On the shores of the emerald coloured Wakatipu Lake on New Zealand's south island sits a boutique hotel which is the epitome of luxe lakeside living.
From the balcony of one of five suites, are stunning lake views and vistas of the Remarkables Mountain Range sprinkled with snow. There's a cheese plate and good bottle of New Zealand red waiting by the fire when we check in, a super king-size bed with a sumptuous possum spread for lazy sleep ins, a lavish double bathroom with enormous deep bath and a mini bar with full size liquour and wine bottles.
It's decadent yet at the same time incredibly tasteful thanks to the masterful touch of Virginia Fisher, one of New Zealand's leading interior designers, also responsible for the interior of Huka Lodge one of the most renowned lodges in New Zealand.
New Zealand is famous for its luxury lodges and as a country; they've really captured this niche and stamped it with their own brand of Kiwi chic. Eichardts, a member of Small Luxury Hotels (SLH), bills itself more as a private hotel than a luxury lodge, but it has many of the trademark qualities you'd find in one of New Zealand's super lodges, such as luxury interiors, impeccable service and an overall feeling of decadence.
When Eichardt's first opened it created a buzz in the charming tourist town famous for its skiing, bungy jumping and incredible beauty. An iconic landmark, Eichardt's was built on the back of the gold-mining boom in the mid-nineteenth century and bears the name of former owners Albert and Julia Eichardt.
Inside, this classy downtown retreat retains many of its original features and some gorgeous new ones - like the collection of large clocks on the wall in the foyer, which is both quirky and fun. Here, antiques mingle with modern colours, glossy touches and designer furniture.
The wing-backed chairs by the fire in the parlour just implore you to sit down and put your feet up, balconies encourage you to crack open a bottle of New Zealand sauvignon blanc and toast your nuptials, while the gorgeous deep baths beg you to hang out the do not disturb sign and take a long, luxurious soak together.
Take a brisk walk at dusk around the lake and inhale the fresh, alpine air, explore Queenstown's thriving café and bar scene, take a romantic massage together overlooking the lake at the Body Sanctum Spa or climb to the top of Queenstown Hill for breathtaking views over the lake and snow capped mountains from the romantic Basket of Dreams
Of course there's fantastic skiing nearby but to be truthful I wouldn't be wasting my precious time at Eichardts on the slopes.
Wait till you've checked out or get your skiing in beforehand and then come to Eichardt's for some hard earned downtime. Designer shops are within easy walking distance, and the Eichardt team can ensure you get the best seat in the house at Queenstown's best restaurants, which are literally on the hotel's doorstep.
When the chilly air descends, the allure of an open log fire and glass of New Zealand pinot beckons you inside Eichardt's cosy House Bar.
By Sheriden Rhodes