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Providing you with the inside word on the newest and most exciting luxury travel experiences around New Zealand and the world, along with keeping you informed of our updates, travel tips, and upcoming events.

In The Spotlight: Ladena, Queenstown

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Our first blog of the new year! Now that we’ve said ‘C’ you later 2020, it’s time we get back to thinking ahead – and what better way to do that than getting a sneak peek at some of our Premium Residences & Mega Villas.

The Premium Residences & Mega Villas Collection by Touch of Spice offers luxurious stays you didn’t even know were possible. With many featuring private golf courses, in-house spas, private wine cellars, heli-pads, international size tennis courts, private jetty’s, exclusive beaches, and art collections that rival some of the world’s top art houses – these homes really are in a luxurious league of their own.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing our experiences staying in some of New Zealand’s finest private villas, luxury lodges and unique destinations, exploring not only the in-house experiences, but also looking at what our trusted expert guides are offering – think of it as an insider’s guide to New Zealand by those who know how to do ‘it’ right.

First into the spotlight: Ladena

Location:

Located on Queenstown hill in the heart of the CBD (10-minute drive from Queenstown Airport), Ladena is the ultimate escape for a weekend away with friends. Feel the buzz of Queenstown ooze it’s way up the hill as you pull into the private drive overlooking Lake Wakitipu and the Remarkable Mountains. Set in one of the most desirable locations in the South Island, Ladena gets the sun throughout summer, whilst only being a short drive from the ski fields in winter. Walking distance from Queenstown’s buzzing bar and restaurant scene (talk to the team for some tips), Ladena makes leaving the car at home an easy option (although the walk back up the hill after a glass of wine or two might be a bit more challenging – but we can organize a chauffeur for that!)

The Villa:

Walking in the front door, you will be welcomed by a bright and airy staircase and elevator - and the welcomed feeling of being in the ultimate home away from home. Meander down the stairs to the first floor, enjoying the exquisite art throughout the entrance way (and whole property) and prepare to get lost in the vast space that this central villa offers. Naturally, you’ll be drawn straight ahead by the unimaginable lake and mountain views served up from the open plan kitchen, dining area, and two lounges. This space is perfect for hosting a chef prepared dinner for friends – we can see it now - the canapes and champagne being served throughout as you mingle with your nearest and dearest.

To the right of the kitchen, we have the outdoor seating area and firepit – perfect for summer evenings and a cosy winter après ski. With large retractable doors, Ladena offers great inside/ outside flow, as well as an additional chefs’ kitchen and bar, making hosting an absolute breeze.

With five bedrooms split across three floors (each with an ensuite), 10 guests have ample space to spread out, enjoy some quite time, and retreat after busy days exploring. Each with their own unique interior, the bedroom suites also feature floor so ceiling windows with views you just can’t wait to wake up to. With private balconies leading off the bedroom suites, guests have the perfect hidden spots to curl up with a book.

The private hot tub is at the back of the property. Pop a bottle of bubbles and sink in for the best sunset seats in town. Finish your evening off relaxing in the media room, winding down with a glass of Central Otago’s finest.

Experience Ladena:

As with all our Premium Residences & Mega Villas, Touch of Spice are here to make your stay an unforgettable one. Whether it’s having a private chef on hand, an inhouse masseuse on call, a butler keeping your bubbles topped up, or a private chauffeur parked in the drive, we can organize everything you would ever need. We understand that sometimes guests just want to enjoy being in the villa, which is why we have our little black book of contacts who can come to you. Enjoy a private wine tasting by the outdoor fire with an expert sommelier – sampling and sipping some of New Zealand’s most exclusive wines or relax with a private yoga session on one of the many balconies. Want an on-call ping pong player? We’ve made that happen too.

Experience Queenstown:

The home of adventure! Queenstown is our very own playground and we know the Kiwi’s who know how to serve it up in a truly epic style. From gaining access to some of the regions most exclusive cellar doors to squeeze the grape yourself, to heli hiking, biking and skiing, there’s something to suit everyone.

A personal favourite must be visiting Ben Nevis Station - 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. 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. If that doesn’t sound like a dream day in Queenstown, we don’t know what does!

Tempted? Talk to the team today and experience Ladena like never before.

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How to spend more time in 2021

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The new year is life’s very own crisp, clean and brand-new diary…365 days of opportunities, adventure, and excitement! With all that went on in 2020, it’s safe to say we all jumped at the chance to press ‘ctrl-alt-delete’ and ‘refresh’ on New Year’s Day. 2021 brings a whole new year into view and now is the time to decide what you will write on the pages of this shiny new chapter.

After what can only be described as ‘the year we can’t wait to forget’, Jacqui and the team took a well needed break over the Christmas period – something that in our 16-years has never happened! This pause gave us the time to recharge, refocus and most importantly, reflect. In 2020, we saw many changes to life. We refined our offering to a portfolio of the creme de le creme of Private Residences & Mega Villas throughout New Zealand. We adapted to working from home – where balancing kids, laundry, and work are the ‘new normal’. We watched our New Zealand borders close and the industry we love and live for fight to stay alive. We strengthened our relationships with our amazing partners and experience providers who we know follow our passion and care for our clients. And most importantly, we learnt the importance in how we choose to spend our time.

Whether it’s spending more quality time with the family, getting active, disconnecting to reconnect, tasting new flavours, taking that well needed (and deserved) you time, or exploring new destinations – 2020 taught us to appreciate the time and freedom we have in our own backyard. 2021 is now the year to make the changes and make them stick!

Need some inspiration? Our team have been thinking of exactly how we plan to spend our time in 2021 - in and around helping you of course! 

Spend more time…

With the family

2021 is the year to take that well deserved family getaway you’ve been putting off. If lockdown restrictions and border closures taught us anything, it’s to take the bull by the horns when it comes to the freedom to travel. With more and more families choosing to travel together, grandparents to grandchildren, where you spend that time is more important than ever. Finding the ultimate home from home has never been easier with the premium Residence & Mega Villa Collection by Touch of Spice. Let the kids run wild on the lawn, eat breakfast in your boardshorts and let a private chef to all the hard work for you. It’s about spending quality time with those that matter most – now that’s the real luxury!

 

Getting Active

Whether you’re already biker, hiker, skier, or gym goer, or looking for an opportunity to challenge your fitness, New Zealand has something to suit everyone. Join our private guides on some of New Zealand’s untouched lands and go above and beyond in 2021. Soar to the top of Mount Soho ski field for a day shredding the slopes in one of New Zealand's best kept secrets. Skip the chairlift queue and enjoy a state-of-the-art snowcat with specially designed heated cabins. Or join your private guide on one of the many surrounding walking tracks in Queenstown - some even the locals don't know about! Listen to the stories of your guide, take in the views and get a real sense of being in the wild. Want to go further? Take a private heli to a remote mountain peak and hike along the ridge line for an unforgettable experience and a feeling of being on top of the world. After a day on your feet, treat yourself to a private hot pool at Onsen. Relax under the stars with a glass of bubbles and let the day’s activities melt away. Getting active never seemed so appealing!

 

Taking that you time

It’s safe to say 2020 took its toll on all of us. Our mental wellbeing has well and truly been brought to the forefront, resulting in a drastic jump in travel for health and wellness. Why? Because we all deserve a little R&R. 2021 is the time to take that well needed (and deserved) break with a luxurious yet healthy experience on Waiheke Island. Indulge in a 3-day, two night experience designed to give you the time and space to really slow down, relax and revive yourself. This all-inclusive package includes a stay at one of Waiheke's most luxurious accommodation providers, all meals, yoga classes, transfers, and plenty of luxury toiletries for pampering. It is time to do something for you.

 

Experiencing ultimate escapism

Dive into something new this year. Our Super Yacht & Private Island portfolio offers everything from fully staffed yachts complete with every water-toy imaginable, to remote island retreats where sandy beaches, turquoise lagoons and breath-taking beauty surround you. This hand selected portfolio offers escapism like you've never experienced before. From Lake Wakatipu to the Bay of Islands and Fiji, your options are endless. It’s about doing something new in destinations unexplored.

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Exploring Abel Tasman with Jacqui Spice

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A few weeks ago, our Founder and managing Director Jacqui Spice stepped away from the Covid-chaos of 2020 to explore the remote and stunning Abel Tasman – where although there was wifi, turning ‘off’ was made a little easier. A region not as regularly traveled by Jacqui, the opportunity was taken to explore some of the areas hidden gems, spend some well overdue time with the family, and reconnect with some of the area’s best suppliers along the way – a well needed break with just a touch of business.

The Highlights

From Luxury Accommodation, to delicious chef prepared meals, and private heli-excursions, the best of Abel tasman and Nelson was served up in spectacular fashion by the Kiwi’s that know it inside and out. With unforgettable views from air, land and sea, space to clear the head from the comfort of a luxurious mega villa, and an old school Pac-Man Galactica to keep the kids amused, Abel Tasman has something to suit everyone.

Accommodation: Falcon Brae Villa

A visit to Abel Tasman would not be complete without a stay at Falcon Brae Villa at Stonefly Lodge. With three stunning bedroom suites and a large bunk room, Falcon Brae Villa offers ample space for 10 guests.

‘We really couldn’t fault the experience at all.  The two Master Suites are massive and so awesome to rest and relax in offering ultimate privacy.  One could be very happy in a Master Suite for a few days not needing to leave.’

The architecturally designed contemporary residence, features a large central lounge area with a 5 metre ceiling, sunken bar (with delicious cocktail bottles), mini grand piano, media theatre, commercial kitchen, 3 dining areas and a stunning collection of New Zealand and local art.  Directly in front of the Helipad Terrace, guests can relax in the “Games Den” housing modern gym equipment, pool table, table tennis, darts and a games table. The large deck space overlooks the mountains and river, featuring a pool & outdoor heated spa, barbeque area for outdoor dining and entertaining with a shaded pergola.

Falcon Brae Villa is completely off the grid with solar panels providing all the power required. Centrally located between 3 major National Parks the Falcon Brae Villa is an ideal luxury private retreat, of the highest of standards, providing easy access to all the major activities in the Nelson -Tasman Region.

Food & Wine: Falcon Brae Villa

With Breakfast and dinner catered for by your private inhouse chef, you really don’t have to think about anything. The Breakfast spread includes everything from fruit, muffins, and what ever hot option you’d like, alongside freshly brewed coffee and squeezed juices, making for the perfect start to the day.

Pre-dinner canapes are served alongside drinks before the main three-course diner is served. The daily menu is discussed with the chefs earlier in the day, ensuring the feast serves up something to catered to every flavour.

‘Every meal was incredible- some of the best and freshest seasonal food we’ve been served in New Zealand with stunning views on the side’

Experiences: Helicopters Nelson

A must do with the whole family is The Best of Both Worlds Tour with Helicopters Nelson. Experience Able Tasman from the water and the air in a private heli and on a privately charted boat. With luscious greenery, turquoise bays, and white sandy beaches, this trip is one to leave you feeling truly spoilt!

Offering heli-hiking, heli-fishing, heli-biking, vineyard tours and horse trekking, Helicopters Nelson can cater to your every request.

‘It was fantastic! Unbelievable and unforgettable experience’

Natural beauty at its finest

Beyond the private-heli, boats and luxurious lodge, Able Tasman offers something truly incredible – it’s natural beauty. One of New Zealand’s smallest national parks, Abel Tasman is the perfect destination for both relaxation and adventure. A coastal paradise choose between sinking your toes into the white sandy beach at Te Puketea Bay or spotting the fur seals lounging on the rocks at the edge of Tonga Island. Want to know more? Talk to the team today.

If Abel Tasman wasn’t already on your bucket list, it must be now!

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Business Update: Let's Talk About The 'C' Word

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I’m pretty sure no-one needs to be reminded that 2020 didn’t pan out quite as planned - with much of the world still in (and out) of lockdown, we can’t help but feel incredibly lucky to live in New Zealand – and despite it only being a month away, Christmas isn’t the ‘C’ word we’re talking about!

For Touch of Spice, the ‘C’ word has been about ‘Change’ – and with change often comes exciting opportunities.  We have always strived to set ourselves apart and carve our own niche in the luxury tourism industry here in New Zealand - and with all the change that has come about this year, we are once again taking the bull by the horns. 2020 was gearing up to be our biggest year on record, and then, we (like so many others) had the rug pulled out from underneath us. We were forced to reduce the team to reduce the overheads, we vacated our glamorous office space with its big windows and great mountain views and adapted to working from home – where kids, chaos, laundry, dirty dishes, barking dogs and a glass of wine (or two) are daily occurrences in our new-working lives.

The happenings of this year also gave me the time to contemplate the future of Touch of Spice which is something I didn’t always have. We have always been known as the market leaders for our amazing luxury villa portfolio teamed with an wide array of curated experiences and extensive concierge services – we have received many awards and accolades over the years both for our performance as a luxury operator and our portfolio of luxury stays. However, thanks to Covid-19 it's been pretty quiet on these shores and it's meant a ‘change’ to the business model was needed.

One element of our ‘change’ was partnering with Amazing Accom who going forward will market and manage The Private Villa Collection tier of accommodation we have always offered - while we here at Touch of Spice focus on managing and marketing The Residence CollectionLuxury Lodge Collection of properties which is a bespoke portfolio of the crème de la crème in luxury accommodation throughout New Zealand.  We will continue to offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences working with our long term partners who we trust, and who share our values, and who we know will take very good care of you.

We would like to take this opportunity to assure our clients and partners from across the globe that Touch of Spice as a luxury tourism brand and business isn’t going anywhere! We will continue to provide luxury in a league of its own to both our domestic and international clients, remaining the leader in luxury stays and experiences throughout the South Pacific.

So whether you’re looking to escape this Christmas or planning ahead to New Zealand’s borders opening (hopefully in the not too far future), Touch of Spice are ready to make ‘it’ happen.

From Jacqui and the team – we hope to see you soon!

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Did Someone Say R&R?

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And just like that we’re mid-way through November! I want to say where has the year gone, but I think we can all agree that 2020 is a year we can’t wait to forgive and forget. But as always, we have to keep thinking about everything that we can do, not what we can’t, and here in New Zealand we have the freedom to travel domestically, to getaway with family and friends and most importantly, we have the luxury to take that well needed and deserved you time.

With summer and Christmas just around the corner, now is the time to take that ‘pre silly season’ break, to turn your mind off, and let us do all the thinking for you. Whether you’re dreaming about escaping to the tranquil mountains in the South Island or relaxing on a private slice of paradise in the north, we have the perfect experiences to leave you feeling refreshed, revived and relaxed.

Need some inspiration? Check out some of our favourite R&R experiences below. Got something totally unique in mind? Tell us all about it – we know how to make ‘it’ happen!

Hike & Hot Pools in Queenstown

It's time to get active! Join your private guide on one of the many surrounding walking tracks in Queenstown - some even the locals don't know about! Listen to the stories of your guide, take in the views and get a real sense of being in the wild. Want to go further? Take a private heli to a remote mountain peak and hike along the ridge line for an unforgettable experience and a feeling of being on top of the world. After a day on your feet, treat yourself to a private hot pool at Onsen. Relax under the stars with a glass of bubbles and let the days activities melt away.

Wind down on Waiheke Island

It's time to take that well needed (and deserved) break with a luxurious yet healthy experience on Waiheke Island. This 3 day, two night experience is designed to give you the time and space to really slow down, relax and revive yourself. This all-inclusive package includes a stay at one of Waiheke's most luxurious accommodation providers, all meals, yoga classes, transfers and plenty of luxury toiletries for pampering. It's time to do something for you.

Tee-off, Spa on – Bay of Islands (Kauri Cliffs)

One for the golf lovers.Take to Kauri Cliffs - a par 72 championship golf course measuring 7,119 yards / 6,510 metres and offering five sets of tees to challenge every skill level. The beautiful inland holes wind through marsh, forest and farmland. Kauri Cliffs is currently ranked #39 in the world by Golf Digest Top 100 Greatest Golf Courses in the World. After a morning on the green, take to the main lodge for a relaxing spa afternoon complete with massage, facial and stunning views all round.

Waves, Wine and Dine – Muriwai

Jump in a luxurious Land Rover with your private guide and drive from Auckland to the stunning Piha Beach through the scenic Waitakere Ranges on the West Coast. Explore the black sand beach of Piha before your private surf lesson and experience why Piha Beach is famous for its surf. Are you a beginner? Not to worry - your guide will be on hand to show you the ropes and have you riding the waves in no time. Finish the day with a private chef prepared dinner on the beach, paired perfectly with New Zealand wines and a picture-perfect sunset.

Aro Ha Wellness Retreat – Glenorchy

Designed to regenerate your body and mind, Aro Ha’s programs are based on research that suggests we can fundamentally transform our physical and emotional health through our daily habits. From mindfulness to healing bodywork, Aro Ha encourages you to switch off from technology and renew your awareness. Navigating between group and solo activities, you’ll learn to balance solitude and community for wellbeing and clarity. Expect your body to become lean, strong, and flexible, as your mind becomes calm, clear, and present. You are simply required to show up, be present, and allow the experience to unveil your inherent potential.

Wellness & Wine – The Elms at Lake Hayes Villa two

Roll out of bed in the luxury of your own private villa at The Elms at Lake Hayes Villa Two, breathe in the mountain air and the smell of fresh coffee. Leave the real world behind you as you stretch and de-stress with a private yoga session overlooking the lake followed by a relaxing in-house massage. In the afternoon head over to Mount Edward Organic Cellar Door – by private appointment only – for your exclusive Touch of Spice wine experience. Peer into wine barrels, squeeze handfuls of grapes and taste the wine as it changes over time – an experience not to be missed. Looking for something in the evening? Take the short 5-minute stroll from your private villa along to Amisfield Winery and Bistro for a degustation dinner and wine paring to finish your day off in true style.

Whatever relaxation means to you, we have something to suit. Talk to the team today to find out more.

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Above & Beyond Heli Experiences

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We might not be able to fly internationally just yet but there’s nothing stopping us soaring above and beyond in our own beautiful backyard. Whether you’re looking for a remote paradise island to call your own for the day, thinking about a picnic on a peak, flying to a private boat in the middle of a Sound or purely as a way to get to your luxurious home away from home, we can make ‘it’ happen.

With our little black book of suppliers in hand, we know the Kiwi’s who can serve New Zealand up in a truly epic style. Got an idea? Tell us about it! Looking for some inspiration? Check out the below and be blown away by New Zealand this summer.

 

1. Soar to paradise – Bay of Islands

Take off and soar into paradise on your own private beach for the day with Heletranz. Experience stunning Bay of Islands from the air – get lost the tropical blues of the ocean beneath you, spot the dolphins as they make a splash along the way and find your own slice of paradise from the sky. Touch down on a white sandy beach for a delicious picnic prepared by your pilot before jumping in the awaiting kayaks to get out on the water. Watch the waves roll by, sink your toes in the sand and relax knowing that you have it all to yourself before flying back to your base in Bay of Islands.

 

Glide into Milford Sound – Fiordland

Glide through the air and water with an out-of-this-world experience on Milford Sound. From your private heli you will explore the rugged mountain peaks of famous Milford Sound before flying into the sound itself and landing on board your own privately chartered 24m, three-decked catamaran. Once on board the Fiordland Jewel you will indulge in a delicious three-course meal (including freshly caught crayfish of course) as your skipper sails around the magnificent wonder of Milford Sound. Finish the day with a peak top landing for that ultimate postcard picture shot of you and the view before returning to base in Queenstown or Wanaka.

 

Tee-off from the top – Queenstown

Take off from the Queenstown hanger and fly to the top of a mountain peak for a golf range like no other with Over The Top Heli. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just looking for some adventure, touch down and take to the platform to knock biodegradable balls out the park and into the abyss of Lake Wakitipu. This has to be one of, if not the, most epic and scenic golf ranges in the world with an unforgettable way to get there.

 

Picnic of a peak – Mount Cook

Take to New Zealand’s highest peak (standing at 3,724m) with New Zeal. Get up close and personal with the glacial formations before landing on the peak for a perfectly chilled glass of bubbles to toast to the view. Indulge in the tasty delight prepared by your pilot before exploring the ice caves and tunnels in what feels like foreign land compared to the patchwork plains of neighbouring canterbury.

 

Whales to wine – Christchurch

We mentioned this is last weeks Canterbury Short Break blog post but it would be rude to not include it in our favourites this week. Take off from Christchurch with Christchurch Heli and soar towards the rugged east coast town of Kaikoura. From here you’ll swap heli and jump into one a little nimbler to head out to sea to spot the migrating whales from the sky – your expert pilot getting you in prime view. Look out for the dolphins that typically follow the whales trail and be in awe of the ocean beneath you. From the whales you’ll fly to a renowned winery for a private tasting in the cellar door perfectly paired with a platter of local produce served straight from the farm to the table - the perfect end to an unforgettable day.

 

Heli-fishing – Auckland

The Hauraki Gulf and surrounding islands have some of the best fishing in the world. No one knows Heli-Fishing like Heletranz—if you love fishing and flying—this is the trip for you. Depart from our Heliport in Albany and head out to one of our chosen fishing spots, flying over the islands of the Hauraki Gulf with stunning seascape views. Your pilot stays with you as your guide throughout the trip and will be on hand to serve up some drinks and nibbles whilst you fish away. After 3-4 hours of ‘lines in the water’ fishing, re-board your helicopter for the return flight to Auckland.

 

Land on the front lawn – ‘Somewhere’ Bay of Islands

Looking to escape to the ultimate home from home this summer? Travel there in style and land right on the front lawn. ‘Somewhere’ in the Bay of Islands is one of many in our Residence Collection with it’s own private heli pad designed for doing just that. Take off and land from one of your two private beaches, escaping for a day of adventure soaring through Bay of Islands, before returning home for a classic kiwi style BBQ as the sun goes down. Not wanting to take to the air one day - make a splash in the pool or off your private jetty, explore by kayak or stand-up-paddle board, or retreat to a hammock with a good book and sip G&T’s as the boats sail by (heaven!), enjoying everything that ‘Somewhere’ has to offer.

Got something else in mind? Tell us what’s on your bucket list and let us bring your heli dream to life this summer.

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Short Break: A Taste of Canterbury

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Over the last few weeks, we have featured short breaks in Queenstown, Muriwai and Waiheke Island. We thought we would bring things back to the South Island this week with a focus on the patchwork plains of stunning Canterbury. A truly unique destination where the mystery of the alps meet the majestic ocean, Canterbury is Famed for its lush vineyards, glacial lakes, farmland and coastal towns – making it the ultimate short break for a foodie looking to discover a true taste of New Zealand.

Accommodation: Seascape – Annandale

What’s a getaway without a romantic luxury stay in a bay of your own. Seascape is a sparkling jewel in Annandale's crown: a picturesque private bay, above which an ultra-modern retreat provides a truly romantic experience for two.

Accessed by helicopter or by a 40-minute transfer in a 4WD Annandale vehicle across the cliff-top farm tracks, this awe-inspiring setting offers couples the chance to make memories around the clock. As you approach the bay, with its dark pebbles and azure waters, it is clear you are somewhere timeless and unique. The turf roof, stone walls and glass façade of the contemporary accommodation discreetly add another dimension to the landscape.

Inside, a king-size bed sits upon a dais, a step up from the living area and fireplace, so the incredible view dominates the space. The modern bathroom matches the rest of Seascape for drama – an arrowslit window capturing a view of the dramatic rock formations along the coast and leading to the outdoor spa.

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 frolick in the glittering water, with only you and the tussock grass to witness them.

Feel the power of Seascape: take your time, breathe deeply and let instinct guide you.

Day 1: Arrive & Sip Champagne By The Ocean

Arrive to Seascape to champagne and a delicious platter overflowing with local Canterbury delicacies. Sit back, relax and watch the waves roll in as you sink into a feeling of true escapism at Seascape.

Day 2: Rise & Shine With Ocean Views

Enjoy a coffee in bed as you watch the sun rise over the ocean. Roll out of bed and start the morning feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready to seize the day with a private couple’s yoga session on the deck. After breakfast, take to the water on a private kayak tour or nature cruise and get up close and personal with dolphins that call these waters home. 

That afternoon head out to Te Mania’s Saloon at the farm just up the road. Get up close with some of New Zealand’s finest Angus Bulls and pick up something to enjoy on the barbecue that evening. Enjoy farm to table dining and barbecue up your own Canterbury fayre or why not get a private chef to do it for you?

Day 3: Taste the Canterbury Region from Mountains to The Sea

Rise and shine ready for a big day out with Christchurch Helicopters. Lift off over the green patchwork of the Canterbury Plains. With the wine country ahead and the Southern Alps on your tail, head towards the sparkling east coast and start you adventure spying on the sunbathing seals from the air. Following the shoreline you will head out to sea to look out for the blow holes and scout the migrating whales from above.

After a short break hop back on board with an array of freshly prepared local delicacies like crayfish, whitebait, mussels and prawns, experiencing Kaikoura’s indigenous meaning ‘Food from the Sea’. Flying west, soar to the Seaward Kaikoura Range and touch down at the exquisite Lake Sumner to enjoy a traditional picnic and relish the seafood delights, complimented by a selection of delicious New Zealand wine and beer.

Feeling full of delicious food and in awe of nature, it’s time to head down from the peaks. Tantalise your taste buds at the famous Pyramid Valley Vineyard to savour some of their most spectacular wines. Pick up a bottle or two to enjoy in the spa pool at Seascape on your final evening - savouring the flavours and the days gone by.

Day 4: Depart feeling refreshed & refueled

After a relaxed morning it’s time to embark on the journey home, or your next adventure. Why not combine this Short Break with another in Queenstown or even the North Island? Check out more of our Short Breaks here.

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Short Break: Relax on Waiheke Island

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I don't know about you, but if 2020 has taught me anything, it's to take that well needed (and deserved) me time - and nothing quite says that like a stay on Waiheke Island. Sink into slow island life with a short break in paradise, indulging in delicious local produce and treating yourself to some R&R with the sound of rolling waves in the background. Only a short boat ride from Auckland, Waiheke makes for the perfect weekend escape. Leave work in the office, grab those closest, and forget about the stress of the months gone by with our exclusive Waiheke Short Break. 

Accommodation: Mudbrick – The Beach House

The Beach House offers three levels of luxury living, situated on the famous white sand beach of Oneroa, a vibrant, beautiful, holiday hot-spot on Waiheke Island.

Take your pick of three luxurious bedrooms and marvel in the perfect views across the bay from the wrap-around deck and living room. The top, master bedroom has an en-suite shower room and King bed, private deck and ocean views. The second bedroom is located off the lounge and has a queen bed, sea views and doors that open to the main deck.  The third bedroom is located on the bottom floor and has a split King bed (King or two singles) with doors that open to the outside and the spa. The house also offers a shared bathroom, separate toilet, and an outdoor shower for days at the beach.

Make use of the two paddle boards at The Beach House during the day and the BBQ for lazy evenings in the setting sun – board games and books are available for indoor days. Oneroa village is easily accessible from the property, with cafés, restaurants, art galleries and shops just a few minutes’ walk away.

Day 1: Arrive in paradise.

When you arrive in Auckland, a driver will be waiting to take you to the ferry. 40 Minutes later, you will set foot on Waiheke Island. In landscape, lifestyle and experience, Waiheke is a world away. Enjoy local wine while looking out over vine-covered valleys to the blue sea beyond. 

Arrive at The Beach House to a gourmet platter and bottle of champagne to cheers to the days ahead. Jump into your swimmers and get the sand between your toes before jumping in the spa pool as a private chef prepares the feast for the night. It's about taking a deep breath, taking it easy, and knowing we've got everything covered! 

Day 2: Gourmet Tour

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.

Day 3: Relax

After you wake up, enjoy a 60 minute massage and a yoga class from the comfort of your home away from home. Spend the rest of the afternoon lying on the beach, swimming in the ocean or exploring by SUP for the ultimate day of relaxation. Continue enjoying down time with those closest as the sunsets over the ocean and a private chef prepares a full BBQ feast for you to indulge in.

Day 4: Art, Nature & Adventure Tour

Waiheke offers many pleasures besides food and wine. Visit some top New Zealand artists, galleries and exhibitions, sculpture and garden parks; walk in a pristine native bird reserve, an ancient volcanic field or on a scenic coastal track; or ride the EcoZip above some luxuriant New Zealand bush. The choice is yours!

In the afternoon, you will prepare to depart and make your way homeward bound.

Get in touch with us today to find out more about our Exclusive Short Breaks and all other Waiheke Luxury Accommodation

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Short Break: Discover Muriwai

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With spring here, it means one thing – summer is on it’s way! The days are getting warmer and I don’t know about you but the ocean air is calling me. Having spent majority of this year in the South Island, I’m itching to get away for the perfect dose of vitamin ‘sea’ in a few weeks’ time – and what better place to discover than stunning Muriwai.

Only a short drive from Auckland Airport, Muriwai makes for the ultimate weekend escape - whether you’re flying from the South Island or driving from your home in Auckland CBD, Muriwai is perfect for a Short Break to celebrate and spend time with family and friends.

Last week we explored a four-day Queenstown Getaway, so we thought it only fair to show some love to the tropical north this week. From the mountains to the ocean, we have our second Short Break: Discover Muriwai.  

Luxury Accommodation:

Reduced from $15,300, stay for 3 nights and pay for only 2, meaning for only $165 per person, per night you can live like a VIP and experience New Zealand luxury like never before. Arrive to a bottle of bubbles, a selection of New Zealand’s finest wines and an artisan platter of local produce to really get the celebrations underway. This three night stay includes a breakfast basket packed full of nutritional goodies for your first morning, bespoke teas and Nespresso coffee for throughout your stay, luxurious bathrobes and slippers for getting from the sauna to the hot tub and plenty of pampering toiletries to revive yourself.

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; no expense has been spared in the crafting of this Mediterranean inspired home. Host the full family for a long lunch in the gardens, cheers a glass of bubbles by the pool with your friends and watch the sunset from the rugged black sand beach with your other half – there’s always something to celebrate at Muriwai Estate.

Day 1: Welcome To Muriwai Estate

Arrive to Muriwai Estate to champagne and delicious platter. Feel the stress of everyday life melt away as you take in the breath-taking West Coast and view of the Southern Ocean – the sunsets are out of this world. If you can tear yourself away from the view; feel inspired as you wind your way through the luxuriously appointed interior of the stunning estate you get to call home.

Unlike a hotel stay a private villa will let you escape and really catch up with family and friends in the privacy of a true home from home. After a relaxing afternoon and a good catch up, we recommend popping some dinner on the barbecue and dining al fresco on the terrace as the kids amuse themselves in the play park.

Day 2: Explore the Wild West

Wake up in one of the sumptuous bedroom suites and enjoy a coffee with views of the ocean as the waves’ roll in. Roll out of bed and start the morning feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready to explore the wild west of the North Island with our expert guide. 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 of Muriwai Surf Beach.

Park up on one of the many secluded sand dunes, take a breath, enjoy a gourmet lunch and get lost in the panoramic views of the clear ocean in front of you. Catch your breath after an adrenaline fuelled morning and take a more leisurely approach to discovering the 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 – keep on the lookout for native birds and marvel at nature.

Enjoy a traditional Maori waiata (song) and exquisite kiwi style BBQ for a truly moving and tasty experience to finish your day before heading home to relax.

Day 3: From Waves to Wineries

Enjoy a slow start and a home-cooked breakfast al fresco. Relax by the pool and enjoy the breath-taking views. After a relaxing start to the day it’s time to head over to world famous Piha surf beach for a surfing lesson with your own private instructor. Catch your first wave, or if you are a seasoned pro head out and catch a wave from the head of famous Lion Rock, all the way back to shore. If surfing isn’t your thing a short coastal walk up Taitomo Island offers unrivalled views of the black sand beaches. We recommend a well-deserved lunch at the incredible Hunting Lodge Winery on your way home where you can enjoy delicious food cooked by famous chef Des Harris.

Take the afternoon to relax and enjoy each others company and your surrounds – disconnect from the real world and reconnect with those closest. Unwind and get ready for one final evening of having your mind blown with a chef-cooked meal from famous New Zealand chef Gideon – head chef at one of the top restaurants in New Zealand. Let him show you the best of what the region can offer with a degustation menu to saviour as your sip a glass of New Zealand’s finest.

Day 4: Depart

Rise and shine on your final morning with ocean views. Enjoy brunch by the pool before preparing to embark on your journey home or onto your next adventure.

To find out more about our Short Breaks or our EXCLUSIVE OFFER at Muriwai Estate, get in touch with the team today. 

 

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Short Break: Queenstown Getaway

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Spring has sprung, longer evenings are here, warmer days are coming, and there’s a change in the air. Auckland has now joined the rest of New Zealand at Covid Alert Level 1 and it’s a continued breath of fresh air to see New Zealand thriving against the Covid battle. With the school holidays currently underway, we’ve already seen an influx of visitors to Queenstown, as well as many of our returning clients taking the time to explore the paradise beaches in the north, enjoying that well needed and deserved break away with the family.

With the return to ‘normal’ life (I hope I’m not jinxing anything here), now is the time to take the lessons we’ve learnt over the last few months and embrace the changes. Our biggest lesson? Valuing time with those that matter. We know time is precious, which is why we will sort everything for you, so that you can maximise your time away. Our phylosophy is that you don’t have to lift a finger, so you can raise a glass instead!

With that in mind, over the next few weeks we will be sharing a series of exclusive Short Breaks featuring everything from luxury accommodation to where to eat breakfast, drink wine, bungy, dive, soar and everything in-between! With New Zealand all to ourselves, it’s time to explore.

First up: Queenstown (it would be rude to start anywhere else than our very own backyard), four days, three nights in the adventure capital – perfect for the adrenaline junkies, wine lovers and fitness freaks.

Luxury Accommodation:

What ever your style, our Private Villas and Residence Collections have something to suit your every need. From 4* to Rockstar, Queenstown has it all. One of our personal favourites – The Elms at Lake Hayes Villa one. Just 15 minutes from Queenstown International Airport and 20 minutes from central Queenstown, Lake Hayes Escape could not be better positioned for a short break from anywhere. Arrive to a bottle of bubbles and clink those glasses to you and the view from the lake front balcony.

Day 1: Welcome to Queenstown

Arrive at your luxury accommodation to a bottle of bubbles and clink those glasses to you and the unforgettable Queenstown view. With the bags dropped off it’s time to explore. Take the time to meander through the streets of the town, browsing the boutique stores, stopping for a spot of lunch at the delicious Yonder or famous Fergburger before jumping on a jet boat or off the Kawarau bridge for that first adrenaline hit. Looking for something more mellow? Take the Gondola to the top of the Skyline for your own Grand Prix on The Luge or perhaps take a walk-up Queenstown Hill for a view from the top. Enjoy a relaxed evening at home with dinner from a private chef, before soaking in the hot tub as the sun goes down on day one.

Day 2: Wine not?

Rise and shine to breakfast in the comfort of a home away from home or venture into town to try one of the many delicious cafes for brunch (Bespoke Kitchen is another personal favourite of mine), and start the day off right. What is a visit to Queenstown with a trip through The Valley of The Vines? Join Lee from Alpine Luxury Tours, one of our expert local guides, for an exclusive wine tour. Peer into the wine barrels at a private cellar door not open to the public, sip wine with the wine maker themselves and indulge in a variety of local produce served from the farm to the table. Enjoy an evening at leisure after a busy day spent sipping away on the regions finest, or perhaps dine out at the renowned Amisfield Bistro, only a stone’s throw from The Elms at lake Hayes Villa One.

Day 3: Hike & Hot Pools

It's time to get active! Join your private guide on one of the many surrounding walking tracks in Queenstown - some even the locals don't know about! Listen to the stories of your guide, take in the views, and get a real sense of being in the wild. Want to go further? Take a private heli to a remote mountain peak and hike along the ridge line for an unforgettable experience and a feeling of being on top of the world. After a day on your feet, treat yourself to a private hot pool at Onsen. Relax under the stars with a glass of bubbles and let the day’s activities melt away. For your final evening, treat yourself to Botswana Butchery or Rata for a feast to remember.

Day 4: Depart

Rise and shine to your final morning of lake views. Enjoy brunch at home or perhaps stop by Akarua wines, kitchen by Artisan for a farewell brunch (mimosa optional of course). After a relaxed morning, it’s time to embark on the journey home or onto your next adventure.

What ever your style, no matter how many guests, our Short Breaks are custom made to suit you. Get in touch with the team to find out more and watch this space for Short Breaks in the North and around the South Island.

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