If there’s one place in New Zealand that knows how to do boutique accommodation, it’s Taupo. The area is home to gorgeous retreats, set in the hills, deep in the countryside and even in the midst of the township. Come take a look at some of the best hotels among them.
Huka Lodge is a luxurious five-star retreat on the banks of the Waikato River, with the mighty Huka Falls just upstream. Guests can enjoy a selection 22 rooms: 18 river-facing Junior Cottage Suites, one spacious Double Lodge Suite, the self-contained Owner’s Cottage and the private Alan Pye Cottage. The lodge, founded in the 1920s, has a reputation for its hospitable setting and all-round elegant facilities, winning numerous awards and welcoming some high-power guests over the years (think European royals, government officials and Hollywood celebrities).
This chic accommodation, surrounded by stunning lake and mountain views, sits on the hills above Acacia Bay, overlooking Lake Taupo, making it an ideal getaway for those seeking a bit of privacy. Four luxury ensuite rooms, designed to accommodate up to eight, create a sense of intimacy in a lavish setting. Those who are privileged enough to stay at Acacia Cliffs are treated to a complimentary bottle of wine on arrival, as well as chef-prepared breakfasts and pre-dinner canapés and drinks. The hotel offers an airport transfer service for those who need it.
At Serenity on Wakeman, a bed and breakfast in Acacia Bay, enjoy the best sights in town – you’ll have 180-degree views of Lake Taupo, with native bushland stretching for miles in the other direction. Designed to be as the name suggests, the rooms at Serenity on Wakeman are fitted with spa baths and private balconies, while only the sounds of neighbouring tui birds and lapping waves are in earshot. If you fancy adventure, boating, fishing and hiking destinations are minutes away by car.
Chalet Eiger is a tranquil Acacia Bay retreat with elegant European flair. It offers a small selection – there are only four rooms, so it’s an intimate experience, with balconies, alcoves and plenty of luxurious perks. Guests can also enjoy a number of homely additions, including the spacious communal lounge area with a roaring Finnish soapstone fireplace, a library and the hotel’s fabulous home-cooked dinners.
Head to the idyllic Mine Bay to find the indulgent Point Villas. Choose between one of two self-catering, lake-facing getaways: the sunny Tatamoana Villa or the soothing Ngahere Villa. Both have been fitted with original artworks, classic oak furnishings and stylish leather lounge suites. Each villa also opens up to its own terrace with a swimming pool and barbecue area.
The Pillars Retreat is a boutique bed and breakfast with a Mediterranean touch, a stunning country manor, in a lush garden setting, that beckons its guests to relish the peace and tranquility of the four suites here. The luxurious rooms are all located on the upper floor and provide excellent views of the countryside. The Pillars Retreat is also committed to being eco-friendly, sourcing eggs and produce from its own farm whenever possible and making practically all breakfast foods (jams and muesli included) from scratch.
The Lake is a retro-themed boutique motel at the heart of the Taupo township. Six rooms, all located on the ground floor, invite the motel’s guests to relish the “good old days” in style. There’s a ’60s suite, two ’70s suites, a Courtyard unit, as well as the Queen and Twin Studios. Artwork and modern furnishings come together in crafting each room’s comfortable and jovial ambiance. The Lake Motel offers such a unique, homely experience that it is the only New Zealand accommodation of its kind to have been featured in Home and Styling magazine – one of the country’s leading design publications.
A quiet haven set in a wonderful, park-like setting, Whakaipo Lodge features two guest suites, lined with New Zealand-made art and fitted with modern furnishings and new bedding. Rooms can accommodate up to two guests and there is a spare bedroom for larger travelling parties. Warm hospitality adds to the sense of pampering, with gourmet breakfasts, complimentary drinks and airport drop-offs included in all guest packages.