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ARCHIVES: January 1970

Discover New Zealand: A Winter Wonderland

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And just like that, winter is almost here! With Queens birthday weekend just gone, it was amazing to see so many of our clients and our team take advantage of the freedom of the long weekend. A buzz returned to Queenstown, the restaurants and bars felt alive, our guides were back to doing what they do best, and our Travel Designers got more excited than ever about the winter season ahead.

With snow predicted to fall by next week, the wintery playground of Queenstown will be coming to life. Whether you’re a skier, boarder, dog-sledder, ice driver or glacier rock climber, Queenstown and the South Island has the powder for every snow junkie – but what’s a getaway without some luxurious accommodation to retreat to after adventurous days?

We know time is precious which is why we want to help you make the most of it. With Exclusive Stay | Pay Deals and Offers now available on selected Private Villas, you can get away for longer and treat the family to free nights whilst you do it! Think shredding by day, sinking into the hot tub by evening and relaxing by the fire or in the media room at night – before doing it all over again!

So whether you’re looking for a short break, week long getaway and more, our Travel Designers can take care of all the arrangements for you, booking your luxury accommodation and treating you to some world class experiences that most will only get to dream of this winter.

Need some more inspiration? Check out the team’s favourite snow day activities below and let’s get ready to make this winter one to remember.

Heli-skiing

Soar to remote and exclusive ski fields and shred in complete privacy on the untouched powder of the day. Your pilot will be waiting to serve up a delicious glass of local mulled wine for an apres ski and view to remember.

Glacier Walk

Fly by private heli to the Isobel peak for a challenging yet insanely rewarding day. Grab your ice axe, don the crampons, get the harness connected and set off along the alpine trek with a specialist private guide. Discover the crevasses, keep your balance as you walk along the ridges and embrace the views that only most can dream of.

Dogsledding

Experience the thrill of a sled dog team as you run through the high trails of the Southern Alps. Whether you’re driving yourself or riding along in the basket with an experienced musher at the helm, you’ll feel like a slice of Alaska has landed in your backyard.

Snow Mobiling

Cruise across pristine snow at an altitude of up to 6,000ft above sea level in a private snow mobile tour exploring the dramatic landscapes and taking in the views whilst on the move. The day will be finished with a private heli flight back to Queenstown to make sure you don’t miss out in any of the picture-perfect moments.

Whatever your style, New Zealand has it. Get in touch today and let's get planning! 

 

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Discover New Zealand: North Island

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Wow – how are we almost at seven weeks of lockdown already? Part of me is questioning where the time has gone - the other part is questioning how on earth I’ve managed to stay somewhat sane! After reading my stack of travel magazines front to back, watching all the wanderlust documentaries on Netflix, changing my desktop background to a paradise beach and contemplating afternoon margaritas on an almost daily basis, I think it’s safe to say I’m more than ready to get away!

Whether you’ve been working from home, spending all your time with the kids or itching to get space from your other half (or all three), the freedom to get away from it all is almost here. With the outlines of Level Two released this week and with domestic travel soon to be open for business, now is the time to get excited about getting out there and seeing what all our international travellers have been ranting and raving about for years!

With that being said, I'm excited to share our second itinerary in our Discover New Zealand Series –  a selection of exclusive experiences and itineraries we are sharing weekly here and on our Instagram and Facebook, to spark up that imagination and get you ready to explore New Zealand in 2020.

Last week we shared a South Island Itinerary and it seems only fair that we show some love to the North Island this week. So here we have it – The Best of The North, five days making a splash in the beautiful Bay of Islands, where you can forget the desktop background and dive straight into paradise as those afternoon margaritas are served up in style!

Discover the North Island

DAY 1: Arrive Auckland, New Zealand – Private vehicle transfer to Bay of Islands and The Glasshouse (2 nights) 

DAY 2: Discover The Glasshouse with guided kayak tours, fishing charters, scuba diving, a round of golf or guided Kauri forest walks

DAY 3: Transfer to Eagles Nest after enjoying a boat trip to Poor Knights Island (3 nights) 

DAY 4: Northland heli excursion with gourmet lunch

DAY 5: Enjoy a day at leisure at Eagles Nest with a round of golf, a bike ride through Russell, horse trekking, fishing and nature cruises on offer

DAY 6: Depart from Kerikeri

DAY 1

Touch down in Auckland, the City of Sails of New Zealand, and prepare to discover the North Island. Arriving in Auckland, you will experience a Maori cultural welcome by your private guide who will transfer you to The Glasshouse, Northland. Enjoy an Auckland tour, learning of the culture and history along the scenic drive taking in the coastal views as you approach The Glasshouse. Embrace the tranquility and natural beauty that surrounds you as watch the sunset over the Pacific from the comfort of this retreat.

ACCOMMODATION: THE GLASSHOUSE

From the moment you pop your welcome Champagne and get lost in the spectacular 180-degree panorama – you’ll realise you’re in for an unforgettable stay at The Glasshouse. This spacious and architecturally designed one-bedroom retreat has everything you need to spend time exactly how you choose - whether it’s getting cozy by the outside fire, enjoying a long shower with ocean views or napping in a hammock. Enjoy a private chef cooked dinner from the comfort of The Glasshouse or indulge in an inhouse massage – all available through the onsite team.

DAY 2

Discover the glasshouse. Whether it’s getting active exploring or relaxing with a book, The Glasshouse has something for everyone. If you’re able to tear yourself away from the comforts of The Glasshouse, there’s so much to enjoy on Kauri Mountain Point and beyond. Explore the 20-acre peninsula itself, with its own tracks and secret coves from which you can swim, fish, kayak or simply take in the views. There’s also some large natural rock pools, which gently warm in the sun and are perfect for taking a dip.

DAY 3

Explore Poor Knights islands. Transfer from The Glasshouse to Eagles Nest with splash of adventure.

Twenty three kilometers off New Zealand’s Tutukaka Coast and washed by warm currents swept south from the Coral Sea, the Poor Knights Islands are an international icon. A total marine and nature Reserve - and pending World Heritage Site - the 11 million year old Islands’ volcanic origins provide spectacular drop offs, walls, caves, arches and tunnels. Board your privately chartered boat and choose from snorkelling, diving, kayaking, paddle boarding or fishing for an afternoon that will be remembered!

ACCOMMODATION: EAGLES NEST

With a horizon lap pool splayed out across the front of the villa overlooking the ocean and private spa alongside, Eagles Nest creates seamless flow between living and the stunning surrounding environment. The walls of Eagles Nest are adorned with art by famous New Zealand artists, and with the property overlooking the historical site of Waitangi, it is the perfect place to reflect, be inspired and unwind.

DAY 4

Take to the air and explore the rugged coastline of Bay of Islands. Departing from Eagles Nest, fly high over spectacular harbours and beaches for a birds eye view of this amazing region and its 144 islands. Land at a private airfield and enjoy a luxury vehicle tour to the tip of New Zealand where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet and enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch at the serene Tapotupotu Bay.

The next flight leg is over spectacular and remote scenery such as the white silica sands of Parengarenga Harbour and Great Exhibition Bay. Land at Hole in The Rock and experience the islands unique history, culture and ecological significance.

Fly back down the east coast over the Kerikeri Peninsula and the stunning Cavalli islands before landing back at Eagles Nest.

DAY 5

Discover Eagles Nest. A day at leisure here will allow you to explore the wilderness of the Bay of Islands – it’s tropical beaches and secluded bays, its cuisine and the nature that makes this one of New Zealand's hottest spots.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, foodie or explorer, a day at leisure at Eagles Nest will have something for everyone. Get active on the bike tracks around Russell, tee-off in one of the many surrounding world-class golf courses, relax on a horse trek, fish for your dinner or simply let the flavours of the North come to you in one of the many markets. Whatever leisure means to you, Eagles Nest can make it happen.

 

 

DAY 6

Depart from KeriKeri Airport in awe of the five days of adventure gone by.

Feeling inspired? Get in touch today and let our team show you the best that New Zealand has to offer. 

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Amazing Villas for the Ultimate New Zealand Staycation

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We can’t think of a better time to take a well needed ‘staycation’ or that well deserved hop across the ditch for a short break. With fresh mountain air, white sandy beaches, blue skies, lakes and multiple hiking trails – New Zealand really does have it all!

Now is the time to do something different! Throw off the shackles of an ordinary stay. Eat breakfast in your bathrobe and dinner in your board shorts, run down the hallway and make a splash in the pool, celebrate with friends and family with a classic kiwi bbq on the terrace – all made possible in the ultimate home from home.

Whether you’re a beach side lover or mad about the mountains, The Residence Collection and Private Villa Collection by Touch of Spice has something to suit your every need, want and desire. To make things a little easier, we asked our Travel Designers for their favourite villas for the ultimate ‘staycation’ or vacation in New Zealand – and wow do they not disappoint! Check them out and get inspired to getaway!

Kowhai Retreat

The newest villa to The Residence Collection, Kowhai Retreat is the most luxurious villa in Matakana. Only a 1-hour drive from Auckland CBD, this coastal escape has space for up to 16 across the main house and the additional boat house and shepherd’s hut, meaning no one needs to be left at home! With a private pool, hot tub, games room, sunken trampoline, heli-pad, petanque court, kayaks and e-bikes, there’s something to keep everyone entertained.

Step beyond the gated villa and spend some time exploring the exquisite local wineries, farmers markets, cafes and unique kiwi surf culture. Feel like getting out on the water?  Set sail on Kowhai’s Retreats resident vessel – a high-tech sea legs that can be driven from the property down to the water’s edge. Let one of our experienced skippers guide you from the dock upriver to the Matakana pub to indulge in the catch of the day or head out to sea to explore the surrounding bays.

We don’t know about you, but we’re can’t think of any reason not to stay at Kowhai Retreat!

 

Muriwai Estate

Only a 40-minute drive from Auckland Airport and placed on 6.6 hectares of stunning coastal land, Muriwai Estate is the ultimate haven to escape the everyday. With an effortless and breezy atmosphere combined with every luxurious touch you could imagine; Muriwai Estate is the perfect place to round up family and friends and celebrate in style. With vast gardens, a saltwater swimming pool, spa pool, separate cabana pool house, heli-pad and children’s play area, there really is space for everyone.

Spend your mornings by the pool with a book in hand, take to the rugged west coast beaches for a surf in the afternoon and taste the flavours of the surrounding wineries in the evening. This getaway spot is perfect for disconnecting from the outside world and reconnecting with those closest. Let a private chef do all the hard work for you as you sit around the terrace table, sharing memories and creating more.

 

Dancing on Moonlight

Just a 15-minute drive from Christchurch Airport, a long-gated driveway welcomes you to Dancing on Moonlight – the ultimate private sanctuary. This working horse stud farm comes with its own private 9-hole golf course, blueberry and walnut orchards, hot tub and of course a luxurious lodge. The best part about it all? The whole place is energy positive thanks to its innovative solar power credentials.

Wake up in one of the three sumptuous bedroom suites. Enjoy a coffee in bed as you watch the sun rise over the stunning gardens. Roll out of bed and start each morning feeling relaxed, refreshed and ready to seize the day. Take off from the front lawn in a private heli and discover your backyard that is Canterbury. Fly to the coast for a spot of whale watching before collecting the catch of the day and flying to an alpine tarn for a delicious gourmet lunch – true flavours of the coast. Get active on an alpine hike or simply sit back and enjoy the view before flying to an exclusive winery to sip some of the finest wines the region has on offer.

Grab a bottle or two to take home, let a chef prepare dinner and relax as the sunsets over the Canterbury fields.

 

The Elms at Lake Hayes Villa One

Only a stone throw from Queenstown Central and with historic Arrowtown just around the bend, The Elms at Lake Hayes Villa One is the perfect getaway for a group of friends looking to indulge in the flavours of Otago. With views overlooking the stunning Lake Hayes, there’s a real sense of living in a watercolour painting. Relax on the terrace with a coffee in the morning before taking a stroll around the lake – or why not meander along to Akarua Wines, Kitchen by Artisan for a delicious brunch to start the day off right.

Villa one is perfectly placed to wine and dine around. With renowned Amisfield Winery and Bistro on the doorstep, Wet Jacket Winery and Cheesery just down the road and the Gibbston Valley a short drive away – you’ll be spoiled for choice! Join a private wine tour and let the guide do all the driving. Sit back, relax and taste the finest, freshest flavours on offer before returning to your luxurious retreat at The Elms.

 

The Views at Aspen House

A slice of mountain side paradise overlooking Queenstown CBD, The Views at Aspen House will leave you breathless. With panoramic views overlooking the iconic Remarkables Mountain Range and Lake Wakitipu, feel the stress of work and city life melt away as you get lost in the majestic beauty of Queenstown. With room to sleep the full family and space to entertain in style, a getaway to Queenstown should be on everyone’s cards.

Discover all that Queenstown has to offer throughout the day – whether it’s an active adventure, ski day on the Remarkable Ski Fields, afternoon of wine tasting or a relaxing spa day, there really is something to suit everyone.

Return to the ultimate home from home - the open plan kitchen, dining, lounge and bar being the perfect to host an intimate family dinner or evening entertaining friends. Or why not cook up a feast on the private courtyard BBQ? With covered outdoor seating and fireplace, you can dine alfresco all year round. Let the children relax with a movie in the media room as you sip a glass of bubbles from the private sap pool. The Views at Aspen House is perfect for enjoying family time and that well deserved you time.

 

Otaha Beachfront Lodge

Needing a break from city life? Otaha Beachfront Lodge in the Bay of Islands is your own little slice of paradise to get away from it all. With space to sleep ten, this spacious home is the perfect spot to simply get away from it all with those that matter most.

Rise and shine to panoramic ocean views, jump down onto the beach and get a morning surf in before breakfast is even on the table. Dine on the terrace and find the perfect spot to sit back with your morning coffee, read a book or simply watch the waves roll in. Wander off on a walking track from the front door and have a day in nature or jump into a private heli from the lawn and make your way to the renowned Kauri Cliffs for an afternoon of golf.

Otaha Beachfront Lodge is a place where the whole family can feel a sense of freedom – where space, fresh air and picturesque beaches go hand in hand.

 

Hyde Loft

Stay on the doorstep of Central Queenstown at Hyde Loft. Centrally located overlooking lake Wakitipu, you’ll feel the buzz from the town as you settle into this luxurious two-bed apartment.

With Queenstowns signature bars, boutique stores and award-winning restaurants only a step beyond the front door, Hyde Loft is the perfect little sanctuary to jump into Queenstown one minute and retreat the next. Perfect for two couples travelling together or a small family getaway, experience Queenstown the way the locals do. Swing from the original bungy bridge, jet boat, zipline and luge or go above and beyond, heli-hiking, stand-up-paddle board on a glacial lake or indulge in a picnic of local produce on top of a mountain peak.

Whatever your style, whatever the occasion – anything is possible from Hyde Loft.

Get in touch today!

So whether you’re lucky enough to call New Zealand home or your just looking for an excuse to escape the hustle, bustle and chaos of your everyday, our team of Travel Designers know the perfect spots to make a ‘staycation’ or vacation, a getaway that will be spoke about for years to come. 

 

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The Ultimate New Zealand Valentine's Day Experiences

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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!

1.      Stay at The Glass Pods at The Lindis

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.

2.      Cascata in Queenstown

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.

3.      Picnic on a peak

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.

4.      Wellness and wine

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!

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Experience the America's Cup 2021 with Larry Keating & Friends

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America’s Cup expert and New Zealand’s top luxury travel and experience curators join forces to launch the Larry Keating & Friends America’s Cup project; curated by Touch of Spice, Love My New Zealand and Larry Keating himself.

Setting the scene for the 36th America’s Cup in 2021

Around the table they thrash out course expectations, unique waterside venues, an epicurean kiwi lunch menu and which vineyards are best - combined with all important aspects, such as how jet lag is going to affect guests who have travelled from the other side of the world, to be here for the sporting spectacular that is the 36th America’s Cup. Together, Jacqui Spice, Sharon Stewart and Larry Keating are setting the scene for sailing lovers worldwide, travelling to Auckland in 2021.

Welcoming sailors with open arms

From December 2020 through to March 2021 they will be working with individual travellers, couples, groups and yacht clubs from around the world to ensure they make the most of their time in New Zealand for the 36th America’s Cup. Together, they are curating unique and unrivalled experiences, both on the ground and out on the water. From touching down, to settling into luxury beachside accommodation, to setting sail as part of (what will undoubtedly be) Auckland’s most dazzling sailing event to date.

Our aim? Cutting through the noise with real, tangible & authentic experiences

As a team they have an unrivalled passion for both New Zealand and the America’s Cup - the excitement, the nerves, the challenge, the fear, the adulation, the joy and the thrill of world-class competition. Together, they want to carefully curate how the world experiences this event, showcasing luxury Auckland, our people and our culture, whilst celebrating some of the greatest maritime history around the world.

What does a day with Larry Keating & Friends look like?

Start the day exploring Auckland’s famous fish markets with your own private guide, before lunch at a mystery venue, paired with wine from Waiheke Island’s nearby Man O’War Bay vineyard. Head out for an afternoon of America’s Cup action, with exclusive viewing access, guided by our experienced skippers, on board historic round the world racing yachts (Steinlager 2 & Lion NZ) from the New Zealand Sailing Trust. End the day unwinding, sipping on a G&T as the sun goes down. Dine with Larry Keating as he gives you a private viewing of one of his incredible films, screened in an intimate boatshed, on your own private beach.

It's not just about the sailors…

Collectively, they are offering accommodation and experiences for every kind of sailor coming to New Zealand, including those who may be more interested in sitting and sipping on a glass of Waiheke’s finest than sitting out on the rail, feeling the ocean spray! They are ready for travellers wanting everything from a sprinkle of race days amongst an orchestrated North Island itinerary, to getting out on the water and in on the race action every day.

The depth of the experience

This partnership is about bringing Auckland and the America’s Cup to life in a way only they know how; through the warmth of the nation, hospitality of the city, with off-grid experiences, incredible places to stay, local delicacies to try and people to meet - resulting in an experience unrivalled by other providers.

Experts in every field - from sailing to sundowners...

Curating these America’s Cup journeys with a collaborative approach ensures each stay is curated by experts in their field. From unrivalled luxury accommodation and destination management with Touch of Spice, to incredible hands-on experiences curated by Sharon Stewart (Love My New Zealand), and exclusive and insightful time with an America’s Cup expert – Larry Keating. Together, the team are looking forward to intricately weaving their uniquely in-depth America’s Cup experiences into the thrill of a stay in the world-class host city.

Want to know more about our experts?

About Larry Keating

  • Larry Keating is well known in America's Cup circles and for his award-winning book 'Exposed – The Dark Side of The America’s Cup' nominated as one of the Best Books for 2018 by Yachting Year.
  • Having travelled the world extensively for over 40 years, ten of those sailing around the Mediterranean with wife Deborah in their yacht Chinano, Larry is a passionate yachtsman who built a strong interest in America’s Cup history, working at various levels in the international sports media, from photography to broadcasting.
  • Larry’s experience has taken him to ten America’s Cup events, two Olympic Games and found him crewing in the 1989/90 Whitbread Around the World Race.
  •  As a film producer/raconteur, Larry has interviewed some of the world’s most famous characters; Olympic sports stars and Hollywood actors to Nelson Mandela.
  •  A true-blue Kiwi, Larry's knowledge of New Zealand is vast, having lived and travelled the length and breadth of the country.

About Us and Jacqui Spice

  • With a background in super yachts, Managing Director & Founder Jacqui Spice is a Condé Nast Traveler Travel Specialist, a Virtuoso Preferred Partner and an Ultraluxe Community member.
  • Touch of Spice have been specialising in bespoke experiences, boutique luxury accommodation, and customized destination management across New Zealand, Australia and Fiji since 2005.
  • Their portfolio of luxury accommodation is a handpicked collection of premium holiday homes, private residences, boutique hotels and exclusive lodges. Their tailored services include a personal travel designer to organise whatever clients may desire.
  • Jacqui and her team strive to ensure every moment spent on a Touch of Spice itinerary becomes a lifelong memory.

About Love My New Zealand 

  • Love My New Zealand are simply put - all about the experience. Curators of the most amazing activities, Sharon, the director's relationships and networks mean behind the scenes access to some of the most incredible things to do, more so that any guidebook norm.
  • Each experience is designed around the guest as no two people are the same.
  • You can paint with an Auckland artist in the morning and listen to the only living Maori art historian in the world whilst a private chef cooks up a storm in his studio.
  • Drive the back country of Auckland going from black sand beaches to deep lush rainforest in Range Rovers and make handmade pizza dough overlooking the ocean.
  • You can stay overnight on a sailing vessel and sleep in Sir Peter Blake's bunk after a BBQ on a white sandy beach as the wind gently moves the main sail back and forth under the stars.

Press & Contact Details

For more information on accommodation options, packages and experiences please contact:

info@touchofspice.co.nz

For press enquiries, images and to find out more contact:

Megan Duncan | megan@touchofspice.co.nz 

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Muriwai Estate Wellness Retreat

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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!

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Save up to 25% this Spring

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Spice up your Spring with a Short Break by Touch of Spice

Whether it’s a celebration or simply a good old excuse to get together with friends and family, our exclusive villas combined with experiences only available to you on a Touch of Spice break, will have you making memories in no time.

Be inspired with our exclusive Short Breaks

Need some inspiration? Peer into wine barrels at an exclusive cellar door not open to the public, enjoy a day in the Southern Alps that’ll take you from fish to fork and farm to table all in a day, with plenty of action along the way. Check out our new series of Short Breaks exclusive to Touch of Spice to inspire you. The best part? Combine these packages with one of the villas in this offer and receive one nights accommodation free - read on to find out more.

Stay for 4 Nights and only Pay for 3 Nights

Save up to 25% this Spring on bookings of four nights or more (terms and conditions apply*).

  • Book a 4 night stay & only pay for 3 nights
  • Book an 8 night stay & only pay for 6 nights
  • Book a 12 night stay & only pay for 9 nights

What homes can I book?

This offer applies only applies to certain homes in our Private Villa Collection which you can view here.

When can I book this offer?
Book any time between 1st August and 27th November 2019.

When can I stay if I book this offer?
To stay any time between 1st September and 30th November 2019.
 

The (not so) small print

Here are our full Terms & Conditions of the offer.

  • Applicable to certain villas only in our Private Villa Collection
  • Offer applies to bookings made directly with Touch of Spice or via a travel agent
  • Only applies to bookings of four nights or more. Every fourth night is free
  • Applies to bookings made between 1st August 2019 and 27th November 2019
  • Applies to stays between 1st September 2019 to 30 November 2019
  • All bookings are subject to availability and our standard terms and conditions for villa rentals apply
  • We will provide our standard terms and conditions at the time of bookings

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My trip around the North Island

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Exploring the North Island

Early July I was lucky enough to spend a week exploring the North Island, visiting our villas and luxury lodges and experiencing some of the best activities on offer in the regions!

A touch of Tuscany at Ataahua Lodge

My first stop was Ataahua Lodge, a villa that is new to our Residence Collection and located just outside Tauranga. The villa has 7 bedrooms and is Italian inspired in its design, I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the property! It looks out over the golf course and water and has such a large outdoor area with a stunning pool. It is the perfect retreat for family groups wanting somewhere really special to stay!

Traveling on to Rotorua

I then took a drive down to Rotorua to check in to Solitaire Lodge which is on a peninsula looking over the glass-like Lake Tarawera, such a beautiful setting! I was warmly welcomed by Wayne and Ingrid and shown around the property, including the private jetty with kayaks, perfect for a day exploring the lake!

I spent the afternoon relaxing in my suite, which had an outdoor bath overlooking the lake – absolute bliss! In the evening I was kindly hosted by Wayne for pre-dinner drinks and canapes, followed by dinner. We had a five-course meal - the courses were all delicious and complimented each other well.

A morning of relaxation 

The next morning, I met up with Tu from MDA Experiences for a day of adventure in the Rotorua region! Our first activity of the day was to enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Rotoiti with Pure Cruise, on board their 53ft catamaran. This lake is just beautiful and there are so many coves and interesting spots to stop, their skipper Matt is so knowledgeable of the area and was explaining the history and all the fun things that could be done on the lake, such as geothermal springs, glowworm caves, paddleboarding and good old Kiwi fun – climbing a tree and swinging on the rope swing! We then stopped at the Manupirua Springs, only accessible by boat, for a soak in the hot springs, super relaxing!

An afternoon of Adrenaline

The afternoon was less relaxing – more adrenaline fueled – as we took on the Kaituna River for some white-water rafting! This river has multiple waterfalls, including the largest commercially rafted waterfall in the world, at 7m high! I have done white water rafting before but nothing that comes close to this, feeling fear at the top of the waterfalls then such excitement at the bottom once we conquered them! Tu was incredible and really encouraged me to take on all the additional parts such as cliff jumping and swimming down a waterfall, so much fun!

Huge thanks to Tu at MDA Experiences, Pure Cruise and Rotorua Rafting for showing me what this region is really all about!

A stay at Treetops Lodge

Following my exciting day, I drove to Treetops Lodge and Estate for the night. I was welcomed by Andrew and Sandra, who showed me around the property and then to my room. I was staying in a Valley Villa and was blown away! The villa is really very large with a living area, bedroom with walk in dressing room and a beautiful large bathroom. The villas are located a short drive from the main lodge itself, and each one is provided with their own golf cart to get you to and from, which adds to the experience!

In the morning, I got up early and had breakfast then headed out on the walk to Bridal Veil Falls. There are so many walking tracks on this property, you really need to spend a lot of time here to get out and explore them! It was absolutely pouring all morning, but Treetops provided me with a coat and gumboots and off I went, and I am so glad I did, after around 40 minutes of walking through beautiful bush I reached the falls, which are absolutely stunning, well worth the walk!

A spot of lunch at Huka Lodge

I then drove to Taupo for a site visit at Huka Lodge. I was met by Hannah and shown around the property, including the stunning Junior Lodge Suites which overlook the Waikato River. Even though I have looked at photos of this property so many times I was still blown away by the setting on the river, it is so beautiful with the fast-flowing colourful water! I then enjoyed a beautiful 3 course lunch looking out over the view.

The stunning Farm at Cape Kidnappers

For my final stop, I drove to the Hawke’s Bay for a stay at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers. I was full of excitement for this property as I’d heard so many wonderful things, and it absolutely exceeded expectations. From the moment I arrived, I was greeted by the lovely friendly Averil who gave me a walk around the main lodge building then took me down to my room and showed me around and gave such a great arrival experience. I was staying in a Ridge Suite, of which there are 8, just a short distance from the main lodge. The suite was absolutely beautiful, overlooking the vast property, a beautiful bedroom with large ensuite. I couldn’t fault it if I tried!

I was hosted for dinner by James, the assistant lodge manager who was great company, so friendly and really helped me learn even more about the property.

Conservation is everything

Whilst here I got to explore the property, visiting the Cape Sanctuary and learning about their conservation efforts, do a property tour to the outer edges of the farm and the dramatic coastline and have a site visit through all the room categories (that Owners Cottage, WOW!). The Farm at Cape Kidnappers was just voted the #1 lodge in New Zealand and Australia and #4 in the world, and I can definitely see why!

After departing Cape Kidnappers, I went for a site visit to Summerlee Luxury Retreat. This is a large 8-bedroom home with beautiful coastal views. It has a large outdoor area, pool, croquet and tennis court. It’s the perfect spot for a family retreat!

A beautiful ending to the week

Finally, to end my time I had a visit at Craggy Range Winery. I met with Georgia and Kristine who showed me around all the accommodation options here, such a great spot in amongst the vines! The newly built River Lodges and the four-bedroom Lodge are just stunning, so well done! I then had lunch at the restaurant here which was just beautiful, this winery is really high end and definitely a must do when in the Hawke’s Bay!

This was such a wonderful week visiting some top spots in the North Island and some truly spectacular properties!

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NEW - Introducing Ataahua

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Sink into tranquility in the spa or smash through the silence and bomb in the pool – this private Italian-inspired oasis is all yours.

We are thrilled to introduce and announce that the stunning Ataahua Lodge is the latest addition to our Residence Collection.

A touch of Amalfi - just outside Tauranga

Only 25 kilometres from Tauranga Airport, enter through the wrought iron gates and drive the palm lined drive towards the villa. A natural oasis to unwind, relax and accept carpe diem.

Lined with world-class artworks, antiques and venetian furniture, fall into an Italian inspired world where family, food and beauty form the heart of the home.

Aperitivo on the terrace? Buon appetito

An open gourmet kitchen leads to the living area and onto the first of the two dining rooms. A step further takes you to large bifold doors leading outside. Enjoy alfresco antipasto or tear apart a pizza from the woodfired oven with the family.

A hideaway for adults and children alike

Feeling fancy? Indulge in a chef-prepared meal in the formal antique dining room before following the curved staircase down to the wine cellar and tasting room. Let the children wind down with a movie in the cinema while you sip a digestivo or glass of New Zealand’s finest.

A dreamlike spot for morning coffee

Ataahua has a total of six suites spread between two floors as well as the separate Pavilion. Sink into the plush beds that all feature views of the luscious grounds. Separate from the main villa is The Pavilion – a private sanctuary with ocean views where rolling out of bed will feel better than ever.

Do you prefer to drink your bubbles or sink into them?

From the bedroom to bathroom – whether you choose to drink your bubbles or sink into them, let the mind unwind as you gaze into the gardens and accept feelings of la bella vita (… the good life).

Let them dream of adventure

The spacious shared room is lined with motorbikes and surfboards letting the imagination run wild. Travelling with entourage or friends? The guest suite has a lounge, bathroom, kitchenette and is separate from the main house – the key to privacy.

Step outside into your own private oasis

In the private pavilion, a step beyond the villa, wake up in a secluded oasis. As the sunrise pours through the terrace doors, take in the picturesque garden and ocean views – mornings you can’t wait to wake up to. No bad thing when you have a hot yoga studio, adjoining gym and walks with endless sea views.

 

Roll out of bed into a whatever activity takes your fancy

Roll out of bed and straight into an active day. The private gym, tennis court and bikram yoga studio will get you working up a sweat before jumping in the pool.

Alfresco dining with a difference

A real taste of Italy – prepare, bake and enjoy your own pizza straight from the outdoor oven, served with a glass of wine from the cellar. New Zealand meets Italy - Alfresco dining just like at Nonna’s house in Verona.

Submerge yourself in stillness

Float into tranquillity and get lost in the clouds - an afternoon soak in the spa pool will calm the mind and relax the body. Or feel like smashing through the stillness and bombing in the pool? Go ahead – it’s your space after all.

Get competitive and find your champion

Singles or doubles? Get your whites on and battle it out in your own Ataahua Tennis Open. Observe from the side-lines before sinking some hoops on the basketball court – a tournament to keep everyone entertained.

Tropical gardens just a stones throw away

Take a tour or meander through the tropical gardens and discover the botanical variety. With world-class artworks placed throughout the gardens and villa, explore the local Maori art and sculptures on display.

Fancy a stay at stunning Ataahua Lodge? Get in touch with one of our Travel Designers to find out more.

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Sink into winter at Lake Hayes

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We know settling into winter can be a troublesome time and so we want to soften the blow with some incredible introductory rates for winter stays at Lake Hayes. For a limited time you can stay in this delectable five bedroom home from just $3500 per night. 

Why consider a winter break at Lake Hayes?

Despite being just a 10 minute drive from Queenstown airport The Homestead at Lake Hayes offers complete tranquility. Sink into nature with lake views and unadulterated access to the nearby walking and cycling tracks surrounding the lake that meander their way all the through to Arrowtown. Once you have been exploring and taken in enough of the seamless lake and mountain views retire to the fireside and warm up in style.

The perfect spot for a multi-generational winter escape

With five wonderful bedrooms this property offers a brilliant option for a multi-generational getaway. The estate offers more than enough space for three generations to enjoy each others company without treading on each others toes. While the youngsters run around the grass, playing hide and seek in the Sequoia trees, the grown ups can unwind over a glass of Central Otago's finest.

Booking a winter stay at The Homestead

View more about The Homestead at Lake Hayes or get in touch with one of our Travel Designers to find out more. A minimum five night stay applies and all bookings are subject to availability - please contact one of our Travel Designers to find out more.

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