In Travel

A Concierge On How Best To Lap Up Queenstown’s Luxurious Side

Queenstown has long been known as the adventure capital of the world, but aside from its thrills, the New Zealand South Island city also has another side to it – a luxury offering.

Here you’ll find five-star lodge, gourmet dining and adventure of the chilled-out kind. Think winery-visiting, hiking, horse trekking, boat cruises, and that’s just the start.

But with so much to experience, it can be tricky to know where to start. And to decide what exactly is worth your precious holiday while. So, to help out, we tap into the expertise of The Rees Hotel‘s luxury residences curator Richard Arnold. Ahead, Arnold shares his top tips for experiencing the elegant side of Queenstown.

The best time to visit

While Queenstown with its charming streets framed by the postcard-perfect backdrop of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range is a stunning place to visit year-round, Arnold says two months showcase it best.

Image: Sangeeta Kocharekar

“Come in August if you love the snow and late February if not,” he says. “These months still capture the best of the seasons, but let you avoid the large crowds over peak periods.”

When in Queenstown, you have to…

One thing all visitors should do, but don’t often consider? A helicopter ride, says Arnold.

Image: Melanie Dretvic / Unsplash

“Queenstown is stunning from any angle but there’s something spectacular about seeing the lay of the land from above and reaching points that very few people ever get to,” he says.

The best place for coffee

But first, coffee. Queenstown is brimming with nationally-awarded cafés, but one of the best, according to Arnold, is Bespoke Kitchen. “It consistently serves great coffee and their food is delicious and surprisingly healthy.”

A restaurant only locals know about

And then there’s Queenstown’s dining scene to experience. While Fergburger, Stratosfare and The Bunker are all well-known and definitely worth visiting, there’s one locals’ favourite eatery most visitors never find out about. And it’s VKnow.

The restaurant and wine bar is located outside of town and serves delicious wines served in a friendly, laid-back Kiwi style, Arnold says.

“The staff make you feel like you’re part of the family from the moment you walk in the door,” he adds.

The best fine dining experience

While you’ll find also find plenty of high-end dining experiences in Queenstown too, one of the most special is at the restaurant inside The Rees, True South Dining Room. “It has a six-course degustation menu and a wine list that reads more like a book than a menu.


Image: True South Dining Room / S. Goodwin Photography

“Choose to match your courses with specially chosen premium wines and you’ll have a night you won’t soon to forget,” says Arnold.

The most romantic spot for couples

For a romantic date night restaurant, look no further than Rata by Josh Emett.

“It serves delicious New Zealand-inspired food in a way that’s both fancy and relaxed,” he says. “Imagine a fine dining experience that doesn’t have all the high brow atmosphere.” 

The best bar

And the best spot in the city for a late afternoon tipple? The World Bar. “It’s the perfect sun-trap with good music and cocktails served in teapots.

“But once the sun sets, head to Attiqa for hand-crafted cocktails and tapas.”

(Lead image: The Rees / supplied) 

Published 29 October, 2019