A design lover's guide to New Zealand luxury lodges

New Zealand’s luxury lodges have gained a reputation for being architectural marvels – locally sourced materials and spectacular locations are leading the emergence of a genuine design movement that has seen the creation of some of the world’s best luxury lodges and retreats

One of the newest additions to the luxury architecture, azure, blue, building, evening, glass, horizon, house, ocean, rock, room, sea, sky, water, window, black, blue
One of the newest additions to the luxury lodge scene is The Lindis.

The team at New Zealand In Depth have scoured the country for the best award winning and iconic design led lodges that are now available for guests to enjoy. Here are some of the best.


The Lindis, Ahuriri Valley, New Zealand

One of the newest additions to the luxury lodge scene is The Lindis. This architectural gem is sure to be topping the awards with its clear relationship with the surrounding landscape through its curved natural roof.

Its paired back interiors are awash with natural wood and stone, bringing the magnificent Ahuriri Valley landscape indoors.

With the night sky and astro-tourism in mind, the next stage of The Lindis will include individual glass pods as an extension of the main lodge.

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Annandale Banks Peninsula, New Zealand

Set on a working farm on the edge of the Pacific Ocean near Christchurch, Annandale offers guests a choice of four properties to stay. Firstly, the original buildings including the 1884 homestead and an original shepherd’s cottage which have been sensitively restored.

Added to these are two additional new luxury retreats. Seascape is an ultra-modern concrete and glass couples’ hideaway cut into a hillside overlooking Whitehead Bay, while the award-winning four-bedroom Scrubby Bay House was designed as a piece of slowly ageing farm driftwood around which stock can graze.

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The Mahu Whenua Homestead, Wanaka, New Zealand

Set in over 136,000 acres of land studded with tussock, manuka, and spruce, Mahu Whenua has four individual Ridgeline Suites. The property has a real homestead feel that blends high-end indulgence with total immersion in the natural surroundings.

Rustic timber beams and stone wall are complemented by modern floor-to-ceiling windows framing the spectacular views from its isolated ridgeline location. Further touches of contemporary design are added through modern art on the walls, striking chandeliers and sheepskin rugs.

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Te Arai Lodge,  Te Arai, New Zealand

Having featured on New Zealand’s Grand Designs TV programme in 2018, this new property is sat on an elevated ridge with panoramic views across rolling hills and out onto the beaches and islands of the Mangawhai coast.

Inspired by the beauty of the surrounding native flora and bird life the lodge has a design nod to the stone clad villas of Tuscany and Provence where the owners holidayed over the years.

Much of the property uses local Te Kuiti Limestone and features small stone walls, paved courtyards and extensive raised gardens and plantings. One of the most impressive features of the lodge is the “Great Room”, an atrium-style lounge, dining and kitchen area that is framed by giant scissor trusses to reinforce the soaring height of the main living area.

Everything is on a grand scale at Te Arai with statement features including the grand double-sided, stone-clad, open fireplace, however it is this attention to detail which sets it apart with work displayed from local designers and artisans, many whom are personal friends of the owners.

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Hapuku tree houses, Kaikoura, New Zealand

Hapuku Lodge and tree houses are designed to blend seamlessly into the surrounding Kanuka grove. The five treehouses perched on “stilts” in the treetops this is a design that immediately brings excitement and interest.

Combine your tree top location the comfort and quality of a luxury lodge where designers have brought together locally sourced natural timbers, bespoke furnishings, organic colours and fabrics all to compliment the picture widows that celebrate the views of the surrounding coast and mountains.

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PurePod, New Zealand South Island, New Zealand

PurePods have taken design in a whole new direction. Where some have incorporated large windows, PurePods have created a series of isolated boutique rooms where visitors are completely surrounded by glass. Not only that, but each PurePod is completely off grid earning them a Qualmark award for sustainable tourism.

With the aim of creating a completely immersive nature experience the design is minimal, yet luxurious. Plants grow underneath the pod’s transparent floor, with the chance to marvel at the night sky through the glass ceiling and views out over local wilderness, coastlines and mountains (depending on where you are staying) through the clear walls. The experience allows you to truly connect with the landscape that you’re in. 

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Silostay, Banks Peninsula, New Zealand

At the quirkier end of design, SiloStay is likely the most comfortable grain storage you could ever stay in.

Designed over two floors each retain the charm of the agricultural structure heavily focussing on metal and simple but effective wood cladding to create a space packed with character.

The space is enhanced further with LED lighting, sculptural curved steel stair cases and natural wooden floors, which help to add a more comforting, homely atmosphere to the space.

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Eagles Nest, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

This multi-award-winning, 75-acre estate offers five private and beautifully minimalist luxury villas each with inspirational views to the Bay of Islands across private heated infinity pools.

The Rahimoana Villa at Eagles Nest includes four private ensuite bedrooms designed with minimalist modern clean lines, using whites and muted tones accented with bright modern statement furniture.

Its dramatic aerofoil copper roof floats above a three-metre high sliding glass walls, giving you a 300-degree view of the ocean, islands and native New Zealand landscape. It has been said to be an “extraordinary marriage of architecture and environment.”

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Piwakawaka Point villa, Wanaka, New Zealand

The design and architecture were entirely inspired by the surrounding natural landscape on the shore of Lake Wanaka, so much so that from the outside, the villa almost disappears.

The properties connection with the landscape has also been maintained throughout the interior, with extensive use of floor to ceiling glass to capture the lake and mountain views, and local natural materials throughout. A successful of old and new, traditional and contemporary fills the space with life and character throughout the property.

The effect is inviting and welcoming whilst the details and finish all make it an eclectic luxury property to stay.

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Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawke's Bay is a rustic-style luxury retreat that is about as character filled as it comes. As a working farm raising sheep, Hereford and Angus beef the lodge is styled with vintage farm implements, the snug has been created in the image of a grain silo, and miniature sheep ceramics greet you at the breakfast table.

The rooms are airy, rustic-style rooms built from river stone and wood bringing local natural elements into the design together with 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean.

With interiors originally done by Linda Bedell of Aspen, Colorado, delivering a cohesive and welcoming atmosphere to the lodge that is both luxury and playful.

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Marlborough Lodge, Blenheim, New Zealand

This grand wooden building from 1901 was originally the Sisters of Mercy convent that was brought to the area in pieces and rebuilt.

The ten-room boutique hotel were designed by Auckland-based Peter Lloyd with the 1913 chapel on the site was more recently converted into a spa. A design highlight of the property is its central staircase made entirely from 100-year-old kauri wood.

The beautifully appointed rooms feature the history of the convent, natural tones that blend with the original Rimu wood, and exposed beams also made from kauri wood. 

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Hulbert House, Queenstown, New Zealand

One of Queenstown's original residences, Hulbert House was awarded the title of Australasia's Leading New Hotel, World Travel Awards 2017.

A beautifully restored Victorian villa dating back to 1888, this is as eclectic and eccentric as it is an authentic historical experience.

Great lengths have been taken to source antique furniture, soft furnishings, custom-designed carpets, bathroom fittings and tiles, chandeliers, and historical photographs to create a live-in museum – which leaves bright and bold finish, just as an affluent Victorian would have had it.

It really is a riot of colour, pattern which although sounds overwhelming – is about a character filled as it comes.

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From Paul Carberry, founder of New Zealand In Depth

Along with the warm welcome renowned from the kiwis, there is a real design style coming out of New Zealand that ties closely to the country’s deep affinity to the landscape and nature. The really successful lodges and properties in New Zealand tell the story about where they are and the history around them, and this is a strand that runs through all our top design led lodges.

The celebration of local materials and local talents are also key. Each property brings authenticity and individuality through the use of the talent they have around them rather than reaching out further afield. For me this makes each property a celebration of that area of New Zealand and yet another way for guests to immerse themselves into a country and culture.

For more information and expert advice on travel throughout New Zealand, visit New Zealand In Depth, email  explore@newzealand-indepth.co.uk or call +44 (0)1298 74040.

May 30, 2019
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