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 Collection & Luxury 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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.