- Style Trad Twenties hunting lodge
- Setting Banks of the Waikato
RUNNER-UP: THE GREATEST OUTDOORS – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2013
Whether you’re into fishing, food or the great outdoors, luxury boutique hotel Huka Lodge is rated as one of the world’s top retreats. Set in Taupo, home to New Zealand’s largest lake in the heart of the volcanic North Island, this heritage 1920s hotel was founded as a simple fishing lodge. Surrounded by lush, green grounds beside the Waikato River and cascading Huka Falls, it’s still a top angling destination as well as an adventurous gourmet getaway, offering al fresco dining under the stars. It also makes a great base for skiing in winter, with the North Island's premier slopes, undulating amid volcanic cones, a short hop from Taupo.
Need to know
- Rooms 18 Lodge Rooms, one suite; the exclusive-use four-bedroom Owner’s Cottage and two-bedroom Alan Pye Cottage.
- Rates Double rooms from $1624.97 (NZD1,980), excluding tax at 15 per cent.
- More details Rates include breakfast, apéritifs, dinner and local airport transfers.
- Facilities DVD, CD and book library, free WiFi throughout, swimming pools, gardens. In rooms: flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player, iPod dock, minibar, own-label toiletries.
- Poolside There are three alfresco pools to soak in: one large and two smaller and more private.
- Check–out 11am, flexible subject to availability. Check-in, 2pm.
Children Baby cots are free; extra beds for older children in triple rooms possible for a fee. Babysitting with a local nanny NZ$25 an hour; 24 hours’ notice required.
- Also The Lodge also has four single rooms, ideal for older children or nannies.
In the know
- Our favourite rooms If you want privacy, the Owner’s Cottage sits on a sunny promontory above the river with stunning vistas downstream to the Huka Falls. The Alan Pye Cottage, named after Huka’s founder, has an Arts and Crafts look, as well as your own infinity and spa pools, a stone pavilion with outdoor dining table and fireplace, and a private chef and butler on tap.
- Packing tips A Belstaff jacket for strolling the grounds (those motorcycle details are great for rocking a modern country look). Designer shades – past guests include Kate Winslet, Barry Humphries and Bill Gates.
- Also Huka Lodge offers special packages from romantic stays with in-room spa treatments and private dining to fly and trout fishing (with expert guides, cooking and casting lessons), gourmet and adventure options. Take your pick from a smorgasbord including massage, horse treks, golf and helicopter trips to acclaimed wineries or active volcanic islands.
Food and drink at Huka Lodge
- Hotel restaurant Huka Lodge's British head chef, Paul Froggatt, has notched up stints at Gidleigh Park, three-Michelin-starred Bernard Loiseau en Bourgogne and Singapore's San Marco restaurant. Menus change daily according to produce available, and may include dishes such as freshwater lobster butter-poached with lemon-infused gnocchi and watercress, and chocolate fondant with espresso ice-cream.
- Dress code A dash of fashionable tartan to channel the hunting lodge look; a Belstaff jacket (motorcycle details are great for rocking a modern country style).
- Top table In the main lodge, ask for a table on the terrace. We also love the vaulted, wine-rack-lined cellar room or riverside under the stars (you can dine outdoors in a host of romantic spots).
- Last orders Speak to reception if you want to eat or drink outside regular hours. Huka’s take on service is ‘never say never’.
- Room service A variety of meals on offer 6.30am–11pm; picnic hampers also available.
- Hotel bar The cosy, comfy main Lodge lounge has a luxurious gents-club feel. The fab views and soothing sound of the river add to the mellow mood.
Also worth knowing
- Weddings This property is suitable for weddings. More details