Otago, New Zealand
This vast property covers 550 square kilometres of the most jaw-dropping scenery that New Zealand has to offer. From stunning snow-capped mountain peaks, to glacial valleys, and alpine lakes and rivers, nature’s beauty surrounds this very special property, which is the largest conservation undertaking on private land in New Zealand’s history.
The name Mahu Whenua translates as ‘Healing the land’, and that’s precisely what the owner is attempting, with an extensive plant regeneration and bird-breeding program.
Accommodation consists of the Ridgeline Homestead, with four luxury suites for two, a sprawling farmhouse kitchen, large open living room with uninterrupted views, dining room, library, media and games room. There is also a four-berth family bunkhouse that can be booked if guests wish to have exclusive use of the lodge. Staff are on hand to attend to your every need, and all meals are included.
For the adventurous, there is an extensive offering of experiences on-site including hiking, horse riding, biking, 4WD excursions and heli-adventures (including heli-skiing). Laidback guests can enjoy the spa and massage, yoga, nature tours and lying by the pool.
Exclusive use of the property for up to 12 guests is NZ$11,500 (A$10,210) per night.
Ski resort Queenstown is a 60-minute drive away, and is close to the famous Central Otago wineries and cellar doors that are best known for their velvety pinot noir.
Wanaka is a foodie haven, with the gorgeous lakefront home to dozens of quality restaurants, bars and cafés. Beer lovers should head straight to the Speight’s Alehouse.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town’s hot, new ‘it’ hotel, housed in an old grain silo on the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, is a striking combination of chandeliers and industrial chic. The giant geodesic, dome-like windows are a bold architectural statement (by Britain’s Thomas Heatherwick) that let in the views across the bustling coastal capital from the sparkling Atlantic Ocean to Table Mountain. At 187 square metres, the Penthouse is vast and adds to the expanse with a private 24-square-metre balcony.
Furnishings are bright, colourful and lavish, and blend modern with antique in a delightfully eclectic way. It’s clear from the moment you enter the giant art- and light-filled reception area that this hotel has a strong design focus. It’s sophisticated, it’s contemporary, and all the other suites and rooms have either mountain, harbour or ocean views – or all three.
The dining doesn’t disappoint either, with menus comprising extremely well-executed, simple, seasonal dishes. Daytime diners can opt for the poolside rooftop bar, where the tempura is a standout, as is the cocktail list with an African twist. Try the Kalahari Safari: Cruxland Kalahari truffle-infused gin, with a swirl of rooibos syrup and topped with tonic.
Highlight Part of the same complex, the adjoining grain-storage silos are now also filled with art as the world’s first contemporary African art gallery, the Zeitz MOCAA. Guests of the hotel have direct access to the museum’s sixth-floor sculpture garden.
Tariff The Penthouse, bed and breakfast, is ZAR 90,000 (A$8,400) per night.
Vibrant Bree Street is a hive of foodie activity, day and night. Hot spots include Publik Wine Bar, Clarke’s Burger Bar, Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar, Charango and Arcade.
Kloof Street is another nearby neighbourhood dedicated to excellent food and wine. Head to Black Sheep for an ever-changing blackboard menu that’s fresh and fabulous.
MACq 01 Hotel
Tasmania has certainly come of age in recent years, the steady influx of both international and mainland tourists drawn to its rugged natural beauty, fresh produce, and yes – MONA. David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art is a breathtaking extravaganza that should not be missed. It’s a short ferry ride from the Hobart waterfront that is now home to another welcome addition to the island state: MACq 01 Hotel.
Modestly described as ‘informal luxury’, the hotel has been designed with an attention to detail and emphasis on quality that nevertheless manages to feel casual and welcoming. The waterfront suites offer views across the River Derwent, Franklin Wharf and Mount Wellington, both from the enormous windows and the private deck.
Perched as it is on an ocean pier within a stone’s throw of the local fishing boats, the on-site restaurant has a focus on fresh, seasonal produce with an emphasis on seafood. If you’re not planning a side trip to Bruny Island (but you really should), then you can sample their famous oysters here.
The hotel calls itself a ‘storytelling hotel’. Each room, as well as the common areas, evokes the true nature of Tasmania’s cultural heritage. Artefacts abound, and there’s a team of Storytellers armed with knowledge and passion to guide you via some oft-chilling tales through the history of the waterfront.
Luxury waterfront suite from A$1,200 per night.
A short walk around the waterfront gets you to some must-do daytrips by ferry:
Bruny Island: For the local produce, especially oysters and cheese.
MONA: for an art gallery experience like none other.
Tasman Island: to experience unspoilt wilderness: sheer cliffs, waterfalls, sea birds, sea lion colonies, dolphins and whales.