Executive Edge Travel’s Co-founder and Head of Leisure Yvonne Verstandig celebrates her wedding anniversary with a weekend of discovery at luxurious The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand.
The lowdown on The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs
My husband and I escaped for a weekend getaway at The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, a Relais & Chateaux hideaway, to commemorate our 29th wedding anniversary. The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs is the first of three Robertson Lodges of New Zealand. (The Farm at Cape Kidnappers and Matakauri Lodge claim the other two spots.) Originally a working sheep farm, Julian and Josie Robertson bought the property in 1995 and by 2001 the couple opened The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs.
The main colonial residence is the heart of the resort showcasing dining rooms, living areas and a golf pro-shop overlooking the golf course and the breathtaking Bay of Islands. Its 18-hole golf course, rated in the world’s top 50, hugs the coastline and weaves its way through undulating farmland. Some describe the golf course as “Pebble Beach on steroids” because it’s so spectacular. The course has even won ‘Best Golf Resort in Australasia’ by Golf Digest.
The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs is located in the Bay of Islands in the northern part of New Zealand’s North Island. Set on 6000 acres in Matauri Bay, the lodge commands 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean.
Virgin Australia flies to Auckland several times a week from Brisbane (daily), Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast (daily), and Newcastle. Either take a 50-minute flight from Auckland to Keri Keri, then a 30-minute drive north. Or if you rent a vehicle in Auckland it’s a 3.5 hour drive north.
This charming boutique hotel consists of a mere 22 suites (and one owner’s cottage) contained within 12 cottages dotted along the golf course. The setting is pure tranquility overlooking the stunning sea, golf course and farmland vistas.
The décor and design is a mix of Hamptons and the grand plantations of South Carolina. The open-plan suites are elegantly designed with light colours, cosy fireplaces and large terraces overlooking panoramic views.
Each suite has a mini-bar like no other mini-bar I’ve experienced in all my travels (and that says a lot!). Choose from spirits, regional wines, beers and soft drinks along with plenty of snacks to keep you satisfied between the delicious meals served in the main dining room.
The activities at The Lodge are seemingly endless. From the 18-hole golf course to numerous hikes, tennis, gym, indoor and outdoor pools, picnics on a pink beach, waterfall nature walks, farm tours, honey tours, guided bird watching, fishing, surfing, horseback riding and heritage tours with local guides. Our guide, Michael, was so knowledgeable and we even learnt about the medicinal qualities of some of the native flora along with the benefits of their local Kanuka honey.
My favourite was biking through that magnificent golf course on their fat wheel bikes. Seriously challenging with all those hills, but so rewarding.
The Lodge also offers external options including helicopter tours, cultural town tours (to Waitange), kayaking, sailing, big game fishing and visiting local towns of the North.
Let’s face it. The property is a Relais & Chateaux, so cuisine is very important. Chef Barry tries to source as much of the produce through local farmers, cheese makers and fisherman which takes the food quality to another level. Guests can choose from many private dining venues speckled throughout the lodge and several dining rooms.
The nightly rate includes a la carte breakfast, pre-dinner drinks and canapes along with a multi-course dinner so guests can indulge to the fullest. I found it quite easy to come away a few kilos heavier!
The spa is nestled amongst the Kauri trees which features a gym, indoor pool and treatment rooms.
Their signature treatment included a local Manuka honey scrub which left my skin silky smooth.
Keep your eye on…
Adding to its repertoire of refined luxurious accommodations, in exciting news Robertson Lodges has announced the creation of The Residences at Kauri Cliffs. The three new private residences filled with high-end amenities and ultimate comfort are ideal for larger guest groups. Opening in November 2019, each offers a stay comprising the very best in accommodations. Similar to the Owner’s Cottages, The Residences at Kauri Cliffs were developed for owner Julian Robertson’s children and their families. While they are used personally by the Robertson family, both the Owner’s Cottage and now The Residences at Kauri Cliffs are available for guest stays. Walking into their Residence, guests will face a spacious living and dining room, accompanied by a family-sized kitchen complete with a casual dining island, a butler’s pantry for exclusive chef service and a mini-bar carrying New Zealand’s finest wines, beers and spirits. A private laundry room is also located in each villa. Stepping out to an expansive veranda, each villa also has their own private 25-foot saltwater swimming pool and deck for guests to enjoy.
Point of difference
The location stands out as the point of difference. Even with all the luxury lodges on offer in New Zealand, the position of The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs boasts the most spectacular perspective on the cliff.
10 Words Or Less …
A relaxed luxury getaway with world-class golf course and coastal views.