It’s Friday and at the Touch of Spice office here in Queenstown, we’re feeling day dreamy. With levels 2 and 3 back in action, a dusting of clouds (and fingers crossed, snow) over the mountains, and the simple fact it’s a Friday afternoon, it’s only natural for the mind to start wandering to paradise – where the water is crystal clear, the sand is soft, the sun is shining and a freshly made frozen margarita has just been handed to you. If you weren’t dreaming already – I think we can assume you are now!
Here at Touch of Spice, we have something to suit every need, want, and desire. Whether your dreaming of an escape to a mountain top lodge in the wild, a stunning Private Villa with not one but two private beaches, a super yacht where you can watch the dolphins roll by or your very own private island retreat, we can make it happen. We’ve listed below some of our most luxurious, out-of-this-world, above and beyond stays throughout New Zealand – a mixture of our Exclusive Residences, Private Villas and Luxury Lodge Collections because we really do have something to suit everyone’s dream!
The ultimate luxurious getaway complete with two private beaches, private jetty, swimming pool, in-house staff, kayaks/ SUP boards and heli pad.
A hidden gem on a privately-owned beach of Moturua Island, Kauri Cove is the perfect slice of paradise. Complete with short put golf, heli pad, hot tub, jetty, private beach, ocean trampoline, games room, snorkeling gear and walking tracks from the very front door.
Located on 7 acres, this peaceful retreat on the end of Waiheke Island has jaw-dropping sea views that will hit you in a continuous wave of beauty. Complete with private beach access, a heli pad, spa pool, media room and views you can't wait to wake up to.
Docking in the City of Sails, the Beluge is ready and waiting for it's next adventure. This 144ft G3 lets you cruise at your own pace on your very own slice of floating luxury. Features include a private chef and staff, rooftop cinema, spa pool, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, scuba gear, fishing equipment and wi-fi on board so you can stay connected.
Aro Ha Wellness Retreat is nestled in the pristine Southern Alps only a stones throw from the hustle and bustle of Queenstown. With an all-inclusive program designed to help you move towards optumim health, this paradise means having to make no decisions, no business dealings and no children pestering you - just a step-by-step process that leaves you glowing.
Have you had enough of 2020? Set sail away from it all this summer on board a luxurious super yacht.
With it looking like skiing in Aspen and Japan is off the cards this year, how about taking the family sailing in the stunning Bay of Islands on your own private yacht instead? Jump in the ocean and snorkel in the clear blue sea around Great Mercury Island or throw the rod over and do some deep sea fishing off Great Barrier Island. When you look around our own amazing country, who needs St Barths or the Maldives?
Partnering with some of New Zealand’s most exclusive super yacht providers, we have something to suit your every need, want and desire. Whether you’re looking to get away on a week-long charter with private chef and staff on board or looking for an exclusive day trip to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, our Travel Designers have their little black book of kiwi providers at the ready to give you and your family a getaway in 2020 to remember. It's about being able to go above and beyond in your backyard and doing it in ultimate luxury!
Prefer to keep your feet solidly on the land? Stay in one of our exclusive Private Villas or Luxury Lodges and spend your afternoons paddle boarding or sunbathing, while sipping a freshly made margarita indulging in that well-deserved dose of 'vitamin sea' while you wait for lunch. With the option to dock super yachts at a selection of our Villas on Waiheke Island and in the Bay of Islands, relaxing in a luxurious villa after a week at sea has never been so easy.
If you are not quite ready for summer but looking to celebrate a special occasion, our collection of Private Yachts and Villas as Venues make for an unforgettable setting to celebrate in style with those that matter most. With private chefs, waitstaff and our events team on hand, no occasion is too big or too small for us.
Whatever your style, get ready to set sail in 2020. Get in touch with the team today to find out more about exclusive itineraries, short breaks and day packages.
The best thing about winter in New Zealand is that you can have a day on the ski fields in amazing ‘pow pow’ one day, and have that and so much more the next. Here at Touch of Spice, we know that not everyone is a skier. Some prefer to look at the snow-covered mountains from a heli rather than through some goggles, others might rather skip the snow altogether and head straight for the Après ski – sipping some of the finest wine available in the region. Or maybe you’re a Queenstown local and looking to escape to the winterless north for a slice of paradise for a long weekend?
Whatever the reason, no matter your style, Touch of Spice have out-of-this-world, snow free days to let you experience something different this winter. Whether you’re planning a big family escape, a romantic weekend away, an active getaway with friends or to simply find some peace and quiet following the school holidays, the Touch of Spice Team will match your individual needs and wants with a dreamy stay for a truly unforgettable experience.
Join your private guide on an exclusive walking track along Lake Wakitipu at the base of Cecil Peak. Follow the flat bush track towards McKinnons Creek for brunch before flying by private heli towards Mt Nicholas Station where you will collect and harvest honey straight from the hives. Jump back in the heli and soar towards Buzzstop in Queenstown where you will spin your honey and prepare your own sample to take home with you.
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. You'll 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.
Only a short drive from Auckland airport, arrive in the wild west of the North Island for a day of adventure.Take to the rugged coast and let the fresh, salty ocean air wake you up with a morning of blow-karting along the beautiful black sand surf beaches of Muriwai. Catch your breath after an adrenaline fuelled morning and take a more leisurely approach to discover this coastline. Saddle up and meander along the beach by horseback to the edges of the Waitakere Ranges, some of the most stunning bushland in New Zealand, lookout for some native birds and be in awe with nature.
Fly or sail from Auckland to the stunning paradise island of Waiheke. Upon arrival, meet your private guide for the day Julie Biuso (Ambassador for Le Codon Bleu Institute New Zealand & award winning chef and writer) for a tour of her favourite island spots. Meet the bakers, producers and vintners as you indulge in their delights. Collect produce from private orchards, gardens and fishermen before arriving at Julie's private slice of paradise to cook alongside her or relax in the sun with a local glass of wine. Sit down in the courtyard with a delicious meal, serving up the best treats the island has on offer, with someone who knows it best.
Take to the tropical waters in Bay of Islands in a privately chartered 54ft sailing catamaran. Choose from sunbathing and relaxing on the top deck, kayaking, snorkeling, SUP or looking out for the dolphins swimming by. Relax with a chilled glass of bubbles a a private chef prepares a BBQ on deck for a day of total relaxation and tranquility.
It’s February which means one thing – it’s the season to celebrate love!
Valentine’s day is a day to show love to someone special. Whether you’re married, engaged, dating or single, treat your other half or yourself to a day you won’t forget.
Leave the supermarket flowers where you find them and use February as the month to have an experience of a lifetime. Getaway for that romantic weekend you’ve been promising each other or take the plunge and go off the grid in a well-deserved trip of self-love - Why shop at Hallmark when you can check out some of the South Pacific’s hidden gems?
So here we have it – the perfect Valentines gifts for the both the romantics and the singles, those looking to pop that special questions and those looking to answer their own, experiences of a lifetime to share with your other half, amazing friends or to keep all for yourself!
Go off the grid and venture into the wilderness of the Ahuriri Valley at The Lindis. Sleep in a mirrored glass pod under the stars, be in awe of nature and getaway from the stresses of the everyday. Discover the Valley by day and relax in your own private hot tub as the sunsets – the perfect retreat to take that shared time or that well deserved you time.
Stay in one of our exclusive Residence Collection homes Cascata, only a stone throw from stunning Queenstown. Take the plunge during the day (proposal or bungy!), discover iconic Queenstown and relax in the evening at the entertainer’s paradise that is Cascata. Sink a glass of bubbles with friends on the rooftop terrace before hitting the town or sink into the hot tub with a glass of local pinot noir with your other half – perfect for getting the gang together or escaping with your one and only.
Take off from Queenstown and get taken above and beyond in a scenic flight to the awe-inspiring Milford Sound. Soar over the waterfalls, peaks and tourists below before landing on a rugged West Coast beach. From the coast you'll fly to a mountain top peak for a gourmet picnic - lunch with a side of once-in-a-lifetime views. Enjoy the picture postcard landscape overlooking the dramatic landscape and say cheers to you, the view and the special person/ people around you.
The ultimate getaway for just the two of you or a small group of your best girlfriends – our Wellness and Wine short break has everything a weekend away would need. Rise and shine to yoga on the terrace, indulge in chef prepared meals and savour and sip some of the finest wine from some of Central Otago’s most exclusive wineries. This short break is as good for the soul as it is for making memories with those you love.
Let us help you make memories and create those unforgettable moments that you’ll talk about for years to come this Valentines Day. Get in touch of our team today – we’re experts in wrapping up gifts of a lifetime!
The afternoon started when we met our fantastic guides from Canyoning New Zealand, Adam and Andrew, in central Queenstown on a very hot and sunny Saturday afternoon! We were briefed on what the afternoon had in store for us - getting us geared up and raring to go. After a scenic, 30 minute drive through Arrowtown and the Gibbston Valley wine region, we arrived to our departure point for the canyon.
Ready for an adventure
Upon arrival, we were handed wet suits, socks, boots, helmets and a harness – everything you need to stay warm and safe in the canyon. As soon as were suited and booted we went to lay in the shallow river to cool off from the roasting sun whilst we had our safety briefing. When the guides were happy that we knew what to expect and how to maneuver our way through the canyons, we were off!
After a short walk to the entrance of the canyon, we were in! Now, walking through shallow water to start with didn’t sound or look like it would be difficult - but pair that with slippery rocks and we really did have to watch our step. From here it was around 2 hours of sliding, stepping and abseiling through the canyon.
Amazing guides from start to finish
Our guide, Adam, was on hand throughout to make sure we made every movement as safely as possible, building our confidence and keeping us right - although he did make the jumping, sliding and abseiling look a lot more effortless than what we did!!
At the end of the canyon, we unzipped our wetsuits and had a lovely 15 minute walk out of the canyon back to the vans where we de suited and booted for our return back to Queenstown.
Being in the Canyon was great! Although we had only walked 5 minutes from where we had parked the vans, it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, far away from normal life! You can see the sky throughout the canyon and the sun shone in keeping us warm the whole way. It is really quite amazing to see just how steep the walls of the canyon are.
The perfect summer day out!
I loved my canyoning experience and will definitely go back for more! This half day experience was 4 hours door to door and was a great introduction to Canyoning that I would recommend to anyone wanting to give it a go!
Thank you Canyoning New Zealand!
A wellness weekend with The Luxury Network, Hyoumankind and Touch of Spice
This Spring The Luxury Network New Zealand sent out special invitations to a number of lucky ladies giving them the opportunity to escape reality for a night and get away with Touch of Spice and new wellness brand Hyoumankind. Photographer Tatiana Skorik came along and snapped some beautiful shots of us enjoying champagne on the deck overlooking the ocean, dinner cooked by Des Harris and Hyoumankind's beautiful new wellness products.
Muriwai Estate – an escape to end all escapes, just a stone's throw from Auckland
The night away from the hustle and bustle of city life took place at Muriwai Estate – part of The Residence Collection by Touch of Spice – a portfolio of exclusive use luxury homes across New Zealand. Muriwai Estate is just a 40-minute drive or 15 minute helicopter ride from Auckland City Centre. It is the dream location for multi-generational getaways, product launches, photoshoots, filming or events for up to 100 people.
Our partners at Hyoumankind
Guests were met by a glass of champagne by Jacqui Spice, Sofia Ambler from The Luxury Network and Steph Wyborn from Hyoumankind – a wellness company who have recently launched their pioneering set of pillows that help you get the most out of life – both whilst awake and whilst you are resting.“Asleep or awake, when your body is supported and comfortable you are poised to get the most out of life.”
Hyounmankind started with the aim of helping you to sleep soundly, wake up feeling fresh and ready to get the most out of your day, every day. Hyoumankind combine design with science to build the best shape for you to rest your head and relax. Their range extends from smaller travel sized pillows to specialist support pillows for different areas of your body.
Dinner with Hunting Lodge Chef - Des Harris
After time to relax, unwind and shake off a week of work, the ladies were treated to a seasonal al-fresco three course dinner cooked by Des Harris – ex fine-dining chef and Head Chef at the nearby Hunting Lodge Winery. The food was incredible!
Breakfast and morning yoga overlooking the wild west coast
After a quiet night of rest, the wellness break concluded with a morning yoga session overlooking the wild west coast of New Zealand and a delicious breakfast. A little escape from city life just a stone's throw from Auckland!
It was brilliant partnering with our friend Sofia Ambler at The Luxury Network New Zealand and we can’t want to see what Hyoumankind has in store over the coming years. Having tried one of their pillows, we’re sleeping better already!
A couple of weeks ago a few of our team were invited to spend a night at Mahu Whenua Ridgeline Estate and Eco Sanctuary, a beautiful luxury lodge located just 20 minutes outside Wanaka.
Whilst being so close to the Wanaka township, the lodge feels incredibly remote with no one else in sight (aside from the sheep!). Upon arrival to the lodge we were all blown away by the expansive views over the stunning green landscape and out over Lake Wanaka, taken advantage of by the large floor to ceiling windows in the main lodge area.
The lodge is relatively small, with only four main suites, and another kids bunk room which can be used if the lodge is taken exclusively. Each of the luxuriously appointed suites are different styles and offer outlooks in different and equally beautiful directions, our favourite had to be the Master Suite ‘Tui’, with it’s large open shower room and copper bathtub looking out over the mountains, how relaxing!
The lodge manager Anna and host Chris really make the experience fantastic, they are so welcoming and knowledgeable about the local area. The food we had for dinner and breakfast was so delicious, made with local fresh produce, and they had a great selection of local wines to go with this.
In the morning we went for a walk down to the Stables, these are a short walk from the main lodge and are the most stunning stables any of us have ever seen!
Mahu Whenua is a fantastic place to just kick back and relax, and equally a great place to get out and explore the expansive property. You can enjoy hiking from the property, or a helicopter can land right outside and take you on one of many heli hikes in the region. One thing that really stood out for us which is a great option for those active people, is that you can pick up e-bikes in Arrowtown, Queenstown and cycle to the property, there are trails the whole way.
Thank you to the team at Mahu Whenua for hosting us and creating a truly memorable experience for us on this beautiful property!
The team and I were lucky enough to be invited by Eichardt’s to enjoy their newest addition the, Pacific Jemm, over a lunchtime cruise.
As soon as we stepped on board, we were greeted by friendly smiles, and a glass of bubbles, which in my opinion is the best way to start a cruise. The weather was also on point which provided perfect cruising conditions.
On this trip we cruised the corners of Lake Wakatipu before stopping for a delicious BBQ lunch, which was served on the top deck. The food was a mixture of meats and salads, providing enough variety for everyone's taste buds.
Below deck the Pacific Jemm boasts four bedrooms all equipped with luxury linen, their own entertainment systems and bathroom facilities - the master including a spa bath.
A personal favourite of mine was the sun lounger on the front of the boat which is perfect for a spot of sunbathing and conversations with friends. Here you can also take in the amazing views that this cruise has to offer.
We cruised around Lake Wakatipu for approximately three hours before docking back in Queenstown central. This is an excellent daytime activity, especially for those looking to cruise in style while enjoying all of the luxuries that this boat has to offer.
Thank you to the team at Eichardt's for this fantastic day out!
Laucala (pronounced Lau-tha-la) Island is the latest luxury Fijian resort to join the Touch of Spice portfolio of the best luxury stays in the South Pacific.
I was lucky enough to stay at Laucala recently and experience why this particular resort is the go-to for celebrities around the world.
It’s hard to put into words how truly amazing Laucala was, but here are my top 10 reasons why Laucala is the ultimate luxury getaway!
Super Luxe Villas
The oceanfront villas are amazingly gorgeous, luxurious yet modestly unpretentious. They haven’t overlooked a thing in these Villas. From freshly roasted nuts and locally grown plantain chips served every afternoon, to delectable sweet treats baked fresh every day and a very generous selection of wines, spirits and of course Red Bull. The Villa itself was a haven that you didn't need to leave. Three brightly painted coconuts sat at our front gate used to indicate “come in” “stay away” or “clean me please!”. All of the beachfront villas have private pools and direct access to your own part of the white sandy beach.
Lush locally made bathroom amenities
The attention to detail, craftsmanship, talent, and skill of all the people involved in running Laucala Island is evident everywhere, right down to every handmade amenity. The body oils, soaps, shampoo & conditioners, body wash, bath bombs and body scrubs were perfectly crafted by the local Fijian staff using the island’s own natural resources.
The Epic Pool
The massive lagoon-style pool that sits at the heart of the resort is a masterpiece. Divided into three areas, the pool includes tropical manmade islands as well as Laucala’s iconic 25-metre-long glass cube. The swim-up-bar serves all day cocktails, my favourite being freshly made chili Margaritas!
Over 400 staff maintain this 1400-hectare piece of tropical paradise to service a maximum of just 80 guests. Absolutely nothing is too much trouble true to the reputation of Fijian hospitality.
Anything is possible!
Anything can be done at Laucala at any time – even a midnight massage is doable! No reservations are ever required and so whether it be a romantic dinner for two, a last-minute decision to go for a dive, golf lessons with a golf pro, or urgent laundry and dry cleaning. You can take your holiday at your pace and find your own “island time”. Stays at Laucala include all food and beverages so you can indulge from dawn till dusk at your leisure.
The Rock Lounge
With its roof-top-treehouse design, uninterrupted never-ending ocean views and the most spectacular sunsets, The Rock Lounge is where I spent 50% of my daylight hours! With cloud-like lounger chairs, delicious finger food and gins coming without even asking, I never wanted to leave.
The Farm Tour
As one of the largest Fijian Islands, Laucala is passionate about sustainability. All the organically grown crops and farmed animals on the island provide the majority of products provided and I mean all the way down to the limes in my margarita.
The Butler Trays at Plantation House
Occupying an elegant colonial-style mansion, Plantation House served the best array of breakfast treats I’ve ever encountered in all my travels. The Butler’s Trays can’t be missed with three different trays to choose from, my go-to had to be The Healthy Tray which included; Wholemeal Waffles with Agava Syrup, Rye Flour Crepes with Laucala honey & tropical fruits, Fresh Herb Cream Cheese & Crudites, an assortment of energy balls and Yogurt & Fruit Coulis. No better way to start the day! Alongside this is a complete choice of breakfast options, a heart-stopping array of freshly baked goods and an amazing selection of freshly squeezed juices using fruit straight off the island.
The devil is in the details
On my first night the staff had noted that I’m partial to a gin & tonic, and by the time we arrived back to our suite post massage, the gin decanter sitting in our bar had been filled with extra just in case we were to run dry.
If traveling by private charter or jet, the island has the added convenience of its own runway, avoiding any necessity for transfers from the mainland. Another upside is that the island has its own air and maritime exclusion zones, meaning the island is truly off limits to prying paparazzi.
For Laucala Island reservation inquiries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch through firstname.lastname@example.org
Representing the very best in luxury stays in the South Pacific requires a very thorough understanding of what is on offer inside and out - which is why I came up with the clever idea of combining celebrating my wedding anniversary with a visit to the stunning Kokomo Resort, Fiji. (Lucky me)!!
Kokomo Resort recently joined our Touch of Spice “Residence Collection” portfolio of luxury stays which is a handpicked selection of the very best luxury accommodation available throughout the South Pacific region.
“The Residence Collection” was formed in late 2017 to meet the increasing swell of high net worth visitors to our part of the world. This leading collection has attracted all sorts of international guests such as well known celebrities and diplomats, through to acclaimed entrepreneurs and royalty.
So it was imperative that I fly to Fiji to Kokomo Island to research all it has to offer, from the cocktail menu to the bathroom amenities to make sure it delivers a guest experience of the calibre expected from Touch of Spice guests.
Kokomo Island is an hour’s flight away from Nadi. You can get here by Kokomo’s very own Sea Plane (a twin otter) or by Helicopter – we opted for the Helicopter.
Landing on the top of the island, General Manager (Martin Persson) greeted us with a golf cart at the ready. He whisked us quickly down to reception taking us past the resort pool complete with waterfall, kids club, teenagers hang out and pizza oven, past the Yaukube Spa Sanctuary and a couple of very large 5 bedroom Residences, down through to Reception where we received the traditional Fijian welcome by the resort staff. While listening to their incredible voices we were given fresh coconut water (served in real coconuts) which was a welcome refreshment in itself after the hour long flight in.
Our two-bedroom Bure was located right on the water, complete with our own pool and a very private beach. A welcome bottle of Veuve was chilling on ice alongside a personalised card and a platter of local fruits.
While I’m in the business of luxury and have a general expectation of what will be on offer at resorts such as this, the first few moments of arrival into our room always remain magical. I love the excitement and the child-like exploration of uncovering everything on offer. And nothing had been spared here at Kokomo – the outdoor and indoor showers both have full complement of bathroom amenities all Kokomo’s own brand complete with body scrubs, body lotions, sunscreens, mosquito sprays, toothbrushes and razors and everything in between. The mini included a full complement of Nespresso coffees & T2 Teas as well as a fridge full of sodas and waters plus a delicious jar of freshly made cookies (tempting me to open).
We were at this stage quite hungry, so to avoid cracking the cookie jar we wandered along to the outdoor restaurant & bar - “Walker D’Plank”.
Located in a small cove near the arrival jetty on the island Walker D’Plank is set into a rockface, overlooking the water reminding me very much of a similar spot my husband and I had been to in St Barths on our honeymoon
With colourfully painted tables and chairs, friendly staff, a fresh sea breeze and a very enticing cocktail menu, we settled in for an afternoon of Asian-inspired seafood delights, consumed at the laid-back pace of the Bob Marley music playing. We were treated to fresh sashimi tuna and crayfish followed by stir-fried Asian flavoured noodles and chicken. I ordered a Bloody Mary (as one should) and it arrived with freshly squeezed tomatoes – no bottled tomato juice here!
Completely satiated we decided to burn off some calories with paddle boarding and snorkelling around the nearby coral and then it was back to our Bure where a private chef was waiting to cook us up a seafood BBQ banquet of scallops, prawns, fish and crayfish. With a hankdering for a freshly made chilli margarita, a bartender arrived almost immediately and whipped them up on the say. Needless to say – heaven.
That was our first blissful day, and there have been several days just like this with kayaking, tennis, more lunches at Walker D Plank, walks around the island and relaxation activities like 90 minute massages and sunset yoga. At night we have been enjoying the 5 course degustation on offer yet again sampling the fresh fish and crayfish from the local waters.
While I spent the morning getting on top of emails this morning my husband Josh went off deep-sea fishing catching a huge mackeral we enjoyed for lunch – tonight we are dining on his freshly caught snapper cooked whole just for us. At Kokomo if you don’t like what the Chef has on the menu (which is hard to imagine) you can order whatever you want. If you want a chicken curry instead of lobster cocktail or you want a toasted sandwhich or steak and eggs, they will make it for you. Nothing is a problem on Kokomo (if fishing isn’t your thing you can also opt for a catamaran tour on the water)
Kokomo has certainly lived up to and exceeded all my expectations and I know that our Touch of Spice customers are in great hands here.
Tomorrow we head to Laucala, which is next on the hit list for The Touch of Spice Residence Collection.
(It’s a tough job but someone has to do it).
Kokomo Private Island is on promotion for its 1st anniversary with an offer of stay 4 nights and receive a complimentary night’s stay. Book by 30 April. Travel dates 20 March – 30 June 2018. Email email@example.com to enquire.