This Review of Otahuna Lodge near Christchurch, New Zealand is part of a New Zealand trip report featuring Virtuoso luxury lodges, fine dining, and things to do in North Island and South Island (Christchurch and Queenstown). For the prior posts please see:
TravelSort Clients enjoy these Virtuoso benefits when reserving Otahuna:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests
- A complimentary lunch or picnic basket for up to two people per room once during stay, including a bottle of New Zealand wine.
- Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
Otahuna Lodge Location and Check-In
Otahuna Lodge is located at 224 Rhodes Road in Tai Tapu, about a 30 minute drive from Christchurch Airport. There's a gate to the estate, which slowly swings open after you've spoken via the intercom. As you drive up the road that circles the Great Lawn and lake, you can already anticipate a memorable stay.
Miles Refo (co-owner of Otahuna with his partner Hall Cannon), and Donna, who were my gracious hosts throughout the stay, were waiting to welcome us, and Donna showed us directly to our suite after we admired the beautiful and lovingly restored interior, with gorgeous flowers from Otahuna's own gardens.
Clarke Suite, Otahuna
Otahuna has just 7 suites, two of them Master Suites, each of them uniquely decorated but all of them with a cozy fireplace (and sometimes two!)
The Clark Suite is named after Jessie Clark (Clark being Jessie's maiden name, before marrying Sir Heaton Rhodes, who built Otahuna). I loved the calm blue color scheme, and particularly the stained glass adorning the windows.
The King bed proved very comfortable, and I slept extremely well.
The bathroom was spacious, featuring a jacuzzi bathtub for soaking, as well as glass enclosed shower:
The British Penhaglion Quercus bath products were very much in keeping with the country estate style of Otahuna, even though my personal preference is for something such as L'Occitane.
There were delicious homemade brownies as a welcome amenity:
There were also fresh flowers with my welcome drink (I'd requested ice water with lemon) and a handwritten welcome note:
Otahuna's gardens are magnificent and a real draw of the property (the day we departed, there was even a major charity event being held there). Let's start with the great lawn, which is carefully tended and mowed in the striped pattern you see of grand British estates:
While we were there just after the season, the Daffodil Field is striking when in bloom:
The Dutch Garden is the most formal of the gardens, after the Great Lawn, with its ornamental hedges:
The Potager Garden supplies virtually all the organic herbs and vegetables used in Chef Jimmy McIntyre's fantastic cuisine (more on Otahuna dining in an future post).
And finally, the woodland offers several paths to meander. I'm terrible with flower names, but thought this tree's blossoms were lovely:
Swimming Pool and Jacuzzi
While it was a bit too chilly to go for a swim in the swimming pool during our late November stay, the jacuzzi was heated up to the perfect temperature, and I very much enjoyed a peaceful soak.
I'll cover Otahuna dining in a separate post. Otahuna's nightly rate includes a 5 course tasting menu for dinner, which can either be taken communally in the formal dining room, or at a private table for two in the library, wine cellar, or turret of the drawing room.
The formal dining room is the original one of the house, painstakingly restored to its Victorian glory.
Otahuna is understated luxury: elegance and exquisite taste with no pretension. It shouldn't be missed by any foodie or wine lover visiting New Zealand, or by anyone who enjoys beautiful gardens or a strong sense of place. We (and my clients who have stayed at Otahuna) felt so warmly welcomed and taken care of that we only wish we could have spent more time at Otahuna. The only thing to note is that guests must be 12 years of age or older, so this experience is best saved for couples and families with older children. My husband and son stayed nearby, but Miles and his team were kind enough to allow my husband and son to dine with me for dinner, which proved to be our favorite meal in New Zealand–stay tuned!
Disclosure: I received one complimentary night, inclusive of dinner and breakfast.
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