By Jennie Noonan
From the moment you’re welcomed in the discreet, atrium-style lobby, you’re dealt the dual pleasures of opulence and intimacy. The fine-tuned furnishings marry contemporary elegance with old-world charm, and the vibe is fancy but unfussy; it would be easy to get caught up in comfort and never want to leave. Fortunately, this chic home away from home, which has welcomed guests since the gold rush era of 1862, is at the heart of the Queenstown action.
Around 15 minutes from Queenstown airport, the hotel claims a prized position on the edge of Lake Wakatipu. An itinerary’s worth of adrenaline-pumping activities and the town’s best restaurants and bars are within walking distance.
There are seven lake or mountain-view suites and four lakefront cottage apartments that are a short walk from the central hotel. There is also a three-bedroom villa, The Residence (located offsite). Room 2, in the hotel’s heritage wing, features a country club-style sitting room centered around a switch-operated fireplace. The heavy curtains that separate a raised bedroom are pulled closed during a nightly turndown service that sees house-made chocolates appear on the bedside table. A generous dressing room and mini-bar area lead to a large marble bathroom complete with a deep tub, separate shower, side-by-side sinks and heated floors.
Food and drink
Eichardt’s Bar, once a woolshed, has been serving locals since 1867 and it’s a good idea to book your spot for cocktails, tapas or high tea. The Grille has a larger footprint, serving distracting lake views and traditional French fare. Room service is also available.
For business travellers
Each room has a desk and you can email documents to the concierge for printing. In addition, boardroom and conference facilities are available at Eichardt’s nearby sister property, The Spire Hotel.
For wellness travellers
The Vault Spa, tucked away in the hotel’s 1800s gold vault, offers restorative therapies for two. Try a Manuka Honey facial or opt for seasonal treatments like the 60-minute Aprés ski package, capped off with canapes, mulled wine, or hot chocolate.
The fab factor
The Penthouse boasts 240m2 of indoor and outdoor living, including a private sauna and spa.
The restaurants lean towards locally sourced produce and the hotel and the bathroom amenities include large bottles of Sans [ceuticals] products made with native New Zealand ingredients.