Sally-Ann Mullin and Megan Bedford spend 48 hours hosted by DoubleTree by Hilton Queenstown tasting local fare, drinking Central Otago Pinot Noir and giving their best impressions of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in The Trip.
If you’re anything like us, opportunities to get away sans children and adult responsibilities are few and far between, so we leaped at the chance when offered a 48 hour express getaway to beautiful Queenstown in winter. Girl’s weekend away 2.0 here we come!
FRIDAY: FLIGHT, 7:20pm
We leave work on Friday at 5pm with ample time to valet park and grab a post-work tipple pre-flight. Hilarity ensues as we harass each other for both packing full 24 kg suitcases even though we are to be away for a mere 48 jaunt. It’s good to have sartorial options though, amiright?
FRIDAY: TOUCHDOWN IN QUEENSTOWN, 9:10pm
It’s always good to divide and conquer, so Megan fetches the bags while I collect our rental car. A quick outfit change into an ensemble of the outerwear we buy but seldom get to wear in balmy Auckland, and we’re off. Packing the suitcases into the tiny rented hatch is pretty laughable. Why have we brought so many clothes?! Old habits die hard.
FRIDAY: CHECK IN AT DOUBLETREE BY HILTON QUEENSTOWN, 9:40pm
DoubleTree by Hilton Queenstown is situated in the heart of Kawarau Village on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, and even in the dead of night under the stars we can make out the faint outline of the spectacular views of surrounding mountain ranges shimmering on the water. I can’t wait to wake up here. On arrival to the hotel, we are greeted by a friendly night porter who checks us in and shows us to our room. We’re in a twin share for the weekend which feels a little like school camp; single beds in a shared room for us but it’s definitely the economical option and will give us more to spend during a must-do visit to the local retail scene or while you partake in the many winter sports on offer. We slip into something more comfortable *ahem* (read: winter pyjamas and bed socks) and investigate the welcome bottle of Central Otago Pinot Noir and macaroons in the living area. It would be rude not to crack this hospitable offer open right? We order room service (we’ll take the club sandwiches for two thanks) and settle in for some pinot and a few giggles.
SATURDAY: RISE AND SHINE, 9am
After a respectable sleep-in for the mothers of young children, we wake up to the most glorious clear day with views of snow-capped mountains and head down to the DoubleTree by Hilton Queenstown’s waterfront Wakatipu Grill for buffet breakfast, strong coffee and an impromptu photoshoot on the jetty. It’s a beautiful day and we are very relaxed and happy.
SATURDAY: LUNCH AT AMISFIELD BISTRO AND CELLAR, 12pm
After an approximate 20 minute journey via taxi – and full of local knowledge after vigorous banter from our 80-year-old driver who has taken a shine to Megan – we arrive at Amisfield, the producer of our favourite Pinot Noir, and settle in for the infamous Trust the Chef dining experience, a 3-course wine-matched tasting menu. Sitting outside, laughing, and enjoying the crisp air and southern light, we feel completely relaxed and to be honest it’s hard to believe we only left home 18 hours ago. We draw parallels to The Trip as we critique the food, hassle each other about everything we can think of and laugh the afternoon away in this magical setting. We hit the retail arm on the way out and giggle as our bags full of wine clink as we walk away.
SATURDAY: MASSAGE, 3:30pm
Back to DoubleTree by Hilton Queenstown to change clothing, regroup and prepare for more relaxation. Megan and I head down to eforea: spa at the Hilton to partake in 60 minutes of massage heaven. I’m not sure if it’s due to the enthusiastic wine sampling at Amisfield or the ambient soundtrack and candlelit room, but the next hour or so is slightly hazy as I may or may not have fallen asleep on the table. We head back to our room to shower and get ready to head out for dinner.
SATURDAY: PRE-DINNER COCKTAIL, 6:30pm
Cru Wine bar at DoubleTree by Hilton Queenstown is the perfect après ski spot for refreshment after a day on the hill. In our serious state of relaxation, we opt for something punchy to give us a spring in our step for the rest of the evening.
SATURDAY: DINNER AT WAKATIPU GRILL, 7:30pm
Somehow we manage another three-course wine-matched meal and I suspect I won’t need to eat again for at least 3 or 4 days when we return to Auckland! The food is great but the conversation is better and we vow to take these weekends away more often.
SATURDAY: BOAT RIDE AND A NIGHT CAP, 9pm
We have both been told that the fairly new addition to the Queenstown bar scene Attiqa is the place to head for a nightcap. So we catch a water taxi across the lake in Queenstown central, an experience in itself in the crisp evening. We disembark and meander off to the sundeck and for an end-of-evening espresso martini. Needless to say, these were famous last words as we somehow go on to dance until the wee hours.
SUNDAY: MORNING SLEEP-IN
We forgo the option have breakfast in bed as both are completely full from the eight or nine courses we have had the day before and instead relish in the extra time to sleep-in. Sunday sleep-ins… This is what weekends such is this are made for.
SUNDAY: BIKE TRAIL, 10am
Time to blow out last night’s cobwebs. I’ll be honest here, I am that person with her sunglasses on inside as we’re signing up for our hired bikes and Megan is doing the talking but it’s safe to say both are relieved when we learn they are mountain bikes with the option to be electric should we need it. We bike around the lake and snap photos and laugh along the way. By the time we return the hangover has completely left the building and it’s time to check out.
SUNDAY: RETAIL THERAPY, QUEENSTOWN EDITION, 1:30pm
Considering we are fashion media, a little light retail therapy counts as research don’t you agree? Angel Divine never ceases to amaze me with an expert selection of the majority of my favourite NZ labels and owner Natalie Newland’s own label NEWLANDS.
SUNDAY: LATE LUNCH AT BESPOKE KITCHEN
A local fave, we nab a park directly outside and enjoy a turmeric shot with our poached eggs and smashed edamame beans.
SUNDAY: A QUICK WALK ALONG THE LAKE BEFORE WE LEAVE
To capture the perfect photo opportunities obvs!
We fly home and arrive just in time to cook dinner for our respective families feeling refreshed, revitalized and probably with one or two happily received laugh lines.