After dreaming of New Zealand’s surreal landscapes for years, I finally traveled to the country on my honeymoon this year. Queenstown was a favorite stop on our ten-day trip, where my husband and I checked into Eichardt’s Private Hotel, an 11-room gem overlooking Lake Wakatipu. Stays here feel like sleepovers at a friend’s apartment – a stately, historic, stunning one, that is, complete with turndown service and the best views of the city. Here are five things I loved about Queenstown’s grand dame.
You couldn’t ask for a better home base for exploring Queenstown. The British colonial-style building is across the street from Lake Wakatipu, and serves as a beacon of luxury, easy to spot from almost anywhere in the compact city. Eichardt’s is a big part of Queenstown’s modern blueprint: The hotel’s building was originally constructed as a home in 1859, when William Gilbert Rees settled in the city after gold was discovered in the nearby Shotover River. A few years later, he turned the property into the Queen’s Arm Hotel, which Albert Eichardt took over and renamed in 1869.
Easily Accessible Adventure.
Queenstown is the gateway to South Island adventure: The Remarkables, Milford Sound, and the Central Otago wine region. The hotel offers private four-wheel drive tours that take full advantage of this surrounding bounty, with day trips to wineries, lakes, and more. Your driver will even swing by the Shotover River, in case you feel like a nice bungee jump before cocktail hour.
Eichardt’s main building features five suites, but the hotel also has apartments, a residence, and one beauty of a penthouse next door. (At $10,000 a night, it’s the swankiest accommodation in the city.) Suites are spacious and comfortably furnished with sitting areas, gas fireplaces, double-vanity bathrooms (hello, Molton Brown toiletries!), and walk-in closets with stocked minibars. Our mountain view suite was attached to a palatial balcony overlooking Rees Street, a perfect spot for…
… A Great Nightcap.
The hotel’s daily pre-dinner reception in the parlor was a bit like convening for happy hour with a new group of globetrotting friends. The complimentary wine and canapés are great, but the parlor’s best feature is its collection of fine whiskies and scotches. Nightcaps are encouraged, best enjoyed on that aforementioned balcony.
Find fine dining at The Grille, but for a more relaxed and cozy setting (plus many of the same dishes), tuck into a leather banquette at Eichardt’s Bar. Tapas-styles plates served in the living room-like space include squid-ink calamari, wild rabbit rillettes, and, my favorite, the seafood chowder. It’s the only item on the menu that comes with the option for a full-size serving. Pro tip: Go big.