Opulence. It’s a term that I as a traveler have rarely been able to use in my years on the road, but I finally found a reason to use it this past September.
We had been taken to a small lodge deep in the heart of New Zealand, a 7000 square foot stone and wood mansion perched on a peninsula in Lake Okareka, just outside of Rotorua. A property managed by the Thai luxury hotel brand lebua, it’s got only three suites, each with a stunning view over the lake and premium furnishings.
Inside of each room there is the perfect balance of comfort, technology and elegance. One can plug an iPod into the Sonos sound system, order a complimentary scotch from the butler and gaze out into the New Zealand hills, jump on the bed and watch the BBC on the flat panel television or surf the internet from private patios — everything has been done to ensure a plush stay.
Into the bathroom, visitors are treated to luxurious, overhead rain shower heads and Bvlgari amenities. Were it not so comfortable in the suite, this room could seriously be a great place to spend the day.
Downstairs, a private chef and butler are at your service around the clock. David, the genius behind each of your meals will custom tailor everything to your tastes or if you’re feeling adventurous, can surprise with the fresh, local fare of his creative invention.
The entire lodge, staff and property are effectively at your service while you’re at Lake Okareka Lodge. If you’d like to arrange fireworks over the hill as you sit on your patio, you can do that. If you’d like to eat a five course meal at 3AM with no pants on, well, they can arrange that too.
Those interested in getting out into the property have a fishing boat, kayak, hot tub, jet ski and helicopter landing pad at their disposal. If it’s raining, there’s also a work out room, fully stocked bar, wine cellar, lounge and grand piano to keep busy.
So is it for you? lebua’s Lake Okareka lodge is expensive, exclusive and off the beaten path. Those looking to get away from civilization and be treated like royalty will find this place to be heaven. For a visitor with a tight budget or a desire to walk into the city to visit the nightlife, it’s not the best place. Why anyone would ever want to leave this lodge, however, is beyond me.
Disclaimer: lebua sponsored our trip to come check out their hotels, though our opinions and experiences were all of our own design. No animals were harmed in creating these blog posts, but that’s only because the rifle sight wasn’t calibrated.