The whir of a helicopter overhead signals a new guest arrival at Blanket Bay Lodge. The aircraft lands, and from the passenger seats, a couple alights. The husband is immediately recognizable, despite his full beard and nondescript attire.
Like many A-listers before him, this multiple Oscar-anointed actor has come to stay at Blanket Bay Lodge in New Zealand. Here, at Blanket Bay Lodge, he trades a walk on the red carpet for world-class hikes in some of the planet’s most dramatic scenery. He swaps celebrity interviews for a game of cards with his wife over a leisurely five-course gourmet dinner. He is not commanding the spotlight, because at Blanket Bay Lodge, the arresting views across Lake Wakatipu to the Southern Alps always steal the show.
Blanket Bay Lodge is a stylish alpine retreat located in Glenorchy, less than an hour’s scenic drive (or ten minutes by helicopter) from Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island. Christened ‘Blanket Bay’ as a historical nod to the primitive shelters sheep shearers made from wool blankets, the lavish stone and timber lodge is a far cry from its humble namesake. The focus of the lodge is the magnificent Great Room, featuring 30-foot ceilings, deer-antler chandeliers, a massive stone fireplace, and dramatic floor to ceiling windows framing a breath-taking natural panorama.
Despite the expansive grandeur of the Blanket Bay Lodge, the main château houses only eight guest rooms and suites, each with its own private terrace or balcony. There are also a handful of stand-alone Chalet Suites and Staterooms, all featuring the same rustic-lux style and equally awe-inspiring vistas.
Though the Blanket Bay Lodge sets the stage for idleness, it occupies an area considered one of the planet’s best outdoor playgrounds. Some of New Zealand’s best hiking, including the famous Routeburn and Milford Tracks is on the doorstep. Fly-fishing, jet boating, river rafting, heli-skiing, horseback riding and golf are all available on site or nearby. A more passive – but nonetheless adrenaline-pumping – option is a ‘flightseeing’ excursion over the spectacular Fiordland National Park and legendary Milford Sound.
After a full day of fresh air and active adventures, Blanket Bay Lodge has the recipe for revival. A heated outdoor pool, a mountain-view Jacuzzi, and the talented hands of the resident spa therapist all wait in the wings to encourage a spirited comeback.
Likewise, the evening meal sets the stage for solace. Following drinks and canapés in the Great Room, dinner proceeds as a masterful, deliberate revelation, artfully served in intimate alcoves, outdoor fireside nooks, or the ultra-private Wine Cave. The Blanket Bay Lodge wine cellar, showcasing the finest New Zealand vintages, plays a strong supporting role to the cuisine, which features modern takes on classic regional staples, such as lamb and venison.
Blanket Bay Lodge is the ultimate hideaway, and not just for those with star status. For any traveler seeking a superlative natural setting and transcendent creature comforts, Blanket Bay Lodge is a clever indulgence.
Blanket Bay Lodge: www.blanketbay.com