Beautiful Otahuna Lodge is part of the Relais & Châteaux collection.New Zealand’s Otahuna Lodge owners, Hall Cannon and Miles Refo have created something very special – a stunning new suite – The Loft.
The newest addition to the historic property caps off Otahuna Lodge’s outstanding accommodation.
Canon says The Loft represents the culmination of the Otahuna interior aesthetic.
“This very special enclave inspires the imagination with its dramatically-scaled headboard clad in a vintage Schumacher Chinoiserie fabric,” he says.
“There’s a collection of art commissioned exclusively for the Suite and numerous decorative touches which playfully highlight the Lodge’s century-old heritage.”
The brightly painted timber-clad walls and fresh green tones found in the design complement sweeping views across the Great Lawn and all the way to New Zealand’s Southern Alps.
A writer’s nook with a window view looks out across the property’s eaves and gables to the treetops.
Elsewhere, the generous sitting area includes a sofa which can be converted to a bed in order to accommodate an extra guest.
The spacious bathroom–with its free-standing tub–provides the ultimate place of repose following a day of exploration.
It’s a great addition to this beautiful lodge where Sir Heaton Rhodes, a philanthropist, politician and horticulturalist lived.
Stand on the veranda of Otahuna Lodge in spring and you are treated to the sight of a sea of golden daffodils at the bottom of the estate’s sweeping lawns.
The display is thanks to the original owner, Sir Heaton Rhodes, who was among the first to grow daffodils in New Zealand’s South Island.
Every September thousands of the flowers carpet the private parkland. The owners who reopened Otahuna Lodge in May 2007, share it with the public on the first Sunday in September with the revival of Sir Heaton’s traditional Daffodil Day.
Built in 1895, Otahuna, which in Maori means “little hill among the hills”, sits atop a small rise at the base of the Banks Peninsula. It is at Tai Tapu, a 30-minute drive from Christchurch International Airport. It is one of the best luxury lodges in New Zealand.
Today it is one of New Zealand’s most opulent and intimate small lodges. As you follow the winding drive lined with 100-year-old oak trees and step through the heavy front doors, you know you are in for something special.
Heritage-listed Otahuna is considered one of the nation’s best examples of Queen Anne architecture. Auckland interior designer Stephen Cashmore, known for his sophisticated treatment of historic properties, worked his magic in the public rooms and seven luxury suites with themes relating to Sir Heaton, wife Jessie and life in the early days.
Our veranda suite, with its views of the Canterbury Plains, was where the Duke of York, later King George VI, stayed in 1927.
It has open fireplaces in the bathroom and bedroom, original artworks and handmade furniture echoing period pieces. Extra touches include a regularly replenished biscuit jar, a sheepskin rug placed by your bedside at turn-down and a bedtime story sheet on your pillow each night with tales of Otahuna and Sir Heaton.
The lodge is home to 28 commissioned artworks by the country’s artists including Peter Beadle, Anna Caselberg and Craig Primrose, as well as historic Otahuna photographs reproduced from the Canterbury Museum.
New Zealand kauri and rimu wood panelling feature in the interior design, a highlight being the hand-carved kauri staircase. A regal painting of Rewi Maniapoto, a Maori warrior and former chief of Ngati Maniapoto, stares down at guests as they enter the green-toned lobby with intricate lead-glass windows and plaid chairs and sofas.
The 12-hectare historic garden is stunning.
Sir Heaton, who was president of the Canterbury Horticultural Society for more than 50 years, planted many exotic and native trees and shrubs that have flourished over the years.
Take a guided walk in the Dutch garden, named for its windmill shape, and discover six buxus-lined gravel lanes that radiate from a central circle under a canopy of exotic trees including camellias, a loquat and weeping cherry. A heady perfume of lavender, bay leaves, orange blossom and boxwood hangs in the air.
There are also woodlands with original rhododendrons, where you might hear the call of bellbirds, fantails and rare New Zealand wood pigeons. Otahuna has an impressive orchard and stone-walled organic vegetable garden with 95 vegetables, 25 types of fruit and 20 herbs – to the delight of the lodge’s executive chef, Jimmy McIntyre. Dining is an adventure here with exquisite dishes featuring fresh produce.
Guests can play tennis, swim in the heated pool or jump on the mountain bikes.
If you want to see the region by air, a helicopter will collect you from the front lawn and take you to wineries, whale watching, trout fishing or to the Southern Alps.
Be warned, you may just want to stay; it doesn’t take long to fall under Otahuna’s spell.