Destination: New Zealand
Cavalli Island Retreat and Spa
On an island in the Cavalli archipelago, twelve miles north of the Bay of Islands, is another new private-island retreat for the ultraluxe crowd. Nestled between a hillside and a black sand beach, the contemporary glass-and-steel structure seems to disappear into the landscape by day and glow from within at night. The interiors of the retreat—which hosts a single private party of up to six guests—make the most of the views, which are unobstructed by the spare yet totally indulgent furnishings, crafted of New Zealand wood, stone and leather. Included is the use of a seventy-two-foot motor yacht, a fishing guide, a PADI dive master (the Cavallis are famous for their diving), golf at the nearby Kauri Cliffs golf course and the best part: unlimited spa treatments. The spa offers every treatment you can imagine, all of which incorporate traditional Maori health rituals, and even has a Vichy shower. A favorite haunt of deep-sea fishermen, the Cavallis have some of the world’s finest marlin fishing and lobster and abalone diving. Rates from $15,000 a night, minimum three-night stay.
Designed to cater to retreating celebrities, those with private planes and corporate boondoggles, the Rahimoana villa at Eagles Nest, outside Russell in the Northland rand eat on the beachegion of the North Island, may boast the country’s costliest room rate. The lodge is really an extravagant 6,500-square-foot modernist palace perched on a peninsula with 320-degree views of the Bay of Islands. A winding wooden walkway leads to the marvelous glass-and-steel structure, whose stone floors and glass walls make every room seem to blend with the landscape. What do you get for approximately $27,000 a night? Your every whim catered to. Whether you wake wanting to scuba dive or skydive, the staff will arrange it. You also have the use of a Porsche Cayenne and driver; a butler, maid and chef; four bedrooms; your own 80-foot lap pool; a sauna, gym and spa; a private beach, and a home theater, plus you get gourmet meals, New Zealand wines and French champagne. On the seventy-five-acre Eagles Nest estate, there are four other villas, all also design-forward temples to the scenery, not all at quite such a lofty price tag. With three bedrooms and its own lap pool, the Eyrie is a family’s best choice ($1,832). First Light Temple, a one-bedroom, two-floor villa, is ideal for honeymooners ($1,319). Rooms from $1,319; Rahimoana $27,098 a night, minimum four-night stay.
Great Mercury Island
Twenty-five minutes by helicopter from Auckland is private, 5,500-acre Great Mercury Island, owned by two of the country’s most successful investment bankers, and managed by one of Indagare’s local partners (contact our booking department for details). With pine forests, smooth beaches, green pastures and a sun-spangled ocean, it’s isolation spectacular enough to bring out hermit tendencies in anyone and is often booked by celebrities visiting on the QT. A private guide picks guests up on the tarmac at Auckland airport and whisks them away to sybaritic seclusion. The two Sardinian-inspired villas are organically built into the landscape, like man-made grottos. Together, the villas sleep up to sixteen guests. There is a motor launch, a chef to prepare the splendid seafood abundant in the surrounding waters, a masseuse and a guide who will take you hiking, biking, fishing, diving, water-skiing, kayaking and yachting and can arrange a picnic so you can play castaway on a desert beach for a day. The place is also a working farm, so it’s a kids’ utopia. While adults go deep-sea fishing or diving, children can shear sheep or round up cattle. Despite its price, Great Mercury Island is one of the more genuine Kiwi experiences. $20,000 a night, including all food, alcohol and activities.
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