Wellness â€“ the hottest topic on the planet right now.
Every time I log into social media I’m either reading an article about it or looking at a recipe full of goodness and health that I want to cook. We all seem to be looking for ways to improve our general health and detoxify our lifestyles. If you are anything like me, you are no doubt busy juggling everything from family to business and you'll be well aware of the toll it can take on your well-being. So finally I did something about it and went to Aro-Ha Wellness Retreat in Glenorchy, New Zealand to see what it was all about!
Upon arrival at Aro-Ha you`re greeted with a cup of delicious detox tea (caffeine free of course), along with a very light healthy snack.
Our accommodation had amazing views, and a simplistic, Zen inspired design. No TV`s or stereos and only communal bathrooms. You do however have WiFi, at Aro-Ha they appreciate that there are some people that just have no choice but to stay partially plugged in.
Our afternoon was spent doing a small 1.5hour hike around Wyuna Reserve where Aro-Ha is situated followed by a yoga class and the first of many amazing vegan meals. Never has vegan food tasted so amazing. Rani and Tony the two residence chefs do an incredible job of turning carrots, courgettes and various types of micro greens into the most amazing delicacies.
Woken at 6am to do our morning yoga. Several downward dogs later it was time for our breakfast smoothie. Much to our surprise our chia seeds, protein powder and berry smoothie was so filling it kept us energized for a 3.5hour hike into the gorgeous Routeburn, before returning to Aro-Ha for a late lunch.
The afternoon was spent doing HITT training before the best part of the day, the massage!
Then onto more yoga - this time focused on stretching and was much needed after hiking and HIIT training. We were well and truly knackered and in bed by 9pm.
Day 3, 4 and 5 involved a combination of the activities we`d done the previous day.
Five days later I left glowing, calm, partially detoxed (I probably need more than 5 days to be fair) and with a complete mind shift about what real wellness is. I learnt about mindfulness.
Mindful eating - slowly and appreciating what I am consuming.
Mindful listening - actually listening to someone rather than jumping in wanting to finish their sentences for them or solve their problems immediately.
Mindful walking - instead of having my head down busy compiling emails in my head, actually taking in the surroundings of where I am and appreciating the moment.
Most importantly I learnt to say "I have a beautiful life" at the end of most of my sentences - because the reality is, I do. Yes I work hard and a lot, I have a big commitment with my business and a busy family life - but I have a beautiful life.
See why New Zealand is No.1 on the hot list!
New Zealand is No.1 on the Hot List with many industry specialists noting that high-end travellers are flocking here for safe, authentic luxury experiences and being on the front line here at Touch of Spice - you can tell! We have been busier than ever and it’s the summer that just keeps on going. We have been curating some fantastic experiences all over the country for our clients and having a lot of fun doing so along the way. From planning once in a lifetime family holidays, secret getaways for high profile celebrities and road trips, to curating a surprise wedding anniversary for one of our repeat clients, every day we are putting together something special for our guests. Here are some of our highlights:
Addicted to St. Mary`s Residence
St. Mary`s Residence is one of our favourite new properties in Auckland and one of the highlights that we have found in the accommodation world of New Zealand. Located in one of the city`s most characterful and central neighbourhoods the exclusive, single reservation policy guarantees guests enjoy the ultimate in comfort and privacy, and elegant d?cor, culinary excellence, and an architectural `Wow` factor combine to make the Residence a discreet haven of seclusion perfect for a couple`s discovery of the city.
Click here to find out more about St Marys Residence.
Roadside Picnic with Wild Earth
Perched on a picturesque piece of land with views out over Lake Tekapo we set up a stunning gourmet picnic with Quintin and the wonderful crew from Wild Earth. End result was a very bespoke curated experience, happy clients and a venue we had never used before - State Highway 8!
Wedding Anniversary by Heli
We love curating once in a lifetime experiences for our clients and being given the brief to create a surprise 20th Wedding Anniversary was right up our alley!
Their 4 day itinerary in Queenstown was a complete surprise to them and their highlight was the anniversary dinner by helicopter. Flying from White Point to Earnslaw Burn, only accessible by heli, a stylish Marquee awaited with a stunning dining table set for 8 guests, with crystal, gold and silver glassware and crockery. Stunning floral centrepieces with emerald greens and lilies as they symbolise 20th Wedding Anniversaries.
We where given the task to curate a corporate family experience over 4 days - and what better way to start the week then to remind everyone how to play out at Oxbow Lodge, then experience extreme heli golf at Over the Top Golf and settle in for the night at a luxury hotel. What happened over the next 3 days, you will have to ask us to find out :)
Here are many benefits to staying in a villa versus a hotel or a lodge
There are many benefits to staying in a villa versus a hotel or a lodge - you have more space, you have privacy, you can find affordable villas that cater to a larger family (trust me when we travel it’s hard to find hotels that don’t charge the earth for 5 of us!) and a lot of villas have all the luxuries of a hotel. Well, at least the villas in our Touch of Spice Private Villa Collection do!
I`ve travelled recently to Bali to check out the villa scene there and it`s pretty impressive.
A lot of the add on`s are very affordable such as in-house chefs and masseuses, but after test driving a few of their villas I am pretty proud of what we offer here at Touch of Spice.
I thought I`d highlight what you get when you stay at a Touch of Spice Villa:
- Personal service and attention to detail from the moment of enquiry through to your check out
- World Class Villas with 24/7 on-call concierges
- A dedicated Travel Curator to help you plan every aspect of your trip
- A personal meet & greet on arrival accompanied by a fresh coffee or a glass o fwine while we chat through your arrangements and orientate you with the Villa
- Bathroom amenities, linen & towels
- Mid stay cleans with the option of daily house keeping if you prefer
- WiFi (very important for the modern day traveller!)
- Commercially cleaned and beautifully presented Villas with an in-house cleaning team on call
- Tea & Coffee making facilities
We have also come up with a complete list of Villa "Add On`s" to make your experience even better.
For an extra fee you can add on airport transfers, car hire, in-house chefs, catering, provisioning, in-house beauty treatments, in-house massage, a mini bar selection, private drivers, private tours, private guides, the list is endless.
There is nothing we can`t arrange for you to make your stay in one of our villas complete.
Contact us today to book your Touch of Spice villa experience.
With winter having well and truly arrived, Queenstown is the go to destination for any avid skier or snowboarder, but if the slopes aren??t enough to tempt you, here are five other reasons why you should head there this winter.
1. Luxury Alpine Living
The Lodge at Walter Peak is the perfect venue for that authentic alpine living experience, without compromising on luxury. You can choose to either enjoy the peace and quiet within this tranquil setting or take advantage of the numerous winter activities on offer including their deluxe Heli Ski package.
2. The enchanted village of Arrowtown
Take a step back in time in the old gold mining village of Arrowtown, only a 20 minute drive away from Queenstown. Nestled in the mountain basin, Arrowtown benefits from 360 degree snow-capped views. What the town lacks in size it easily makes up for in the quality of their establishments, including tapas and cocktails at La Rumbla, dinner at world renowned Saffron, pre-dinner drinks the apr?s ski hideaway Blue Door and local lunch/brunch favourite The Chop Shop.
3. Where else in the world can you golf after a morning on the slopes!
Jack`s Point Escape is the ultimate in sporting accommodation. Located just 5 minutes from The Remarkables ski field and in the heart of Jack`s Point golf course, you can easily indulge in both pastimes each and every day of your holiday. Treat yourself further with a delicious stop off at the Jack`s Point Restaurant .
4. The only ice driving offering in the Southern Hemisphere
Experience the thrills of driving on ice. Try your hand at drifting on snow and driving along the expertly crafted ice tracks and gain true bragging rights amongst your friends!
5. The food & wine!
Queenstown is awash with an array of delicacies to cater to everyone`s palate, made all the more perfect for winter with their open fires. Try the `Trust the chef` menu at Amisfield, rustic fine dining at The Bunker, Asian-Fusion at Madam Woo`s and lake front bar Eichardts to name but a few.
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!
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.