rate effectively doubles from December until the end of March, which is all the more reason to make it a mid-winter treat.
Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat
Tallebudgera Valley, Queensland
Vibe: You’ll need your passport for this one, but the Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat is an essential getaway for the super-busy woman who knows she needs to slow down. Naturally, a seven-day stay is on our wish-list but if a quick fix is all your schedule allows, we recommend the restorative Gwinganna Wellness Weekend, which blends spa, movement and relaxation with delicious organic cuisine in a luxurious, low-tech environment.
What’s included: Two nights’ stylish eco accommodation, organic meals (including an evening glass of organic wine), a wellness seminar, and a 50-minute massage are all part of the package. On top of that, you can maximise the health benefits of your stay by participating in the morning Qi Gong sessions (an ancient Chinese art of promoting health by developing a harmonious relationship to nature) and taking the time to recentre yourself with yoga, or perhaps going on a daily bushwalk with the retreat’s resident botanist.
How much: Depending on your choice of living arrangements, the Gwinganna Wellness Weekend will cost you between $1000 and $1440. There are also weekend extension packages available.
Cape South Holistic Health and Wellness Retreat
Vibe: Located within the stunning, natural surroundings of Cape Kidnappers, Cape South is an experience designed to help you achieve your full physical, mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual potential. Promising up to four nights of complete relaxation, and the utmost in nurturing care from a team of qualified specialists, the Rest and Recharge package is our long-weekend pick.
What’s included: Three delicious, healthy meals per day? Tick. A daily massage or yoga session? Tick. A consultation with a qualified naturopath? Tick. For an additional cost, you can supplement your stay with a number of treatments and therapies including acupuncture, energy healing, guided meditation, kinesiology, reflexology, Tibetan Singing Bowl meditation, and transformational breathing.
How much: Flying solo? The Rest and Recharge package will set you back $950 per night. Or persuade your BFF to join you on your journey and split the $1700 per night twin-share option.
Off the Mapp
Vibe: At the historic Spray Point Station in the Marlborough high country, Off the Mapp boasts 2200 hectares of valleys, mountains, rivers and waterfalls. Four accommodation styles are available, but for the ultimate blend of history and charm, try the lovingly restored Cob Cottage.
What’s included: You won’t find a television in this self-catered cottage, or — gasp — an internet connection. Instead, explore the extensive property by foot, mountain bike, 4WD or helicopter. Try your hand hunting for goat, deer or wild boar, or do a spot of bird-watching if you’d prefer something more sedate. At the end of the day, take an outdoor shower or bath, and if you’re stuck for dinner ideas, don’t forget you’re only 40 minutes away from some of the region’s most famous wineries.
How much: Cob Cottage sleeps up to six guests for $495 per night.
River Birches Luxury lodge
Vibe: A low-slung, cedar-clad luxury retreat set within a peaceful garden, River Birches puts you at the centre of everything that Turangi has to offer. From trout fishing in the Tongariro River to hiking the famous Tongariro Crossing with an experienced mountain guide, River Birches can help you make the most of it all.
What’s included: Tempted to take on the renowned Tongariro Crossing? A pre-dawn departure will get you to the top of Red Crater to watch the sun rise — the magical light making for an extra-unforgettable experience. Upon returning to your luxury lodgings, refuel with a gourmet meal, pamper yourself with a well-earned massage, or simply wind down in your own cedar hot-tub with a glass or two of New Zealand wine. Bliss.
How much: Accommodation options range from $600 to $850 per night. A guided Tongariro Crossing experience will cost you extra.
Hotel QT Museum
Vibe: We get the appeal of going off the grid, but when the mood for hustle and bustle hits, Wellington is where you’ll find us. As a base for the ultimate shopping, culture and foodie weekend, the recently refurbished Hotel QT Museum Wellington cannot be beat.
What’s included: Spectacular harbour and city views remain a key selling-point of the design-driven Hotel QT Museum. Of course, you’re not in Wellington to sit in your room and stare out the window. Visiting before March 19? Make sure you catch the Cindy Sherman exhibition at Wellington City Gallery. Otherwise, spend the day indulging your shopping addiction at David Jones or one of the great Ghuznee Street boutiques (two we love are Caughley and Ena). For a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, visit Hannah’s Laneway, home to Six Barrel Soda and Fix and Fogg Peanut Butter, then hotfoot it to Five & Dime on Cuba Street. The restaurant is tiny (seating just 25 people) but it’s pumping out adventurous, flavoursome gastronomy that’s worthy of a major award or two.
How much: Rooms at the Hotel QT Museum begin at $409 per night. Your David Jones total is up to you.
King & Queen Hotel Suites
Vibe: Adjacent to the once-notorious White Hart Hotel and a cornerstone of New Plymouth’s multi-million dollar West End Precinct development, the architecturally designed King & Queen Hotel Suites reflect the artistry and international standards of the neighbouring boutiques, eateries and art galleries.
What’s included: With the world-renowned Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Len Lye Centre immediately across the road, you’ll likely come away with a new appreciation for (or at least, a new perspective on) contemporary art — for free, no less. Hungry? Insta-worthy meals from nearby restaurants Monica’s Eatery, Frederics, and Joe’s Garage can all be delivered to your room, or simply step outside and let your senses guide you.
How much: The ultra-stylish suites start at $180 per night.
This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2017 issue of Fashion Quarterly.