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 :)
Chocolates, champagne, red roses, diamonds, candles, romance, and fireworks! Yes it was Valentine's Day over the weekend and we hope your other half remembered!?
In case he or she didn’t get it quite right this year (or even if you did!) Touch of Spice are always here to help with the get out of jail free card and some great ideas to keep the romance going for the next 12 months or set you up with ideas for his or her next birthday or even anniversary!
Here are some of my favourite New Zealand romantic escapes- enjoy!
Slip away to a heavenly spot in the Bay of Islands. Located on the water`s edge at Wairoa Bay, close to The Landing jetty, The Boathouse looks out to 144 islands in the Bay of Islands and beyond.
Enjoy a delightfully sophisticated glass of wine from the Landings selection and a gourmet delivered dinner while watching the sun set across the bay.
Cosy up in a blanket and enjoy the ever changing ocean and sky, islands, sunsets, wildlife and the sounds of the waves rolling onto your own private beach while enjoying Rahimoana, the world`s ultimate holiday villa. Drenched in all day sun, this stunning villa sits on a 44 acre private headland with panoramic views of New Zealands famed Bay of Islands. With over a kilometer of beach and ocean frontage overlooking unlimited deep water anchorage, this iconic, one of a kind masterpiece also features a 25 meter infinity pool overlooking your own private beach, helipad, and acres of pristine private land and native bush.
A perfect romantic sojourn in Auckland begins in the sophisticated urban setting of St Marys Boutique, located in one of the city`s most characterful and central neighbourhoods. Our exclusive, single reservation policy guarantees guests enjoy the ultimate in comfort and privacy, and elegant decor, 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.
For a truly romantic and memorable time together, Huka Lodge is utter perfection. Offering absolute privacy and an elegant luxury, bathed in an unforgettable atmosphere and created especially for those celebrating their love for each other.
Experience a romantic weekend in the best of the Hawke`s Bay wine region from your base at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers. From stunning walks with breathtaking sea views to communing with nature by checking out the property`s own gannet colony or its kiwi reserve, Cape Kidnappers has it all. Relax over a spa treatment and beautiful lodge meals featuring seasonal produce sourced locally and from the farm`s own garden and sublime regional wines.
Take a journey to the Marlborough Sounds and nestle away in the hidden coves for a romantic weekend away. Relax in your luxury apartment, and then enjoy a soak in the hot tub under the stars. Awake to the sound of tuis and bellbirds and enjoy breakfast at the water`s edge.
New Zealand`s Split Apple Retreat is unlike anything you`ve ever visited before. A quiet, luxurious hideaway built high into a cliff-face right on the ocean, a few minutes away from the South Island`s stunning Abel Tasman National Park, it offers both every indulgence as well as the additional promise of exceptional good health.
Take time in your picturesque private bay, above which an ultra-modern retreat provides a truly romantic experience. Accessed by helicopter or by a 40-minute transfer in a 4WD Annandale vehicle across the cliff-top farm tracks. From within, it appears you are floating on the open sea, in thrall to its ever-changing moods, yet safely embraced by luxury and modern comforts. Outside, dolphins and seals often frolic in the glittering water, with only you and the tussock grass to witness them.
The Spire Hotel, Queenstown
Have some central Queenstown excitement and stay at the sophisticated award wined boutique Spire Hotel.
Set in the heart of Queenstown the Spire Hotel offers a romantic and soulful experience close to Queenstown`s vibrant shopping district, cafes and nightlife.
Treat yourself to a weekend of luxury at one of our favourites, The Matakauri Owner`s Cottage.
With uninterrupted lake and mountain views, all of the amenities one could wish for - romantic open fireplaces, and superbly decorated living areas and a perfectly located private hot tub, the best place to relax after an adventurous day out experiencing all that the Queenstown region has to offer.
Discover the perfect things to do in summer.
I've been fortunate enough to have spent the last few weeks in both the South and North Islands of New Zealand, and it's been great to see that the long awaited summer has arrived! Queenstown For us Kiwis, we all seem to be saying that these are the summers we remember from when we were kids; hot days, warm seas, blue skies and warm evenings - and the great news it that there is still more of it to come!
So what`s hot in NZ this summer?
The "Hamptons" of New Zealand continues to be a popular spot. Filled with beautiful people staying in beautiful houses and relaxing on beautiful beaches, Waiheke is the go to destination. The spot I`ve seen most regularly frequented on Waiheke this summer? Stonyridge Vineyard (something about the food and wine?). Our favourite places to stay here are Oneroa Vineyard and Hei Matau.
Beaches of the Coromandel
Ever popular with Kiwis looking for that laid back `bach` style holiday is the Coromandel region. We have a place in Opoutere and the beach is so beautiful and isolated. Many of my friends and associates frequent hot spots such as Cooks Beach, Ha Hei, Matarangi and Whangamata. This is the "fish and chips on the beach" capital of New Zealand.
Bay of Islands
I think the Bay of Islands has had the most consistently amazing weather this summer and many a friend was seen sailing, swimming and dining out at the Duke of Marlborough. My fav places in the Bay of Islands to stay are Eagles Nest, Otaha Beach and Tahapuke. Beautiful places to enjoy a cold Chardonnay on the deck overlooking the ocean.
Grab your kayak and your walking shoes and head out through the Abel Tasman. The weather is pretty much bang on every day and the natural beauty of the region can keep you active for days. Our favourite place to stay in the Abel Tasman is Split Apple Retreat and the Bay of Many Coves.
I can`t help but mention Queenstown. The weather has been incredible down south all summer - blue clear skies and warm weather resulting in bustling wineries, hot air ballooning, sky diving and paddle boarding on the regions many lakes. There are so many favourite places to stay here we can`t really choose one but our two top ones this summer have been the Lodge at The Hills and our very own Copper House.
To help take pain away from going back to work!
Going back to work after the holidays is always a struggle. But remember you can always take a long weekend to recharge, here are some of my favourites which we have arranged for clients.
The Bay of Islands
Accommodation Recommendation: Tahapuke, located on the Russell Waterfront, is a hidden treasure of peace, privacy and amazing ambiance in the Bay of Islands.
Water: The Bay of Islands has the warmest waters in New Zealand, making it the perfect location for swimming with dolphins. If you are looking for something a bit dryer enjoy a day or overnight sailing charter.
Land: Golf and Spa at Kauri Cliffs followed by a well-deserved 3 course lunch.
Live like a local in Arrowtown
Accommodation Recommendation: Arrow Cottage
Land: Wild Earth for lunch and delicious tasting session of some of their finest Pinot Noir and Rose. Follow on with an evening at the quaint Dorothy Browns art-house cinema with dinner at La Rumbla - all only 5 minutes from Arrow Cottage. Spa and golf at Millbrook which is only 5 minutes down the road too.
Air: Discover the Exclusive Earnslaw Heli trip
Accommodation Recommendation: Hawke`s Bay Haven
Land: Golf at Cape Kidnappers, cycle the Hawke`s Bay wine trail, have lunch at Craggy Range and enjoy the Farmers Market at Black Barn. A full food & wine experience!
Accommodation Recommendation: Bridgeview Luxury Apartment
Water: Enjoy a fully chartered sail to Waiheke Island and explore the island for the day or night depending on how you feel.
Land: Britomart will always keep you entertained!
Accommodation Recommendation: Bay of Many Coves
Water: Take the stunning Greenshell Mussel & Sauvignon Cruise through the Marlborough Sounds
Land: Enjoy a garden wine afternoon lunch at Herzog Estate Winery followed by a trip to the Aviation Heritage Museum or continue on the Marlborough wine cycle trail!
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.
Touch of Spice has really enjoyed working with the team at TIA to bring together the combined vision behind this year's TRENZ Farewell Dinner. It was a challenge after the success of the Ponsonby Central event but this year the venue is incredible and o
The good news is some of our favourite partners are back with incredible New Zealand wine and beer on offer; Isabel, Matawhero, Brookfields, Akarua, Lake Chalice and Mac along with Waiwera water and Homegrown juices.
A favourite from last year makes a return - the Kiwi Cocktail Lounge with Matty B and his team coming up with 2 new signature cocktails - the Tui Symphony and the Manuka Golden Fizz (no coupons this year) so first in first served!
Last year the food offering was incredible, a real showcase of New Zealand produce - this year make sure you don`t miss the Raw Seafood Bar at Roxy and the infamous Imperial Lane mini hot dogs. Neat Meats are back with their Lamb sliders as well as OBB organic supplying a selection of their ice-creams and sorbet for dessert.
Entertainment is always the key to a successful event and this year the line-up offers something for everyone; Hollie Smith on stage at 8.00pm and 9.00pm at Everybody`s followed by up and coming NZ vocal artist Josh Leys - DJ Kahn Hall will be on the decks at Roxy for those that want to party into the wee small hours. Good news Roxy will stay open after the official close of the event for those that want to make the most of their visit to Auckland.
Can`t wait to see you there.
Touch of Spice Team
Take a look at our favourite top 10 Mother's Day gifts - all of which are New Zealand inspired....
1. Anything from Deadly Ponies - check out their new winter range, loving the goat fur!
2. Nellie Tier hand cream - perfect for the handbag or beside the bed.
3. Coast New Zealand new Baby Mac Blankets - great for those cold winter nights.
4. A stunning piece of New Zealand inspired jewellery from our friends at New Zealand Mint.
5. A bottle of Akura Brut and a subscription to HOME magazine - the perfect combination for a relaxing Sunday afternoon.
6. Voucher for a mani/pedi at SPRING spa in their St Heliers or Queenstown locations.
7. A round of golf for your mother and her friends at one of New Zealand`s stunning courses. How do we choose? The Hills, Jack`s Point, Kauri Cliffs, Kinloch ???..
8. A two night stay at the stunning Cityscape Studio Apartment in Parnell - a chance for her to get away from the family...
9. ...or a weekend winter escape to The Lodge at Walter Peak.
10. Dinner with her friends on the balcony of a luxury inner city apartment, where everything is taken care of.
Queenstown, New Zealand is the place to be this Spring.
Mt Hutt has an upper mountain base of 310cm of snow, Coronet Peak attracts 1000 - 4500 people daily, The Remarkables continues to attract 900 - 2500 people daily and in Wanaka both Treble Cone and Cardrona are going off!
It has been a busy few weeks with school holidays and August is shaping up to be even busier with a lot of full houses and people continuing to come to town to enjoy the ski season.
When the snow hasn`t been that great we have been booking our guests on heli flights to Milford Sound with Over the Top Helicopters, jet boat rides with Shotover Jet & Kawarau Jet and quad biking with Off Road Adventures. The one thing about Queenstown is that there is so much to see and do even when you are not skiing!
Amber & Tania our two Business Development Managers enjoyed a famil at Mountain Landing - now called "The Landing" in the Bay of Islands last week and were blown away by the new Cooper Residence. We have a special deal for the Boat House at The Landing, valid for Spring 2013 only - click here for more information.
We also welcome back Hurakia Lodge on Rakino Island this month. Perfect for a weekend getaway or a Corporate Retreat and accessible by boat and helicopter.