>Where to stay in Queenstown


In Queenstown, there’s a wealth of choice when it comes to accommodation. We visited four gorgeous hotels, each spectacularly different from the last. 

Furthest from town, at the opposite edge of Lake Wakatipu, Blanket Bay is a scenic 45 minute drive from Queenstown.  It’s a consistent award winner and even a favorite of Sir Ian McKellan.  What makes this property shine is not only the variety of activities, including horse riding, fly fishing, and all things prefixed heli-, but also the high standards of service and the true Kiwi warmth of the staff. 

Their Chalets (above) are an excellent way to stay, especially for two couples traveling together. In the center is a warmly decorated living room, flanked by two suites, which can be opened up to create a stateroom. 

Moving closer to Queenstown is Matakauri Lodge, a Relais & Châteaux hotel whose sister properties include the luxurious Farm at Cape Kidnappers and Kauri Cliffs.  No matter which way you turn, the views of Lake Wakatipu and its surrounding mountains command your attention.  If you look closer, you’ll notice the details that tie everything together:  the bees humming around the lavender plants, the funky aluminum siding on the stairs, a vase with pussywillows, a jar of cookies.  Another small but crucial detail:  one of us accidentally forgot his passport in his room when we checked out.  We’d barely started pulling out of the driveway when a Matakauri staff member came racing out, passport in hand. 

Queenstown itself is bustling, and your hotel choices are endless. Of course, the backpackers’ hostels and B&Bs are easy to spot, but the true anchor of the town is the luxurious Eichardt’s.  

The Lakefront Cottage (above), just a few steps away from the main building, offers privacy and stunning views of the lakefront and the mountains beyond.  Then there’s the House Bar, with delicious tapas (try the pork belly or the calamari) and a cozy ambiance. From Eichardt’s you can access everything the Queenstown area has to offer.  

If you prefer a French touch in your New Zealand vacation, book the Sofitel.  An 82-room hotel, the true focus of the Queenstown Sofitel is its spa.  Just walking through it, breathing in the eucalyptus- and tea tree-infused air, was relaxing.  For an exclusive experience, try one of their Maori-inspired treatments, such as greenstone therapy, which is purported to have natural healing properties. 

Tomorrow we’ll move to the North Island and discover Wellington and Wharekauhau (including pronunciation guides!).  Then be on the lookout for a FROSCH Insider take on Kiwi food and wine!
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