Editors' Picks

Rosewood Matakauri

Chic, exclusive, glorious views

Farrycroft Row, 569 Glenorchy Road, Queenstown 00000

64-3-441-1008

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Indagare Adored

At a Glance

Matakauri Lodge is a stylishly appealing retreat set on a spectacular perch overlooking Lake Wakatipu, within driving distance of Queenstown, the heart of the rugged South Island.

The property is one of three run by the Robertson Family, the others being The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs and The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, both on the North Island. All three properties are small (fewer than 25 rooms) and offer superb service, private, elegant cottages and farm-to-table dining.

The Standout: The ultra-private four-bedroom Owner’s Cottage Don’t Miss: A helicopter excursion to Milford Sound, for rugged alpine splendor

Indagare Loves

  • Panoramic views from the dining room in the main lodge and the excellent menus and three-course meals that change daily
  • The intimate size (just 12 rooms plus the Owner’s Cottage), making the property feel congenial
  • The duplex layout of the Deluxe Suites, with prime lake views

Review

Queenstown’s most renowned property, Matakauri is indeed a “lodge” through and through—with comfortable, communal sitting areas, lots of wood burning fireplaces and a staff happy to organize a host of outdoor activities for guests. But banish all thoughts of dark  timber and antler chandeliers. Interiors look like they have escaped from a Dwell magazine shoot, as designer Virginia Fisher opted for a contemporary, chic and utterly stylish look for this, the smaller sister property of The Farm at Cape Kidnappers and the acclaimed Kauri Cliffs (both on the North Island).

Compared to its famous siblings, Matakauri is tiny—just 12 rooms and an Owner’s Cottage (with four bedrooms) that are spread across nine acres of lakefront property that’s beautifully and lushly planted. Some of the rooms and suites are located in the main house, where breakfast and dinner are served, while the most sumptuous Deluxe Suites, housed in free-standing homes, dot the property. These feature an incredible duplex layout, with an elevated bedroom and bathtubs tucked into a window nook, so taking a bath feels much like floating above the lake (the terrific tubs are Victoria + Albert). Families with smaller children should ask for a level suite to avoid the stone stairs. Everything was designed to make the most of the spectacular views, with lots of skylights, mirrors and floor-to-ceiling window panels. Interiors are brightened with a beautiful palate of colors that pop but never compete with the mountain and lake extravaganzas.

The most lavish of the accommodations is the Owner’s Cottage, a multi-bedroom villa set a bit apart from the rest of the property that can be serviced with a private chef, butler and security. Overall, Matakauri is geared to the type of travelers who want to kick off or finish a New Zealand itinerary with a bang: from fly-fishing with a private guide and wine tasting with an oenophile to helicoptering to a nearby glacier for a private lunch, no request is too complex for the lodge’s lovely staff. Queenstown is activities central, with four excellent golf courses, wonderful hiking and, of course, proximity to the Milford Sound and the Southern Alps. But many guests might find themselves tempted to just stay put (especially if they have already had an active New Zealand itinerary prior to Matakauri). There’s a tiny but terrific spa on-property, a gym, a small infinity pool and a large outdoor terrace with a wood-burning fireplace and lots of day beds for lounging and soaking up the views.

A real highlight is the restaurant, run by a motivated team of chefs who not only change the menu every night but also happily accommodate special requests. The main dining room is stunning, with high ceilings and massive floor-to-ceiling window panels. But guests can also request to dine in the intimate library upstairs or in a separate room with a panel of windows that open to the kitchen (a rarity, surely—a chef’s table with a view of more than just the chefs). The menu is heavy on local fare—venison sourced from across the lake, lamb from Queenstown, seafood from the North Island, vegetables from Matakauri’s own garden. And of course, the wine list is fabulous and full of New Zealand vintages from the surrounding Otega region and beyond.

Run by the Robertson family—patriarch Julian is a legend both on Wall Street and in the New Zealand lodges scene—Matakauri is the kind of hotel where even the smallest details are carefully orchestrated but in a way that feels authentic and natural.

Who Should Stay

Couples and families who prefer a serene, tucked-away location and who are not looking for an expansive, large resort setting (this doesn’t exist in Queenstown, period). Travelers who want to take advantage of Queenstown's myriad activities and thrills but who prefer returning to a place from which to relish in the gorgeous views of Lake Wakatipu in peace and quiet.

Written by Simone Girner

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