The Privilege of Privacy
by Gayle Dickson
When William Rees found himself in the midst of a gold rush and his homestead on the shores of Lake Wakatipu declared a goldfield, the entrepreneur in him turned his woolshed into a hotel and The Queen’s Arms was born. In the mid 1800’s, Rees became partners with Albert Eichardt and the hotel was renamed Eichardt’s Queen’s Arms Hotel, which quickly became known simply as Eichardt’s Hotel.
Today, this private hotel still enjoys a prime location overlooking Lake Wakatipu, its central Queenstown location in the heart of the restaurant and café precinct makes it the ideal base for discerning visitors to the region – it’s within walking distance of everything. The original building has been refurbished to an incredibly high standard, melding its historic bones with modern conveniences in a seamless manner that we today know as Eichardt’s Private Hotel. The owners have also developed their Lakefront Cottage, just a few doors away, and offer Eichardt’s guests exclusive access to their 90,000-acre high country station, Branches Station.
As you enter the glass atrium reception, you’ll see for yourself just how well the new meets old theme has been put together. Legendary designer, Virginia Fisher, has excelled. Downstairs, whitewashed original walls and metal girders – the building’s skeleton – stand proud alongside walls of glass. As you venture up the original staircase, you’ll move over a modern day addition in the “bridge” which takes you over the reception area and into the accommodation zone.
Throughout, you’ll notice original ceilings, timber panelling, weathered floorboards all married with a colour palette of crisp whites, lattes and taupes. It’s subtle, tasteful and refined. Accommodation in the hotel is in five luxurious suites, catering to a maximum of ten guests at any one time. These suites are furnished with enormous superking beds bedecked with the finest linens and luxurious throws, as well as a mix of contemporary and antique furnishings. The Parlour is a private lounge where guests are welcome to mingle for breakfast or while away a few lazy hours in the afternoon or evening. The high-backed chairs invite you to chat to fellow guests while sharing a gin and tonic, or the sofa beckons those with an affinity for a good book.
Two hundred metres from the hotel is the Lakefront Cottage boasting four suites. These are perfect for family groups, offering kitchenettes, laundries and dining areas. Each suite has a master bedroom with ensuite and stunning lake views. There are separate spa baths and showers, and each suite offers the ability to add additional twin rooms (with their own ensuite), making them ideal for those travelling with children or a nanny. Each suite will host two adults and two to four children, while larger family groups could take the entire floor to cater for four adults and four children, or the entire building which will cope with double that number. I particularly love the fact that the master bed sits on a raised platform – those early morning views of the lake, without having to arise from bed – are worth a million dollars!
After a day of boutique shopping, mountain trail hiking, off-piste skiing, vineyard tours and wine tastings or adrenalin-based adventure, relax on your private balcony and take in the setting sun as it dips it’s head over the surrounding mountains while you sip on a glass or two of Otago’s world famous Pinot Noir. Or you might want to head to the House Bar to enjoy the Tapas menu on offer at 4pm daily and some original cocktails that you simply won’t find anywhere else in the world – not to mention the company of the colourful locals who are regular patrons.