New Zealand is known for its skiing and cinematic landscapes made memorable by the film series The Lord Of The Rings, but it also offers stylish travellers the option of extreme luxury. And Huka Lodge in Taupo has the luxe factor in spades.
With its spellbinding setting on the banks of the Waikato River, Huka Lodge is located just upstream from the world-famous Huka Falls and close to Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. From Auckland, it is a scenic three-hour drive or 45-minute domestic flight from the capital. Taupo is located within the central plateau of New Zealand’s verdurous North Island.
Consistently rated as one of world’s most exclusive retreats, Huka Lodge was founded in the 1920s by Irishman Alan Pye who had a passion for superb hospitality and trophy-sized trout fishing. Based on the concept of the private country lodges of the US and Europe, Huka Lodge was the first of now many luxury lodges in New Zealand and has become a go-to favourite in the little black books of European royal families, celebrities, heads of state and prize-winning authors.
SHOPPING AND SIGHTSEEING
The lodge has curated a selection of lifestyle packages – including fly-fishing, mountain bike riding and horse riding – for guests to enjoy. It works in partnership with carefully selected operators including Exclusively New Zealand, a bespoke luxury travel curator, and Chris Jolly Outdoors, a local adventure company.
Esteemed local designer Virginia Fisher has carved somewhat of a reputation in New Zealand for her take on luxury country chic and here at Huka her aesthetic is evident everywhere in the neutral-hued spaces and cosy furnishings. The lodge comprises18 junior lodge suites, all with tranquil riverside views, and ensuite bathrooms with deep window-framed baths. As you move up in scale and exclusivity, the Alan Pye Cottage comes with two large suites and the Owner’s Cottage – popular with royalty and the ultra A-list jet-set, it has four generous suites, perfectly suited for an extended family, security personnel or a travelling entourage. Both cottages have their own butler service and personal chef.
EAT YOUR HEART OUT
In traditional lodge fashion, guests gather in the main lodge each night for pre-dinner drinks and canapés and from there have the option to either dine communally in Huka Lodge tradition or to seek out a private nook either inside the main house or fire-side on one of the romantic outdoor terraces. Huka takes fine dining seriously and the gourmet experience here is Michelin-worthy with guests being treated to a five-course dinner featuring the best of local, seasonal ingredients and world-class silver service.
Huka Lodge makes up a triumvirate of luxury that also includes private lodges in Grande Provence, South Africa, and Dolphin Island, Fiji. The brainchild of Dutch-born entrepreneur Alex van Heeren, Huka and its sister lodges are built on the concept of being chic and deliberately understated while offering guests the gold standard in exclusivity and seclusion.
THE EXTRA MILE
The grounds of Huka Lodge are nestled within 17 acres of beautiful garden that are of National Significance. Yet VIP guests are welcome to make use of the private helipad on the lawn!
For more information, visit hukalodge.co.nz