The prestigious Conde Nast Traveller United Kingdom Gold List 2012 has named New Zealand’s Wharekauhau Country Estate in the winery region of Martinborough as the best in world for ambiance and design.
The Gold List is considered the ultimate guide to the world’s finest establishments, recognising only the top echelon of hotels and resorts. This list is compiled from 32,633 reader responses, and then confirmed by Conde Nast Traveller experts, which highlights the top hotels from around the world – based on the facilities, activities authentic to the region, food, ambiance/design and service.
Recapturing the gracious lifestyle of the bygone are, Wharekauhau Country Estate is a luxury lodge with award-winning style, situated on a 5000-acre working farm on the southeast coast of New Zealand’s North Island.
Framed by the Rimutaka Ranges to the west and Palliser Bay to the east, the lodge is surrounded by ancient, native forest, spectacular beaches, bountiful rivers and tranquil lakes. Each of the cottages which are dotted throughout the extensive grounds, enjoy magnificent ocean views and offer complete privacy and seclusion.
The X-factor: The numerous windows in the main lodge provide sweeping views of Palliser Bay from every vantage point. The new library, completed in June last year, is a treasure trove of vintage photos and memorabilia dating back to 1842, when the farm was established. www.wharekauhau.co.nz.
Martinborough has an annual wine festival called Toast Martinborough which in 2011 celebrated its 20th year. It attracts 10,000 visitors annually and tickets are so sought after, they sell out in minutes of being offered online. The wine-growing region is much smaller than famed Marlborough, and only about a dozen wineries open their doors to a day of wine-tasting, dancing to music and food-tasting at dozens of stalls showcasing local and national produce. Martinborough’s annual yield is also smaller than other regions, but the quality of the wines – pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris and riesling – brings a lot of awards to the area. Each year, Martinborough wins a disproportionate amount of trophies and medals for its size in international wine competitions, often outstripping the efforts of larger, more commercially focused regions. More details: www.winesofnz.com