Within weeks of staying at Eichardt’s Private Hotel in Queenstown it was awarded one of the industry’s most coveted titles ‘world’s best ski resort’ at the 2014 World Luxury Hotel Awards, and I was not surprised.
I have no connection to the awards at all but having stayed there and been completely charmed by all it had to offer, I knew the lakeside boutique hotel was a worthy recipient. Other recent honours include Best NZ Hotel at the HM Awards, and NZ’s Best Ski Boutique Hotel at the World Ski Awards.
Eichardt’s has two incredible balcony suites – lake and mountain view. The names are in themselves self explanatory though to experience the beauty of the views you really need to see them for yourself as photographs just don’t do them justice.
We had the lake view suite, which also included a view of mountains fringing Lake Wakatipu. On the day we arrived the sky was a brilliant blue, reflected upon the lake, and the room’s window panes framed a moving picture of skudding white clouds and white tipped waves crashing onto the shore just metres away. The wind howled outside which made it even more wild and beautiful, and my view from a comfortable chair in front of the fire conjured up that feeling of absolute contentment.
Within minutes of our arrival I was totally relaxed and even though fashion store Country Road abutts the hotel on the same street, it felt as though we were in the wilderness. And that, is the beauty of Eichardt’s even before you begin to explore the rest of the suite, or make it to the bar.
The suites are luxurious yet cosy, though cosy reflects the feeling rather than space for there is ample room to spread out. The bed is elevated at the back of the main room, allowing you to make the most of the view from, you guessed it, the bed.
There’s a separate cloak/luggage room and bathroom with twin basins, separate shower as well as a bath, and everything is tastefully decorated.
Travelling with a girlfriend in the lead up to running in the inaugural Queenstown International Marathon event, we both vow that we are going to bring our men back here one day.
Private dining is an option but we opt for tapas at the bar. Located at the bottom of a winding stair on the ground floor it looks out over the lake and also has a fire (it’s been voted one of the ‘Top 10 bars with a view’ by the Times of London). Its size is boutique and cosy, and the menu so appetising that we order several dishes from the menu including whitebait, which is in season, and beetroot and goats cheese. Everything is delicious and the service friendly and faultless.
We also order a bottle of Central Otago TSS Earnslaw Pinot Noir (2012) by Surveyor Thomson Wines. Eichardt’s is one of the few places to serve this special limited edition wine celebrating the steamship’s centenary, which is also served aboard TSS Earnslaw cruises on the lake, and as if on cue the historic ship steams past the window.
Replenished and satisfied, we decide to stretch our legs and discover the hotel is literally on the edge of all the action – bars, restaurants and shopping. When I say on the edge I don’t mean on the outskirts but rather on the inskirts (if there is such a word) of the lake town. It’s just a few minutes easy stroll to Josh Emmet’s restaurants Rata and Madam Woo, Simon Gault’s Jervios Steak House, or famous Ferg Burgers. One side straddles the city, the other the lake – it offers the best of both worlds.