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Providing you with the inside word on the newest and most exciting luxury travel experiences around New Zealand and the world, along with keeping you informed of our updates, travel tips, and upcoming events.

In The Spotlight: Wanaka

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Last week a couple of the team ventured over the hill from Queenstown to Wanaka to visit some of our favourite villas in the area from our Premium Residences & Mega Villa Collection. Only a 1-hour drive from Queenstown CBD, Wanaka is the quieter sister to the adventure capital in the south. With boutique stores, stunning wineries, some of our favourite and most exclusive experiences on offer, and let’s not forget the lake and mountain views, Wanaka offers a slice of lakeside luxury away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Whether you’re thinking about a fully family getaway, a romantic retreat for two, a celebration with friends, or simply for a dreamy spot to take some well-deserved R&R, Wanaka and our Premium Residences & Mega Villa Collection have something to suit your every need, want, and desire.

So here we have – Five of the most exclusive stays to find in your very own backyard.

1.      Mahu Whenua

2.      Whare Kea Lodge

3.      Mt Isthmus

4.      The Dacha

5.      Cardrona Terraces

 

Mahu Whenua

This luxurious high-country homestead offers a unique lodge-style accommodation just 20 minutes’ drive from Wanaka or 10 minutes by helicopter from Queenstown. From the moment you arrive at Mahu Whenua you’ll instantly know that you are somewhere special. In complete privacy, the Homestead boasts captivating views of Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains. Behind the Homestead and stables extends an immense land of classic New Zealand scenery – grand mountains, alpine lakes, meandering rivers and winding valleys.

With five luxurious Ridgeline Suites that can sleep up to 12 guests, Mahu Whenua offers individual suites as well as being available for exclusive use. The outdoor terrace is the perfect spot for entertaining. The private pool and pool toys will be sure to keep the children entertained as the adult sit back for a long BBQ lunch served in the gardens.

If you’re looking for a romantic escape, the Tui Suite is a must at Mahu Whenua. A dreamy bathtub overlooking the mountains is the perfect spot to relax with a glass of bubbles after a day exploring Wanaka.

Whare Kea Lodge

Whare Kea is a timeless retreat, providing luxury accommodation on the shores of Lake Wanaka, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Southern Alps. Located only ten minutes’ drive from Wanaka’s town centre, time seems to slow and opportunities unfold.

The experience at Whare Kea is bespoke and versatile – on the one hand a base for adventure big or small in the wilds of Wanaka and the wider Central Otago region, on the other a safe and peaceful haven.

Nestled above Lake Wanaka and secluded from view, guests have exclusive access to this piece of paradise.

With timeless interior styling, the lodge is positioned to bask in the stunning vistas and the sun. Designed for relaxation, and with plenty of space, the lodge accommodates up to 12 guests. Features include a private hot tub, heli-pad, private access to Lake Wanaka, and a games room complete with pool table and mini bar.

Mt Isthmus

The newest addition to The Lindis Group, Mt Isthmus is one that has to been seen to be believed. Sitting on a 7000 acre station, the villa looks out over Lake Hawea — which is one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets. Rugged and steep mountain ranges climb straight out of the lake’s shores on all sides, and with some of the clearest waters in the country it really is a sight to be savoured.

As is typical with The Lindis Group properties, the villa leaves nothing to be desired. The four suites are the epitome of luxury with super king-size beds; each with an ensuite, the latest in interior furnishings and views that make waking up an unforgettable experience.

The dining facilities are of the highest standard with a state-of-the-art kitchen and with the luxury of having our chefs take care of your meals providing five-star service and creatively refined menus.

Sandwiched between two gorgeous glacial lakes, and with Mt Isthmus looming over our shoulders, it can be quite easy to forget the world exists outside our premium villa experience.

The Dacha

One of our favourites in our Collection must be The Dacha. Only 10 minutes’ drive from Wanaka, The Dacha gives a sense of living inside a watercolour painting. As you walk along the long corridor and turn into the lounge, the unforgettable views over Lake Wanaka really do hit you with a WOW.

With retractable doors stretching the length of the property, The Dacha has an effortless flow throughout. The open plan living, dining, kitchen, and ‘outdoor’ BBQ makes for a dream place to entertain guests.

Between the master, two queen suites, and two double bunk rooms (sleeping 8), The Dacha is the perfect spot for a multigenerational getaway. The separate living space also provides and extra space for the kids to relax as the adults enjoy a hosted dinner on the long terrace by the pool.

With the additional Banya only a stones throw from the main property, this separate unit offers a slice of privacy for guests to join your break away. With a small kitchenette, private bathroom, lounge and mini terrace, The Banya is available separately from The Dacha for a romantic weekend break.

Cardona Terraces

Last stop for the day was Cardrona Terraces. Only a ten-minute drive from Wanaka this exquisite hunting lodge oozes finesse and flair from the moment you enter the long driveway. Drawing inspiration from the early Spanish Missions of California, the property has an eclectic range of characteristics rarely found in New Zealand. The architecture is harmoniously paired with an ultra-premium, yet cozy interior design.

Positioned on 42 acres (17 hectares) of land, Cardona Terraces benefits from ultimate privacy within tranquil surrounds. The grandeur of the property starts from the moment of arrival, with large wooden doors providing entry to the dramatic central atrium.

With six-bedroom suits available, a large outdoor terrace, a separate whisky room, two lounges and a long dining table, Cardrona Terraces is the ultimate spot for those looking for active days out in the mountains, followed by a fully hosted lodge experience.

Tempted by wonderful Wanaka? Talk to Jacqui and the team today and let us show you something new in New Zealand.

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In the Spotlight: The Elms at Lake Hayes Collection

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The luxury of traveling domestically means that a getaway is only a short flight or drive away. With Waitangi Day and the long weekend fast approaching (I can’t believe it’s February already!), it’s time to get planning - no matter how last minute it feels.

We're here to make things easy, booking everything from your luxury accommodation and exclusive experiences to your massage, dinner table, and even stocking your pantry pre-arrival – all you have to do is round up the family and book the flights.

Not sure where to start? We have a feeling The Elms at Lake Hayes Collection will inspire you to visit Queenstown this long weekend. With space to sleep 24 guests over three separate yet adjoining lakefront apartments, space is of no concern. What’s more, we are now offering up to 40% off on stays at The Elms at Lake Hayes Villa One and Villa Two from now through to the Easter Holidays (with flexible T&C's to cover your Covid-concerns).

It’s about making memories with the family, indulging in the endless summer sun, and taking back some of the time and money you lost in 2020.

So here we have it, a sneak peak at where you could be spending this Waitangi long weekend:

A Spotlight on The Elms at Lake Hayes Collection:

Location:

Only a seven-minute drive from Arrowtown, 10 minutes from Queenstown Airport, and 20 minutes from Queenstown CBD, The Elms at Lake Hayes Collections is in a truly prime location. Overlooking stunning Lake Hayes, Coronet Peak and Remarkable Ski Field, this collection of three separate yet adjoining apartments offer lake front luxury like no other. Whether you are a wine lover, active hiker, skier, foodie, or simply looking to take some R&R, The Elms at Lake Hayes is the perfect spot for it all.  

The Villas:

The Elms at Lake Hayes Villa One (ground floor) – 3x super king bedroom suites with ensuite bathrooms

The Elms at Lake Hayes Villa Two (middle floor) – 3x super king bedroom suites, 1x bunk room (2x doubles, 2x singles), all with ensuite bathrooms

The Elms at Lake Hayes Villa Three (top floor) – 3x super king bedroom suites with ensuite bathrooms

Villa One Living area

Meander through the gardens from the driveway to the shared foyer and retreat from your day as you gaze at the mountain scape.

Each apartment has its own unique qualities that seamlessly blend with the surrounding forestry and bushland – a real sense of living in a water colour painting. The apartments ooze finesse and flare, open living areas, multiple bedroom and bathroom suites, cinema rooms and hot tubs.

Villa one bedroom suite

With Villa One sleeping 8 guests, Villa Two sleeping 10, and Villa Three sleeping 8, space really is of no concern. Whether you’re looking for one, two or all three apartments, every guest will experience a luxurious bedroom suite, each complete with ensuite bathroom, stunning lake views they can’t wait to wake up to, and all the lotions and potions to make for an unforgettable stay.   

Villa Two balcony and private hot tub

Each apartment features an open plan living, dining and kitchen area – making hosting guests a breeze. With large retractable doors lining the living areas, guests can enjoy a real sense of ease with effortless inside to outside flow. From every living area are lies the crème de la crème in lakefront balconies. Stretching the full length of the properties, each floor has a private outdoor living area complete with outdoor fire, lounge, and dining space. Villa Two also features a private hot tub perfect for sinking into as the sun goes down.

Villa Three balcony & lounge

Experience The Elms at Lake Hayes:

With direct access to the Lake Hayes Loop Track straight from the property, take advantage of the quiet mornings with a light stroll starting your day just right. The Collection is also only a five-minute walk from the renowned Amisfield Vineyard and Bistro – perfect for a long lunch in the sun, as well as neighboring Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan being only a 10-minute walk from your front door. We have a feeling that between Arrowtown and Queenstown CBD, your taste buds will be truly spoiled.

*Touch of Spice' Tip: Wet Jacket Summer Sessions is a must!

One of our favorite spots only a short drive or 15-minute walk from The Elms at Lake Hayes must be Wet Jacket Winery – especially on a sunny Saturday or Sunday afternoon. All throughout summer Wet Jacket Summer Sessions are delivering delicious wine, live music, fresh local food from A Divine Dish, lawn games to keep the kids (and adults) busy, and friendly staff who are there to really make it an easy, breezy day. (You’ll no doubt find one of the Touch of Spice team there most weekends!)

4 Day Wellness & Wine Short Break at The Elms

Looking for more inspiration? Our exclusive 4 Day Wellness & Wine Short Break includes a stay at The Elms at Lake Hayes, private yoga sessions on the balcony, exclusive access to some of Gibbston Valley’s secret cellar doors, private art gallery tours in Arrowtown, and delicious food and wine to really soothe the soul. Find out more here.

Tempted? Talk to the team today to find out more about exclusive summer specials and packages for this long weekend or any other.

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Auckland 2021: The City of Sails

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Watch The Match Super Yacht Charter Final Race from Sea Breeze lll

We don’t know about you, but we can’t wait to be on the water amidst all the excitement, watching the Yacht Racing in what is set to be the most spectacular international event of the year in our very own City of Sails.

Want to join us?

The Hauraki Gulf will explode with excitement and adrenaline as the world-class sportsmen compete for victory and you can be there to witness the finals of the yacht racing from the exclusive flagged VIP viewing area onboard Sea Breeze lll.

With individual tickets available for an exclusive private package on 10th March (race 3), this all-inclusive experience onboard New Zealand's leading luxury charter boat is an unbeatable opportunity.

What’s included?

  • 8 hours of fully inclusive luxury hospitality on newly refitted superyacht - Sea Breeze III
  • Close viewing as Sea Breeze III will be flagged as an official approved charter vessel.
  • Situated in a prime position in the Viaduct Harbour, the heart of the yacht racing action.
  • Unlimited beverage package that includes a selection of beer, wine, soft drinks & a choice of two cocktails.
  • Sumptuous lunch by The Oyster Inn.
  • D.J during arrival and lunch.
  • A spectacular harbour cruise as Sea Breeze heads to the racecourse.
  • Grazing platters throughout the racing.
  • Large T.V screens to view the live race, over two levels.
  • Gold Zinc Sunscreen stick for every guest.
  • An incredibly special experience that is not to be missed.

Having undergone an extensive refit, be one of the first onboard this beautiful and classic superyacht that showcases the very best in craftsmanship.

Get in touch with the team today to find out more about availability and package pricing.

We can’t wait to see you there!

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In The Spotlight: Ladena, Queenstown

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Our first blog of the new year! Now that we’ve said ‘C’ you later 2020, it’s time we get back to thinking ahead – and what better way to do that than getting a sneak peek at some of our Premium Residences & Mega Villas.

The Premium Residences & Mega Villas Collection by Touch of Spice offers luxurious stays you didn’t even know were possible. With many featuring private golf courses, in-house spas, private wine cellars, heli-pads, international size tennis courts, private jetty’s, exclusive beaches, and art collections that rival some of the world’s top art houses – these homes really are in a luxurious league of their own.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing our experiences staying in some of New Zealand’s finest private villas, luxury lodges and unique destinations, exploring not only the in-house experiences, but also looking at what our trusted expert guides are offering – think of it as an insider’s guide to New Zealand by those who know how to do ‘it’ right.

First into the spotlight: Ladena

Location:

Located on Queenstown hill in the heart of the CBD (10-minute drive from Queenstown Airport), Ladena is the ultimate escape for a weekend away with friends. Feel the buzz of Queenstown ooze it’s way up the hill as you pull into the private drive overlooking Lake Wakitipu and the Remarkable Mountains. Set in one of the most desirable locations in the South Island, Ladena gets the sun throughout summer, whilst only being a short drive from the ski fields in winter. Walking distance from Queenstown’s buzzing bar and restaurant scene (talk to the team for some tips), Ladena makes leaving the car at home an easy option (although the walk back up the hill after a glass of wine or two might be a bit more challenging – but we can organize a chauffeur for that!)

The Villa:

Walking in the front door, you will be welcomed by a bright and airy staircase and elevator - and the welcomed feeling of being in the ultimate home away from home. Meander down the stairs to the first floor, enjoying the exquisite art throughout the entrance way (and whole property) and prepare to get lost in the vast space that this central villa offers. Naturally, you’ll be drawn straight ahead by the unimaginable lake and mountain views served up from the open plan kitchen, dining area, and two lounges. This space is perfect for hosting a chef prepared dinner for friends – we can see it now - the canapes and champagne being served throughout as you mingle with your nearest and dearest.

To the right of the kitchen, we have the outdoor seating area and firepit – perfect for summer evenings and a cosy winter après ski. With large retractable doors, Ladena offers great inside/ outside flow, as well as an additional chefs’ kitchen and bar, making hosting an absolute breeze.

With five bedrooms split across three floors (each with an ensuite), 10 guests have ample space to spread out, enjoy some quite time, and retreat after busy days exploring. Each with their own unique interior, the bedroom suites also feature floor so ceiling windows with views you just can’t wait to wake up to. With private balconies leading off the bedroom suites, guests have the perfect hidden spots to curl up with a book.

The private hot tub is at the back of the property. Pop a bottle of bubbles and sink in for the best sunset seats in town. Finish your evening off relaxing in the media room, winding down with a glass of Central Otago’s finest.

Experience Ladena:

As with all our Premium Residences & Mega Villas, Touch of Spice are here to make your stay an unforgettable one. Whether it’s having a private chef on hand, an inhouse masseuse on call, a butler keeping your bubbles topped up, or a private chauffeur parked in the drive, we can organize everything you would ever need. We understand that sometimes guests just want to enjoy being in the villa, which is why we have our little black book of contacts who can come to you. Enjoy a private wine tasting by the outdoor fire with an expert sommelier – sampling and sipping some of New Zealand’s most exclusive wines or relax with a private yoga session on one of the many balconies. Want an on-call ping pong player? We’ve made that happen too.

Experience Queenstown:

The home of adventure! Queenstown is our very own playground and we know the Kiwi’s who know how to serve it up in a truly epic style. From gaining access to some of the regions most exclusive cellar doors to squeeze the grape yourself, to heli hiking, biking and skiing, there’s something to suit everyone.

A personal favourite must be visiting Ben Nevis Station - A High-Country adventure like no other. Experience the thrill, excitement, and adrenaline rush as you conquer diverse terrain on a four-wheel drive buggy. Get geared up and prepared for a bit of dust, mud, and a ton of fun. Once at the station, learn a new skill with clay target shooting and archery. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, coaches are on hand to help you hit the target. Next up, take a seat next to New Zealand's very own World Rally Car Champ, Hayden Paddon and experience life in the fast lane. Finish your day of adventure with a gourmet dinner and a glass of local Pinot Noir. If that doesn’t sound like a dream day in Queenstown, we don’t know what does!

Tempted? Talk to the team today and experience Ladena like never before.

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How to spend more time in 2021

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The new year is life’s very own crisp, clean and brand-new diary…365 days of opportunities, adventure, and excitement! With all that went on in 2020, it’s safe to say we all jumped at the chance to press ‘ctrl-alt-delete’ and ‘refresh’ on New Year’s Day. 2021 brings a whole new year into view and now is the time to decide what you will write on the pages of this shiny new chapter.

After what can only be described as ‘the year we can’t wait to forget’, Jacqui and the team took a well needed break over the Christmas period – something that in our 16-years has never happened! This pause gave us the time to recharge, refocus and most importantly, reflect. In 2020, we saw many changes to life. We refined our offering to a portfolio of the creme de le creme of Private Residences & Mega Villas throughout New Zealand. We adapted to working from home – where balancing kids, laundry, and work are the ‘new normal’. We watched our New Zealand borders close and the industry we love and live for fight to stay alive. We strengthened our relationships with our amazing partners and experience providers who we know follow our passion and care for our clients. And most importantly, we learnt the importance in how we choose to spend our time.

Whether it’s spending more quality time with the family, getting active, disconnecting to reconnect, tasting new flavours, taking that well needed (and deserved) you time, or exploring new destinations – 2020 taught us to appreciate the time and freedom we have in our own backyard. 2021 is now the year to make the changes and make them stick!

Need some inspiration? Our team have been thinking of exactly how we plan to spend our time in 2021 - in and around helping you of course! 

Spend more time…

With the family

2021 is the year to take that well deserved family getaway you’ve been putting off. If lockdown restrictions and border closures taught us anything, it’s to take the bull by the horns when it comes to the freedom to travel. With more and more families choosing to travel together, grandparents to grandchildren, where you spend that time is more important than ever. Finding the ultimate home from home has never been easier with the premium Residence & Mega Villa Collection by Touch of Spice. Let the kids run wild on the lawn, eat breakfast in your boardshorts and let a private chef to all the hard work for you. It’s about spending quality time with those that matter most – now that’s the real luxury!

 

Getting Active

Whether you’re already biker, hiker, skier, or gym goer, or looking for an opportunity to challenge your fitness, New Zealand has something to suit everyone. Join our private guides on some of New Zealand’s untouched lands and go above and beyond in 2021. Soar to the top of Mount Soho ski field for a day shredding the slopes in one of New Zealand's best kept secrets. Skip the chairlift queue and enjoy a state-of-the-art snowcat with specially designed heated cabins. Or join your private guide on one of the many surrounding walking tracks in Queenstown - some even the locals don't know about! Listen to the stories of your guide, take in the views and get a real sense of being in the wild. Want to go further? Take a private heli to a remote mountain peak and hike along the ridge line for an unforgettable experience and a feeling of being on top of the world. After a day on your feet, treat yourself to a private hot pool at Onsen. Relax under the stars with a glass of bubbles and let the day’s activities melt away. Getting active never seemed so appealing!

 

Taking that you time

It’s safe to say 2020 took its toll on all of us. Our mental wellbeing has well and truly been brought to the forefront, resulting in a drastic jump in travel for health and wellness. Why? Because we all deserve a little R&R. 2021 is the time to take that well needed (and deserved) break with a luxurious yet healthy experience on Waiheke Island. Indulge in a 3-day, two night experience designed to give you the time and space to really slow down, relax and revive yourself. This all-inclusive package includes a stay at one of Waiheke's most luxurious accommodation providers, all meals, yoga classes, transfers, and plenty of luxury toiletries for pampering. It is time to do something for you.

 

Experiencing ultimate escapism

Dive into something new this year. Our Super Yacht & Private Island portfolio offers everything from fully staffed yachts complete with every water-toy imaginable, to remote island retreats where sandy beaches, turquoise lagoons and breath-taking beauty surround you. This hand selected portfolio offers escapism like you've never experienced before. From Lake Wakatipu to the Bay of Islands and Fiji, your options are endless. It’s about doing something new in destinations unexplored.

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Exploring Abel Tasman with Jacqui Spice

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A few weeks ago, our Founder and managing Director Jacqui Spice stepped away from the Covid-chaos of 2020 to explore the remote and stunning Abel Tasman – where although there was wifi, turning ‘off’ was made a little easier. A region not as regularly traveled by Jacqui, the opportunity was taken to explore some of the areas hidden gems, spend some well overdue time with the family, and reconnect with some of the area’s best suppliers along the way – a well needed break with just a touch of business.

The Highlights

From Luxury Accommodation, to delicious chef prepared meals, and private heli-excursions, the best of Abel tasman and Nelson was served up in spectacular fashion by the Kiwi’s that know it inside and out. With unforgettable views from air, land and sea, space to clear the head from the comfort of a luxurious mega villa, and an old school Pac-Man Galactica to keep the kids amused, Abel Tasman has something to suit everyone.

Accommodation: Falcon Brae Villa

A visit to Abel Tasman would not be complete without a stay at Falcon Brae Villa at Stonefly Lodge. With three stunning bedroom suites and a large bunk room, Falcon Brae Villa offers ample space for 10 guests.

‘We really couldn’t fault the experience at all.  The two Master Suites are massive and so awesome to rest and relax in offering ultimate privacy.  One could be very happy in a Master Suite for a few days not needing to leave.’

The architecturally designed contemporary residence, features a large central lounge area with a 5 metre ceiling, sunken bar (with delicious cocktail bottles), mini grand piano, media theatre, commercial kitchen, 3 dining areas and a stunning collection of New Zealand and local art.  Directly in front of the Helipad Terrace, guests can relax in the “Games Den” housing modern gym equipment, pool table, table tennis, darts and a games table. The large deck space overlooks the mountains and river, featuring a pool & outdoor heated spa, barbeque area for outdoor dining and entertaining with a shaded pergola.

Falcon Brae Villa is completely off the grid with solar panels providing all the power required. Centrally located between 3 major National Parks the Falcon Brae Villa is an ideal luxury private retreat, of the highest of standards, providing easy access to all the major activities in the Nelson -Tasman Region.

Food & Wine: Falcon Brae Villa

With Breakfast and dinner catered for by your private inhouse chef, you really don’t have to think about anything. The Breakfast spread includes everything from fruit, muffins, and what ever hot option you’d like, alongside freshly brewed coffee and squeezed juices, making for the perfect start to the day.

Pre-dinner canapes are served alongside drinks before the main three-course diner is served. The daily menu is discussed with the chefs earlier in the day, ensuring the feast serves up something to catered to every flavour.

‘Every meal was incredible- some of the best and freshest seasonal food we’ve been served in New Zealand with stunning views on the side’

Experiences: Helicopters Nelson

A must do with the whole family is The Best of Both Worlds Tour with Helicopters Nelson. Experience Able Tasman from the water and the air in a private heli and on a privately charted boat. With luscious greenery, turquoise bays, and white sandy beaches, this trip is one to leave you feeling truly spoilt!

Offering heli-hiking, heli-fishing, heli-biking, vineyard tours and horse trekking, Helicopters Nelson can cater to your every request.

‘It was fantastic! Unbelievable and unforgettable experience’

Natural beauty at its finest

Beyond the private-heli, boats and luxurious lodge, Able Tasman offers something truly incredible – it’s natural beauty. One of New Zealand’s smallest national parks, Abel Tasman is the perfect destination for both relaxation and adventure. A coastal paradise choose between sinking your toes into the white sandy beach at Te Puketea Bay or spotting the fur seals lounging on the rocks at the edge of Tonga Island. Want to know more? Talk to the team today.

If Abel Tasman wasn’t already on your bucket list, it must be now!

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Business Update: Let's Talk About The 'C' Word

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I’m pretty sure no-one needs to be reminded that 2020 didn’t pan out quite as planned - with much of the world still in (and out) of lockdown, we can’t help but feel incredibly lucky to live in New Zealand – and despite it only being a month away, Christmas isn’t the ‘C’ word we’re talking about!

For Touch of Spice, the ‘C’ word has been about ‘Change’ – and with change often comes exciting opportunities.  We have always strived to set ourselves apart and carve our own niche in the luxury tourism industry here in New Zealand - and with all the change that has come about this year, we are once again taking the bull by the horns. 2020 was gearing up to be our biggest year on record, and then, we (like so many others) had the rug pulled out from underneath us. We were forced to reduce the team to reduce the overheads, we vacated our glamorous office space with its big windows and great mountain views and adapted to working from home – where kids, chaos, laundry, dirty dishes, barking dogs and a glass of wine (or two) are daily occurrences in our new-working lives.

The happenings of this year also gave me the time to contemplate the future of Touch of Spice which is something I didn’t always have. We have always been known as the market leaders for our amazing luxury villa portfolio teamed with an wide array of curated experiences and extensive concierge services – we have received many awards and accolades over the years both for our performance as a luxury operator and our portfolio of luxury stays. However, thanks to Covid-19 it's been pretty quiet on these shores and it's meant a ‘change’ to the business model was needed.

One element of our ‘change’ was partnering with Amazing Accom who going forward will market and manage The Private Villa Collection tier of accommodation we have always offered - while we here at Touch of Spice focus on managing and marketing The Residence CollectionLuxury Lodge Collection of properties which is a bespoke portfolio of the crème de la crème in luxury accommodation throughout New Zealand.  We will continue to offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences working with our long term partners who we trust, and who share our values, and who we know will take very good care of you.

We would like to take this opportunity to assure our clients and partners from across the globe that Touch of Spice as a luxury tourism brand and business isn’t going anywhere! We will continue to provide luxury in a league of its own to both our domestic and international clients, remaining the leader in luxury stays and experiences throughout the South Pacific.

So whether you’re looking to escape this Christmas or planning ahead to New Zealand’s borders opening (hopefully in the not too far future), Touch of Spice are ready to make ‘it’ happen.

From Jacqui and the team – we hope to see you soon!

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Did Someone Say R&R?

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And just like that we’re mid-way through November! I want to say where has the year gone, but I think we can all agree that 2020 is a year we can’t wait to forgive and forget. But as always, we have to keep thinking about everything that we can do, not what we can’t, and here in New Zealand we have the freedom to travel domestically, to getaway with family and friends and most importantly, we have the luxury to take that well needed and deserved you time.

With summer and Christmas just around the corner, now is the time to take that ‘pre silly season’ break, to turn your mind off, and let us do all the thinking for you. Whether you’re dreaming about escaping to the tranquil mountains in the South Island or relaxing on a private slice of paradise in the north, we have the perfect experiences to leave you feeling refreshed, revived and relaxed.

Need some inspiration? Check out some of our favourite R&R experiences below. Got something totally unique in mind? Tell us all about it – we know how to make ‘it’ happen!

Hike & Hot Pools in Queenstown

It's time to get active! Join your private guide on one of the many surrounding walking tracks in Queenstown - some even the locals don't know about! Listen to the stories of your guide, take in the views and get a real sense of being in the wild. Want to go further? Take a private heli to a remote mountain peak and hike along the ridge line for an unforgettable experience and a feeling of being on top of the world. After a day on your feet, treat yourself to a private hot pool at Onsen. Relax under the stars with a glass of bubbles and let the days activities melt away.

Wind down on Waiheke Island

It's time to take that well needed (and deserved) break with a luxurious yet healthy experience on Waiheke Island. This 3 day, two night experience is designed to give you the time and space to really slow down, relax and revive yourself. This all-inclusive package includes a stay at one of Waiheke's most luxurious accommodation providers, all meals, yoga classes, transfers and plenty of luxury toiletries for pampering. It's time to do something for you.

Tee-off, Spa on – Bay of Islands (Kauri Cliffs)

One for the golf lovers.Take to Kauri Cliffs - a par 72 championship golf course measuring 7,119 yards / 6,510 metres and offering five sets of tees to challenge every skill level. The beautiful inland holes wind through marsh, forest and farmland. Kauri Cliffs is currently ranked #39 in the world by Golf Digest Top 100 Greatest Golf Courses in the World. After a morning on the green, take to the main lodge for a relaxing spa afternoon complete with massage, facial and stunning views all round.

Waves, Wine and Dine – Muriwai

Jump in a luxurious Land Rover with your private guide and drive from Auckland to the stunning Piha Beach through the scenic Waitakere Ranges on the West Coast. Explore the black sand beach of Piha before your private surf lesson and experience why Piha Beach is famous for its surf. Are you a beginner? Not to worry - your guide will be on hand to show you the ropes and have you riding the waves in no time. Finish the day with a private chef prepared dinner on the beach, paired perfectly with New Zealand wines and a picture-perfect sunset.

Aro Ha Wellness Retreat – Glenorchy

Designed to regenerate your body and mind, Aro Ha’s programs are based on research that suggests we can fundamentally transform our physical and emotional health through our daily habits. From mindfulness to healing bodywork, Aro Ha encourages you to switch off from technology and renew your awareness. Navigating between group and solo activities, you’ll learn to balance solitude and community for wellbeing and clarity. Expect your body to become lean, strong, and flexible, as your mind becomes calm, clear, and present. You are simply required to show up, be present, and allow the experience to unveil your inherent potential.

Wellness & Wine – The Elms at Lake Hayes Villa two

Roll out of bed in the luxury of your own private villa at The Elms at Lake Hayes Villa Two, breathe in the mountain air and the smell of fresh coffee. Leave the real world behind you as you stretch and de-stress with a private yoga session overlooking the lake followed by a relaxing in-house massage. In the afternoon head over to Mount Edward Organic Cellar Door – by private appointment only – for your exclusive Touch of Spice wine experience. Peer into wine barrels, squeeze handfuls of grapes and taste the wine as it changes over time – an experience not to be missed. Looking for something in the evening? Take the short 5-minute stroll from your private villa along to Amisfield Winery and Bistro for a degustation dinner and wine paring to finish your day off in true style.

Whatever relaxation means to you, we have something to suit. Talk to the team today to find out more.

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Above & Beyond Heli Experiences

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We might not be able to fly internationally just yet but there’s nothing stopping us soaring above and beyond in our own beautiful backyard. Whether you’re looking for a remote paradise island to call your own for the day, thinking about a picnic on a peak, flying to a private boat in the middle of a Sound or purely as a way to get to your luxurious home away from home, we can make ‘it’ happen.

With our little black book of suppliers in hand, we know the Kiwi’s who can serve New Zealand up in a truly epic style. Got an idea? Tell us about it! Looking for some inspiration? Check out the below and be blown away by New Zealand this summer.

 

1. Soar to paradise – Bay of Islands

Take off and soar into paradise on your own private beach for the day with Heletranz. Experience stunning Bay of Islands from the air – get lost the tropical blues of the ocean beneath you, spot the dolphins as they make a splash along the way and find your own slice of paradise from the sky. Touch down on a white sandy beach for a delicious picnic prepared by your pilot before jumping in the awaiting kayaks to get out on the water. Watch the waves roll by, sink your toes in the sand and relax knowing that you have it all to yourself before flying back to your base in Bay of Islands.

 

Glide into Milford Sound – Fiordland

Glide through the air and water with an out-of-this-world experience on Milford Sound. From your private heli you will explore the rugged mountain peaks of famous Milford Sound before flying into the sound itself and landing on board your own privately chartered 24m, three-decked catamaran. Once on board the Fiordland Jewel you will indulge in a delicious three-course meal (including freshly caught crayfish of course) as your skipper sails around the magnificent wonder of Milford Sound. Finish the day with a peak top landing for that ultimate postcard picture shot of you and the view before returning to base in Queenstown or Wanaka.

 

Tee-off from the top – Queenstown

Take off from the Queenstown hanger and fly to the top of a mountain peak for a golf range like no other with Over The Top Heli. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just looking for some adventure, touch down and take to the platform to knock biodegradable balls out the park and into the abyss of Lake Wakitipu. This has to be one of, if not the, most epic and scenic golf ranges in the world with an unforgettable way to get there.

 

Picnic of a peak – Mount Cook

Take to New Zealand’s highest peak (standing at 3,724m) with New Zeal. Get up close and personal with the glacial formations before landing on the peak for a perfectly chilled glass of bubbles to toast to the view. Indulge in the tasty delight prepared by your pilot before exploring the ice caves and tunnels in what feels like foreign land compared to the patchwork plains of neighbouring canterbury.

 

Whales to wine – Christchurch

We mentioned this is last weeks Canterbury Short Break blog post but it would be rude to not include it in our favourites this week. Take off from Christchurch with Christchurch Heli and soar towards the rugged east coast town of Kaikoura. From here you’ll swap heli and jump into one a little nimbler to head out to sea to spot the migrating whales from the sky – your expert pilot getting you in prime view. Look out for the dolphins that typically follow the whales trail and be in awe of the ocean beneath you. From the whales you’ll fly to a renowned winery for a private tasting in the cellar door perfectly paired with a platter of local produce served straight from the farm to the table - the perfect end to an unforgettable day.

 

Heli-fishing – Auckland

The Hauraki Gulf and surrounding islands have some of the best fishing in the world. No one knows Heli-Fishing like Heletranz—if you love fishing and flying—this is the trip for you. Depart from our Heliport in Albany and head out to one of our chosen fishing spots, flying over the islands of the Hauraki Gulf with stunning seascape views. Your pilot stays with you as your guide throughout the trip and will be on hand to serve up some drinks and nibbles whilst you fish away. After 3-4 hours of ‘lines in the water’ fishing, re-board your helicopter for the return flight to Auckland.

 

Land on the front lawn – ‘Somewhere’ Bay of Islands

Looking to escape to the ultimate home from home this summer? Travel there in style and land right on the front lawn. ‘Somewhere’ in the Bay of Islands is one of many in our Residence Collection with it’s own private heli pad designed for doing just that. Take off and land from one of your two private beaches, escaping for a day of adventure soaring through Bay of Islands, before returning home for a classic kiwi style BBQ as the sun goes down. Not wanting to take to the air one day - make a splash in the pool or off your private jetty, explore by kayak or stand-up-paddle board, or retreat to a hammock with a good book and sip G&T’s as the boats sail by (heaven!), enjoying everything that ‘Somewhere’ has to offer.

Got something else in mind? Tell us what’s on your bucket list and let us bring your heli dream to life this summer.

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Short Break: A Taste of Canterbury

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Over the last few weeks, we have featured short breaks in Queenstown, Muriwai and Waiheke Island. We thought we would bring things back to the South Island this week with a focus on the patchwork plains of stunning Canterbury. A truly unique destination where the mystery of the alps meet the majestic ocean, Canterbury is Famed for its lush vineyards, glacial lakes, farmland and coastal towns – making it the ultimate short break for a foodie looking to discover a true taste of New Zealand.

Accommodation: Seascape – Annandale

What’s a getaway without a romantic luxury stay in a bay of your own. Seascape is a sparkling jewel in Annandale's crown: a picturesque private bay, above which an ultra-modern retreat provides a truly romantic experience for two.

Accessed by helicopter or by a 40-minute transfer in a 4WD Annandale vehicle across the cliff-top farm tracks, this awe-inspiring setting offers couples the chance to make memories around the clock. As you approach the bay, with its dark pebbles and azure waters, it is clear you are somewhere timeless and unique. The turf roof, stone walls and glass façade of the contemporary accommodation discreetly add another dimension to the landscape.

Inside, a king-size bed sits upon a dais, a step up from the living area and fireplace, so the incredible view dominates the space. The modern bathroom matches the rest of Seascape for drama – an arrowslit window capturing a view of the dramatic rock formations along the coast and leading to the outdoor spa.

From within, it appears you are floating on the open sea, in thrall to its ever-changing moods, yet safely embraced by luxury and modern comforts. Outside, dolphins and seals often frolick in the glittering water, with only you and the tussock grass to witness them.

Feel the power of Seascape: take your time, breathe deeply and let instinct guide you.

Day 1: Arrive & Sip Champagne By The Ocean

Arrive to Seascape to champagne and a delicious platter overflowing with local Canterbury delicacies. Sit back, relax and watch the waves roll in as you sink into a feeling of true escapism at Seascape.

Day 2: Rise & Shine With Ocean Views

Enjoy a coffee in bed as you watch the sun rise over the ocean. Roll out of bed and start the morning feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready to seize the day with a private couple’s yoga session on the deck. After breakfast, take to the water on a private kayak tour or nature cruise and get up close and personal with dolphins that call these waters home. 

That afternoon head out to Te Mania’s Saloon at the farm just up the road. Get up close with some of New Zealand’s finest Angus Bulls and pick up something to enjoy on the barbecue that evening. Enjoy farm to table dining and barbecue up your own Canterbury fayre or why not get a private chef to do it for you?

Day 3: Taste the Canterbury Region from Mountains to The Sea

Rise and shine ready for a big day out with Christchurch Helicopters. Lift off over the green patchwork of the Canterbury Plains. With the wine country ahead and the Southern Alps on your tail, head towards the sparkling east coast and start you adventure spying on the sunbathing seals from the air. Following the shoreline you will head out to sea to look out for the blow holes and scout the migrating whales from above.

After a short break hop back on board with an array of freshly prepared local delicacies like crayfish, whitebait, mussels and prawns, experiencing Kaikoura’s indigenous meaning ‘Food from the Sea’. Flying west, soar to the Seaward Kaikoura Range and touch down at the exquisite Lake Sumner to enjoy a traditional picnic and relish the seafood delights, complimented by a selection of delicious New Zealand wine and beer.

Feeling full of delicious food and in awe of nature, it’s time to head down from the peaks. Tantalise your taste buds at the famous Pyramid Valley Vineyard to savour some of their most spectacular wines. Pick up a bottle or two to enjoy in the spa pool at Seascape on your final evening - savouring the flavours and the days gone by.

Day 4: Depart feeling refreshed & refueled

After a relaxed morning it’s time to embark on the journey home, or your next adventure. Why not combine this Short Break with another in Queenstown or even the North Island? Check out more of our Short Breaks here.

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