Queenstown, New Zealand is the place to be this Spring.
Mt Hutt has an upper mountain base of 310cm of snow, Coronet Peak attracts 1000 - 4500 people daily, The Remarkables continues to attract 900 - 2500 people daily and in Wanaka both Treble Cone and Cardrona are going off!
It has been a busy few weeks with school holidays and August is shaping up to be even busier with a lot of full houses and people continuing to come to town to enjoy the ski season.
When the snow hasn`t been that great we have been booking our guests on heli flights to Milford Sound with Over the Top Helicopters, jet boat rides with Shotover Jet & Kawarau Jet and quad biking with Off Road Adventures. The one thing about Queenstown is that there is so much to see and do even when you are not skiing!
Amber & Tania our two Business Development Managers enjoyed a famil at Mountain Landing - now called "The Landing" in the Bay of Islands last week and were blown away by the new Cooper Residence. We have a special deal for the Boat House at The Landing, valid for Spring 2013 only - click here for more information.
We also welcome back Hurakia Lodge on Rakino Island this month. Perfect for a weekend getaway or a Corporate Retreat and accessible by boat and helicopter.
Touch of Spice go on a Luxury Road Trip from Auckland to Queenstown!
The weather has been fantastic here in New Zealand this week after the storm last week that bought us lots and lots of snow. Both Mt Ruapehu and the mountain ranges in Queenstown have benefitted with having bumper starts to their ski seasons and the mountain ranges look amazing.
I am looking forward to getting back to Queenstown this weekend and doing some more skiing up on Coronet Peak with the kids (maybe even night skiing which starts tomorrow evening). Treble Cone opened today and what a great way to start their season! If you haven`t booked your Queenstown ski holiday yet, now is the time - contact my team on firstname.lastname@example.org and they can help you with any form of accommodation and activities.
I had fun in Auckland this week dressing up for a photo shoot (all will be revealed next week) in Treslie Coopers Boardroom Collection and wearing jewelry from my favorite jewelers in Parnell - Orsini as well as a gorgeous Cartier watch from Partridge Jewellers on Queenstown Street. Blackberry have made me their Queenstown ambassador and given me a brand new Blackberry Z10 which I am really enjoying using. It has some great apps on it for a busy woman like me.
We had some great meals out in Auckland from Euro on Monday night (I can still see why this is one of the best restaurants in Auckland, faultless!) and we also enjoyed a great meal at The Commons in Takapuna. We are on a road trip now in a new Audi Q7 driving from Auckland to Queenstown - we stopped last night at The Museum Hotel where we enjoyed a fantastic meal at the Hippopotamus Restaurant - I went for the healthy version of Salmon Sashimi done "their way" followed by Snapper and Crayfish with baby clams (mouth watering) while Josh went for the Beef Fillet and Duck Roasted Fries. The art in this hotel is amazing and you could spend hours alone checking it all out as you walk through the different foyers and floors.
Tonight we are heading through to Christchurch where we hope to sample the offerings at The George Hotel before driving on through to Queenstown.
Winter is definitely here in Queenstown! We have snow on Coronet Peak and the Remarkables Ski Field the autumn leaves have blown off the trees and May is here.
It`s time now to retreat inside Eichardts Hotel & Bar at lunch time for their delicious Seafood Chowder and a glass of the 2010 Valli Pinot Noir.
May doesn`t mean "quiet season" though! We were at La Rumbla in Arrowtown on Friday night and they had a packed house! Big smiles on the owners PJ and Sam faces that night. We enjoyed our favourite La Rumbla tapas of the Lamb Loin, Stuffed Octopus and the Crunchy Chicken washed down again with the 2010 Valli Pinot Noir. As you can see we are trying to make sure we have our fair share of this award winning Pinot before it`s all gone!
Earlier in the week we enjoyed an amazing meal at The Spire Hotel. This dining experience is now on my top 5 picks for Queenstown. We started our evening with some delicious thai inspired tapas in the bar and then headed through to the restaurant for the Beef Cheek Curry and Pork Belly Salad. I highly recommend this bar and restaurant. Their very talented cocktail bartenders will make you whatever you feel like and put their own personal twist on your version.
It`s been a weekend of luxury too as we were fortunate enough to spend the weekend at Tree Tops Lodge in Rotorua. The great team of Vanessa, Dan and Marie Claire along with Chef Harrie took fantastic care of us. We indulged in Spa Treatments after a big hike up Kakako Hill and enjoyed two nights of four course dinners and all the wine and cocktails we could endure. Fantastic and highly recommend you go there for a winter break.
Back in the office The Touch of Spice team are very busy with enquiries for winter,filling up our Touch of Spice Villa Portfolio for the coming ski season. We still have some availability so if you`re planning your Queenstown winter ski trip and need some help contact the team today on email@example.com. We can help you arrange everything from your Queenstown accommodation through to your ski hire, restaurant bookings and heli ski time.
The American Express Queenstown Winter Festival is just around the corner and if your keen to come down and enjoy the fun you really need to book your tickets asap! We have some beautiful new houses coming on line this month and we`ll be sharing those with you in our newsletter update shortly.
Over Queens Birthday weekend the Michael Hill International Violin Competition is on at the Queenstown Memorial Centre and this will be our 7th year of involvement with this prestigious competition. If you are a fan of the arts contact us today to talk about the Queenstown accommodation packages we have with The Sofitel hotel for the event weekend.
Our partners The Sofitel Hotel Queenstown are also offering all Touch of Spice guests 25% off all Food & Beverage outlets at the hotel (with the exclusion of the Jervois Steak House) - if you haven`t tried breakfast at The Left Bank now is the time!
Touch of Spice
Queenstown-based creative event company Touch of Spice `wowed` the world`s top travel industry experts at the prestigious TRENZ 2013 Farewell function last week.
The luxury travel and event company fought off stiff national competition to work with the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) on the prestigious event which heralded the end of the country`s largest tourism trade exhibition in Auckland.
Bringing together a number of key boutique suppliers over the last few months, Touch of Spice created a uniquely New Zealand themed event which saw the 800 attendees celebrate the conference finale in style.
The company`s winning concept focused on the diversity of New Zealand`s exceptional gastronomic offerings as well as New Zealand made wines, beers and products
"We wanted to create a series of very different spaces that people could seamlessly walk through and discover the unique New Zealand vibe within each area," said Touch of Spice owner/director Jacqui Spice.
"Many of the TRENZ delegates are from overseas and this was the perfect opportunity to showcase our wonderful food, wine, beers, art and hospitality to a wide audience."
Throughout the night guests ambled with ease, sampling produce from every corner of the country including BBQ Harmony Free Range Pork Belly and `slow pulled pork` sliders, drunken oysters from Mahurangi, Waikato goats curd, Kapiti ice cream made to order and Coromandel green lipped mussels.
Renowned New Zealand chef Ben Bayly from The Grove Restaurant completed the culinary theme with a cooking demonstration and tasting, serving up Raukumara wild, red venison sausage rolls with prune and orange chutney and BBQ spit of grassfed Savannah Scotch Fillet of beef.
The superb food was accompanied by some of the country`s best wines and beers including tastings from Marlborough based Allan Scott wines and Akarua from Central Otago. Boutique brewery McCashins presented an interactive beer tasting session with their signature tipples including the Stoke Bomber Kiwi Pale Ale and Stoke Bomber Smoky Ale.
National Spirit Ambassador for Hancock`s in New Zealand, Matt Bradley, created four signature cocktails especially for the event. Guests chose from the Southern Alpine Fling, East West Connection, The Nutcase or non-alcoholic Pacific Nirvana cocktails, made with only the finest local produce.
Delegates also experienced Linden Leaves toiletries in the bathrooms, NZ Premium Water, fresh organic juice made to order using New Zealand grown fruit and vegetables and 830 Coffee, one of Auckland`s best known coffee roasters.
Skaaperelli Design also supplied unique beaded, fibreglass sheep for theming at the event, representing an iconic piece of New Zealand.
The evening wrapped up with an unforgettable acoustic performance by Kiwi music sensation Tiki Taane followed by local band The Dozen who had the crowd partying until closing time.
"To be able to showcase the different regions of New Zealand in this way was amazing," said Ms Spice.
"We couldn`t have done this without the support of the wonderful producers and brands.
The night went even better than I could have ever imagined.
"The world`s best travel industry professionals will go home with a real feeling of New Zealand life having sampled all the amazing things our country has to offer.
"The New Zealand exhibitors were also captivated with the array of amazing produce available right in their own backyard. It`s been a privilege to be involved."
TIA events and sponsorship manager Bronwyn Hollingsworth said Touch of Spice `rose to the challenge` and provided a "top quality, memorable New Zealand experience that exceeded expectations."
"We have received only positive feedback on the TRENZ farewell function, with its fabulous combination of entertainment, food and drink. There really was something for everyone," said Ms Hollingsworth.
"Touch of Spice has set the bar very high for future TRENZ events, delivering the farewell function to such an exceptional standard."
Autumn Update - Jacqui Spice
The trees are turning from green to gold now here in Queenstown as Autumn descends upon us. We can see a few snow covered peaks in the distance so it`s time to start thinking about which Touch of Spice Villa you are going to stay in for your winter ski vacation this year! Come down and join in the festivities over the Queenstown Winter Festival. Contact us today on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your plans.
We have collaborated with Eye Magazine and Luxury Holidays Magazine this year so you will find copies of their lovely mags in your Queenstown Villa this winter. When you book your stay you can order a case of your favorite Amisfield Wines and let us book you in to some of our favorite restaurants such as La Rumbla, Botswana Butchery, Saffron and Amisfield Winery.
I enjoyed a nice bottle of champagne and tapas recently at No.5, The Spire - I am definitely going back to sample some more of their fabulous cuisine! I was also lucky enough to have a lazy lunch at Eichardts and completely indulged in their famous Seafood Chowder. I think I need to watch I don`t go up a size this winter.
Our Touch of Spice events team have been busy this month with the 60th International Les Clefs d`Or Congress. We hosted over 300 delegates from around the world, staying at the Crowne Plaza and the Novotel. The delegates had the opportunity to enjoy everything that Queenstown has to offer, including wine tasting at Peregrine Vineyards, dinners at Skyline and AJ Hackett Bungy. A big thank you to all our partners who worked with us on this event.
We recently got a mention in the Orsini Jewelry blog thanks to owner Sarah Hutchison for our wedding planning services which was much appreciated - have you seen her gorgeous jewelry?
This month also sees us putting together a "money can`t buy" Queenstown experience for the Passion4Life Ball in Sydney on the 4th of May which is a charity that supports Brain Cancer research. I am looking forward to attending this event which is for Dr Charlie Teo`s Cure for Life Foundation Thank you to our valued partners The Spire, Eichardts, Over The Top, Black ZQN,The Hills Golf Course, Botswana Butchery, La Rumbla, RATA, Jervious Steakhouse and Amisfield Bistro and Winery for participating with us and enabling us to pull together such a fantastic experience.
Media Release April 8, 2013: Queenstown-based Touch of Spice has been selected as one of the world??s best luxury travel experts by influential magazine Cond? Nast Traveller.
Owner and CEO Jacqui Spice is the only New Zealander to be featured in the first edition of the UK magazine`s `little black book`, fittingly entitled `The Experts`.
The book is a veritable `who`s who` of the world`s travel industry, featuring what it calls "exceptional individuals who transform trips into adventures, who have the personal history and expertise, the stories and the access, to set them apart from all that is humdrum."
Ms Spice was handpicked by the Cond? Nast UK team for her dedication to seeking out the ultimate private escapes in New Zealand, the Pacific and Australia.
"Jacqui and her `cracking team of spies` are eternally on the prowl for hidden gems and sought-after activities. Privacy is her (Jacqui`s) forte, because that`s what she and her clients insist on," said editor Daisy Finer.
"She can arrange heli-skiing escapades, diving in the magical Bay of Islands and personalized shopping tours in party spot Queenstown, followed by teeing off while teetering on a mountain ledge."
"She also holds the key to a catalogue of swanky, shiny yachts and luxury villas set in vineyards."
Touch of Spice is New Zealand`s original and longest-established luxury concierge company specialising in creating bespoke holidays for their personal and corporate clients.
Carefully hand selecting activities, accommodation and unique experiences based on individual`s requirements, Ms Spice said they were "extremely knowledgeable" about New Zealand and their personalized service, valuable connections and exclusive suppliers were unrivalled in the industry.
"As one of the pioneers in luxury concierge services in New Zealand it`s an absolute privilege to have been chosen as one of the world`s expert travel specialists by such a prestigious publication", said Ms Spice.
"The Touch of Spice team and I are constantly searching for that distinctive villa, boat or home that`ll `wow` our clients and we`re always on the lookout for those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that no-one else knows about."
The Expertsis billed as the ultimate guide to travel. It has been distributed with the April issue of Cond? Nast Traveller magazine in the UK as well as clients of prestigious private banking company Coutts.
The ipad-sized guide has tips and `must do`s` from around the world that it says people would normally receive from only their closest friends. The most unique experiences from across the globe are featured, from the world`s finest gastro experiences to the best places to quench a thirst, where to track down the most unusual art pieces to the quirkiest adventure guides, must-do shopping vacations and ultimate wildlife trips.
Touch of Spice has firmly established itself as the country`s leading luxury lifestyle company since its inception eight years ago in Queenstown.
"We pride ourselves on our dedicated and professional services and nothing is ever out of our reach. The word `No` simply isn`t in our vocabulary and we`ve conjured up even the most unusual requests for our clients," Ms Spice said.
Seeing Green: PGA Golf Tournament to Hit Queenstown in February 2013
The electrifying 2013 PGA tournament, which is sure to test the limits of New Zealand`s top golfers, is just around the corner!
Beginning on Thursday 28th February and finishing on Sunday 3rd March, this event draws the cr?me de la cr?me of the golfing world to The Hills` fairways.
This year promises to be an event not to be missed! In addition to the international talent, this event will feature Lydia Ko, New Zealand`s teenage golfing prodigy, and Mahe Drysdale, more famously known as an Olympic gold medallist for rowing.
Situated in a stunning glacial valley, The Hills is an extraordinary 500-acre golf course which was conceptualised by Sir Michael Hill. Spectators will be able to experience the high-calibre golf among stunning native flora, pensive lakes and alpine scenery. They`ll also encounter a number of striking, imaginative sculptures created by international contemporary artists, each personally commissioned by Sir Michael Hill.
Don`t fret if you`re unable to attend this year`s New Zealand PGA Championships - We can open the doors for you to play a round on this exquisite private course. This exclusive opportunity can be experienced through our tailored package. Please bear in mind that bookings for these packages are very limited.
The Stay, Play, Wine & Dine package offers you a round of golf on the first-class greens, a luxurious spa treatment, and the ultimate dining experience. Click here for more information.
Valentine??s Day is just around the corner, and it isn??t just for the hapless romantics!
At Touch of Spice, we needed little convincing that Valentine`s day is one of the more important days of the year, we have made it easy for you to gain big brownie points with a romantic present and we`re definitely not suggesting teddy bears holding chocolate red roses.
What better excuse is there to escape for a romantic getaway weekend, where you can relax in a stunning New Zealand location with the one you love than Valentine`s Day.
While there are a myriad of magnificent places you could hideaway from the world in our portfolio, we thought we would make Valentine`s day even easier with three romantic Valentine`s Day Packages in the most romantic destinations in New Zealand for you and the one you love.
Valentines Packages for 2013
Book three nights and we`ll add the following touches to make your romantic getaway even more special.
- A delicious breakfast hamper for two
- Luxurious bathroom amenities
- A bottle of Champagne chilled and waiting for you on arrive, with delectable chocolate accompaniment
- A one hour spa treatment each in the comfort of your own villa