After a few days exploring the very wet West Coast I was pleased to arrive in picturesque Wanaka, a sunnier town in one of New Zealand’s most famous wine regions. Driving in past the wondrous sapphire-blue Lake Hawea, you can see why this area is a favourite with tourists year round. In summer, visitors flock to taste wine and hike in the sunshine, whilst the winter brings regular snowfall for keen skiers. Queenstown is just one-hour drive away and the popular Siberia experience is also nearby.
Minaret Lodge is a charming bed and breakfast on the outskirts of Wanaka town. It is owned and run by Gary and Fran, a hospitable couple who transformed their holiday home in 2001 to accommodate travellers looking for a little luxury on their trip. Without the formalities of a hotel, this boutique option will make you feel immediately relaxed and at home.
There are just six chalet suites, located in the garden, each with one or two bedrooms, a living area, kitchenette and bathroom. They are cosy and well designed with every amenity you could need. For Lord of the Rings fans, the Barliman’s room (which opened in 2002) is a unique option. The cabin has been carefully designed inside and out to pay homage to the iconic New Zealand films, and features oversized furniture, Lord of the Rings books and memorabilia and quirky round doorframes just like the homes in Hobbiton.
I enjoyed a stay in the Wilkin room, named after one of the rivers that run into Lake Wanaka. The room had a farmhouse chic feel, with plenty of natural light and lavish soft furnishings. I loved the bed, which was particularly wonderful, with plenty of plump pillows and an indulgently warm blanket. The petite bathroom was kitted out with a powerful modern shower and Koha Spa toiletries were provided.
The main house is used for complimentary canapés & wine tasting each evening and in the morning guests are invited in to enjoy a communal gourmet breakfast, prepared by Gary. It was all delicious… roasted vegetable frittata, freshly baked bread, juice and coffee.
Sadly I only spent one night at Minaret Lodge so couldn’t take advantage of all the included extras. With each stay guests are offered complimentary laundry, mountain bike hire and use of the wood fire sauna and spa jet pool. For additional cost Gary and Fran can arrange a massage with an experienced masseuse or a three-course dinner including local wine pairing. I was pleased, however, to accept the kind free pick-up and drop-off service to town.
Minaret Lodge is a relaxing haven in a beautiful part of the country, and it was the personal touches that make a stay at this luxury bed and breakfast so memorable.
More information and book a stay at Minaret Lodge here.