Great for: Romance or family time for the lucky few
What is it? Lodge
Will set you back: NZD $1050 – 5500 p/n
From the moment you drive through the gates of Huka lodge you are aware that you are in an extremely unique and special place in the world. The grounds are immaculate. The level of luxury that is instantly apparent is indescribable. Huka Lodge is not your run-of-the-mill five star experience (in any 5 star experience can be call run of the mill). This nook of New Zealand is unimaginably serene and tranquil. It’s like a secret garden reserved just for you and your guests, and no one would ever know that it was there amongst the tourist traps of Taupo and its famous lake. On arrival, we were walked into the reception area of the Main Lodge where there is a gorgeous lounge area that overlooks the rushing Waikato River, complete with cozy lit fireplaces and its many references to the fly-fishing roots of the Lodge and its surrounding landscape. By the time we were ushered to our accommodation for the next few nights, we were utterly speechless.
The landscape design at Huka Lodge is courtesy of Suzanne Turley, and the extensive grounds here are beautiful enough to have been listed as a ‘Garden of National Significance’, by the New Zealand Gardens Trust since 2011. The grounds are simply stunning and need to be seen to be believed.
The buildings themselves have been built using the best materials – cedar, heart timbers, stone and brick, and make for a true, authentic “lodge”. experience. The architecture is influenced by the 1920 and 1930s and tastefully reinterprets the elegant English Arts and Crafts movement, which in the late 19th and early 20th century focused on traditional craftsmanship and utilised a romantic style of decoration.
Guests can stay in a Lodge Suite, Junior Lodge Suite, or one of the two premium Cottages at Huka Lodge. The Alan Pye Cottage houses two stunning guest rooms, bathrooms with twin basins, bathtubs, and separate showers, underfloor heating and walk-through dressing rooms. There is a fully equipped kitchen which can be used by a personal chef if you decide to splurge, or guests are welcome to dine at the Main Lodge during their stay. The Cottage features a heated infinity pool and a separate private spa pool, plus a private courtyard garden with a fireplace and a gorgeous stone outdoor pavilion perched on the edge of the Waikato River where you can sit and enjoy a meal in the great outdoors.
Regardless of which type of accommodation you choose, there are plenty of activities that the Huka staff will happily organize for you. The experiences range from relaxing: golf, horse riding, fishing and kayaking, to the thrill-seeking sports New Zealand is renowned for: white water rafting, sky diving, hunting, biking, quad riding, gliding, speed boating and of course, bungy jumping. Quite literally, there is something for everyone here if you happen to get bored (unlikely) and want to leave your palace for a few hours!
The level of service at Huka Lodge is unparalleled. You rarely catch a glimpse of any staff at all while in your lodgings, and privacy and discretion is valued as much as beauty and comfort. Although you probably won’t see the staff in attendance, don’t assume that they aren’t there. During our stay we happened to be discussing cars, an interest of ours, and to our surprise later that day a series of current car magazines had been left in the living area for our perusal. Whether it is house keepers hiding in the wings or the staff simply hear bits and pieces of conversation on their passings-by we don’t know, but either way the message is loud and clear at Huka Lodge: whatever you want, you shall have.
The Main Lodge houses the dining room at Huka and guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner from British-born chef, Paul Froggatt, who has worked at three Michelin Star restaurants internationally. The food has a fresh and local produce focus and is exquisite, as are the wines. We can’t fault it.
Located in Taupo, in the central North Island of New Zealand, guests of Huka Lodge are spoiled when it comes to the natural landscape here. The crystal clear river, mountains and green lushness is everywhere you look, and yet Huka Lodge is only a ten-minute drive to the centre of town, meaning you are never too far from civilisation. The Lodge makes the most of its perfect surroundings, perched on the banks of the Waikato River, above rolling green lawns and gardens. Lake Taupo is the biggest lake in New Zealand and is a must-see. Book your stay at Huka Lodge here!