In Style + Design

New Zealand’s Most Beautiful Luxury Rentals

New Zealand is renowned for its jaw-dropping natural beauty. From the snowy mountains of Queenstown to the lush vineyards of Coromandel, the glacial lakes of Wanaka to the scenic Bay of Islands, it truly is like nowhere else. So, when it comes to architecture, the challenge is to design a property that not only showcases that beauty but enhances it.

It’s a belief shared by Touch of Spice, one of New Zealand’s top luxury accommodation and concierge services, who have curated a portfolio of unique villas that do just that. Founded by Jacqui Spice in 2005, Touch of Spice was born out of a desire to deliver outstanding service and experiences to well-heeled clients in the ’need it now’ world of today.

After a decade working as chief stewardess aboard luxury super yachts, Spice realised there was a need for a similar type of high level, personalised service in New Zealand. Though started as a concierge service, the business model soon branched out into other areas.

“We evolved very quickly from a personal concierge company to a luxury tourism business within the first year,” Spice says. “This was largely due to the demand of our clients, who are usually time poor, to provide a tailored service, not only for when they are staying in one of our villas, but for as soon as they touch down on New Zealand soil.”

“Our offering expanded to include organising activities and booking restaurants, spa times and golf tee times as well. For our guests, the value to them is in engaging a local expert with knowledge on the hidden gems, thereby guaranteeing an exceptional holiday.”

To be listed with Touch of Spice, each property is personally vetted and must meet a strict set of criteria, not only in appearance but in shared values and customer experience, such as keeping their villa up to standard at all times and ensuring nothing is ever overlooked.

“Our villas have generally been designed by world recognised architects and fitted out by award winning interior designers,” Spice says. “We also have particular criteria around ensuring the presentation of each villa is consistent with what our guests come to expect. Because of this, you know you’re guaranteed the crème de la crème in accommodation.”

Touch of Spice’s exclusive portfolio now features some 60 properties including hillside villas in Queenstown, urban retreats in Auckland, and beachside hideaways on idyllic Waiheke Island. Though all consistently high quality, a handful do stand out from the rest.

Te Kahu – Wanaka

Awarded 2010 Home of the Year, this architecturally designed masterpiece is set amidst 50 acres of grassland and native bush overlooking Lake Wanaka. Clad entirely in cedar, the avant-garde three-bedroom home features a large living area with open fire, gourmet kitchen, and a sheltered outdoor area, complete with seating and open fire. It’s also filled with an eclectic, eye-catching mix of furnishings and artworks from around the world.

Price: From $3,900 per night

Sleeps: 6

Lodge at The Hills – Queenstown

Set on 500 acres, surrounded by glacial valleys and snow-capped mountains, the Lodge at the Hills is one of Touch of Spice’s most highly-regarded properties. From its grand entrance to the intimate bedrooms, the impressive media room to the bar with gilded walls, it’s an architectural marvel. The property features a championship sized grass tennis court, heated infinity swimming pool, sauna and spa, and guests can use The Hills Golf Course – home to the New Zealand Open, a cornerstone of the Australasia PGA Tour – by prior arrangement.

Price: From $38,000 per night

Sleeps: 12

Omaru Bay Lodge – Waiheke Island

Like a piece of The Hamptons transported to New Zealand, Omaru Bay Lodge is drenched in sunlight with a high stud white interior, expansive decks and an eight-metre infinity pool suspended in the air. The view is to die for. Located on the stunning island of Waiheke, it’s dramatic and impressive island hideaway only 35 minutes from downtown Auckland.

Price: From $28,000 per night

Sleeps: 18

The Dacha – Wanaka

Perched on a hillside looking towards Lake Wanaka, The Dacha is as dramatic as it is elegant. The property features extensive stonework and high ceilings throughout, generous living areas, and panoramic views from almost every corner. The main residence has three superb ensuite bedrooms and two generous bunkrooms, as well as a separate guest apartment.

Priced from: $8,000 per night

Sleeps: 14

Touch of Spice is currently based in New Zealand, however there are plans to bring their distinct brand of ‘spice’ to Australia and other South Pacific destinations in the future.

Kauri Cove – Moturua Island, Bay of Islands

Designed by famous New Zealand architect Pete Bossley, Kauri Cove is a stunning beachside residence located on idyllic Moturua Island. Taking full advantage of its location, each of the four bedrooms enjoys a private terrace and ocean views, while a separate guest house also contains two further bedrooms. An added treat, the house also has its own private beach.

Price: From $18,650 per night

Sleeps: 14

All images credit Touch of Spice

Published 09 August, 2018