Monday, October 20, 2008

The Luxury X-Factor

Eichardt's Private Hotel, Queenstown. Images Supplied.
As the writer of the New York-produced travel guide, Frommers New Zealand, I am frequently asked what my favourite place to stay in New Zealand is. It’s a hard question to answer because there are several and at the top-end luxury level, every candidate, every luxury lodge has its own character and style; and they all sit in such dramatic landscapes it’s hard to play favourites. That said, one I keep coming back to, one that FOR ME, has something a little special, is Eichardt's Private Hotel in Queenstown. It’s small – just five suites; it’s classy; and it’s smack in the middle of the action – right on the waterfront in an historic building at the end of the mall. I have lasting memories of a luxurious possum fur-covered bed fit of a king, a huge marble bathroom and a beautiful interior with a friendly, intimate, home-like scale - it’s like being a pampered guest in a very posh home rather than staying in an impersonal hotel room – and yes, even some of the best hotel rooms can still feel impersonal. Eichardt's is all the better for its smaller size and the fact that it is so beautiflly embellished with antiques, art and collectibles makes it a visual feast as well. That always wins me over.

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