Otahuna Lodge Christchurch
At the head of a secluded valley on New Zealand’s
South Island is a place of replenishment and refinement.
It is a place where prestigious luxury accommodation
meets exemplary service and cuisine in the context
of an elegant, historic country estate. A place
where guests receive the warmest welcome and indulge
wholeheartedly in the sense of occasion presented
by lavish surroundings.
This is Otahuna Lodge. This is New Zealand at its finest.
Otahuna holds many treasures. Beyond the classic entrance hall, hidden amenities and fine dining are waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. Each guest of the luxury Lodge will feel delightfully cosseted by the service and charmed by the ambient sense of history, even as they are spoilt for choice by the range of activities available.
The cuisine celebrates the best of seasonal New Zealand produce, with an emphasis on fresh Otahuna estate-grown offerings. Dinner is a five-course chef’s degustation menu which changes daily, making use of the best fresh produce and guests’ dietary requirements. Honest, uncluttered flavours, the finest local ingredients and elegantly restrained presentation are the hallmarks of the Otahuna table.
At dinner, guests dine communally in the opulent formal dining room - ornate original wallpaper, a roaring fire and sparkling candlesticks exemplify the gracious living of the Victorian era. Alternatively, they may retreat to a private table for two in the sunken wine cellar, the intimate library, the drawing room turret, or a location of their choosing.
The spectacular 110-year old gardens of Otahuna were laid out and cultivated under the direction of A. E. Lowe who trained at Kew Gardens, London. Wide vistas over lawn and lake contrast beautifully with intimate walks which wind through heavily wooded areas.
The gardens of the country estate offer a range of guest amenities and activities including swimming, tennis, croquet and petanque among others.
The grounds of Otahuna Lodge are recognized as "A Garden of National Significance" by the New Zealand Gardens Trust.
Art enjoys a distinguished pride of place at Otahuna. The Lodge's collection, considered to be amongst the most important under private ownership in New Zealand, comprises exclusively the works of Kiwi artists.
The art of established and emerging artists is showcased in a collection that includes more than thirty commissioned pieces found in both the property's common areas and guest suites. The collection features a unique array of varying media and styles and many honoring the traditions of New Zealand's indigenous peoples, the Maori.
Additionally, the Lodge is home to nearly forty historical photographs that have been reproduced from several of the nation's finest museums. These images document the estate's history and its significance in the area.
The Master Suites:
Originally the master bedroom, the Rhodes
Suite is actually a series of four rooms
which embodies the gracious character of
Sir Heaton and Jessie Rhodes. The palatial
bedroom boasts a magnificent Victorian fireplace
with inglenook seating and stained glass
windows. A separate octagonal sitting room
situated in the turret is the perfect spot
to read a book, work a jigsaw puzzle, enjoy
a quiet candlelit dinner or simply gaze
out to the gardens.
Epitomising the phrase “room with a view,” the Verandah Suite is the perfect base from which to start exploring Canterbury. Four doors open onto an enormous arched verandah, reserved exclusively for the suite. Here, guests may quietly contemplate the birdsong from the gardens, or toast with a glass of champagne as the sun sets across the Canterbury Plains behind the Southern Alps.
Indoors, guests can lose themselves in the crackle of a fire – either from a deep armchair in the bedroom or from the freestanding bathtub in the spacious ensuite bathroom
The Botanical Suite is situated in the original Morning Room of the house, where tea was served to Jessie Rhodes and other fine Canterbury ladies every day at 11 o’clock sharp. A floor-to-ceiling mantle featuring gingerbread woodwork and a wood-burning fireplace anchors one corner of the room. In another, an enormous bay window faces east to the gardens and receives bright sunlight through painted glass in the mornings.
Located on the ground floor, the Botanical Suite offers its guests access to the gardens through a private exterior door ensuring that a leisurely stroll or a brisk walk is never more than a few steps away.
The Butler Suite comprises a series of rooms looking over the terracotta roof of the sunken game house – now a wine cellar – to the woodland beyond. The bedroom, separate full sitting room, and two bathrooms feature classic depictions of the evocative Canterbury landscape as well as Otahuna’s historic past.
The decorative scheme reminiscent of the Arts and Crafts period features dark wood, original fireplace tiles and classic furniture. The butler never had it so good.
Named for the Lady of the House, Jessie Clark, the Clark Suite looks east over the treetops to the Port Hills. The soft yellows and blues of this classic suite draw their inspiration from the expansive stained glass windows, tiled fireplace and traditional English country ambience of the estate.
After a day of exploring Canterbury, the Clark suite is an ideal place to relax, either in front of the fire or in the spa tub. The paintings of nearby Akaroa harbour will inspire one to see what lies just beyond the hill outside the window.
Perched at the top of the house, this eyrie invokes Heaton Rhodes’ passion for the great outdoors. Writers may draw inspiration from the desk which looks out across eaves and gables to the treetops, while the views from the sitting area extend all the way across the province to the mountains.
Fishing and hunting memorabilia line the warm, wood-panelled walls and an eclectic collection of antiques and mementos will convince one that there is such a thing as a luxury attic.
So named for the tradition of the game at Otahuna, the Polo Suite occupies a sunny position at the front of the house overlooking a courtyard on one side and the great lawn on the other. Heaton played regularly on the lawn, which had to be mown by horses wearing special leather shoes.
The classic leathers, houndstooth fabrics and oak furniture of the suite provide the perfect inspiration to plan one’s own horseback adventures from the comfort of a deep double-ended bathtub. Or settled in by one of the suite’s two fireplaces with a good book from the Otahuna library.