Anyone who has visited Queenstown knows that the adventure begins on the plane. Flying into this iconic city – skimming kilometres of snow-topped mountains – takes your breath away. My partner and I were incredibly excited to spend a long weekend in the Kiwi adventure capital. Especially as we'd booked to stay in one of the city’s most luxe hotels, positioned a few strides from Queenstown centre.
QT Queenstown stands majestically above other hotels, offering panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu and the Southern Alps mountain range. The boutique hotel is famed for its unique focus on art, design and luxury. Stepping inside and away from the two-degree air, we are greeted by a large, freestanding fireplace and plush furnishings. It’s low-lit, cosy and the perfect welcome.
QT boasts 69 boutique guest rooms created by designer Nic Graham. Each room is decorated with alpine ski resorts in mind, homing in on the winter culture that sweeps through the South Island in August. White walls combined with black and bronze accessories echo luxurious living. A large woollen throw is tossed across a giant, king size comfortable bed. An adjacent copper tray, set on a wooden table, stores miniature bottles of gin, vodka and whisky for DIY cocktails.
Over on the other side of the room, guests are treated to a variation of sweets, chocolate, souvenirs and a miniature Nespresso coffee machine. Beyond the living space, the bathroom is spacious, with two sinks, a bath and shower. There’s nothing more I want to do than enjoy a long, warming soak.
But, to be honest, it’s really all about the view. Framed by double doors, leading out onto a small balcony, Lake Wakatipu wraps around your vision. Daily and late at night, the famed TSS Earnslaw Steamship glides across the lake, visible only by light and the occasional toot of its horn.
Admittedly, I get a little nervous when it comes to hotel dining. Especially buffet-lead fare. But at Bazaar, located on level six, there’s nothing to be nervous about. Designed as an interactive marketplace, the chefs rustle up food inspired by worldwide cuisine.
Danillo, our server, gives us a guided tour of the restaurant. He enthusiastically explains each dish and introduces us to all of the chefs. First, I opt for Asian fusion because as always, I’m eyeing up the dumplings. Rata, our chef (who is simultaneously whipping up a batch of bao buns) explains the flavour. I plate up one vegetarian and one ginger and prawn option, before filling my plate with a duo of bao. The dumplings are flavoursome and comforting, the steamed bao punchy and confident. I could begin and end here.
Next, I head to the Italian-inspired station and choose a vegetarian pizza that’s delicious and full of flavour. I fill the other half of my plate with a roast zucchini and red capsicum salad, peppered with chunks of feta. It’s a welcome accompaniment. Danillo pours us both a welcoming glass of Spy Valley Pinot Noir. Bliss.
For dessert, Bazaar offers guests a wide variety of options, alongside a candy station and ice cream bar. After consuming enough food for an entire family, we leave. In the mornings, Bazaar continues their marketplace experience for breakfast. Counter tops are laiden with pastries and pancakes, fresh fruit and at the far end is a hot breakfast station. Bazaar is the ideal place to sip on a coffee and enjoy panoramic views of the lake.
If you’re looking for a little luxury post-skiing, QT is the perfect escape for a winter holiday. So, what are you waiting for?
WHAT’S IN THE AREA
Stop by: Patagonia for killer hot chocolate, or the infamous Fergburger (be prepared to queue).
Did you know: Hobbit enthusiast? Queenstown was a prime location when filming. Book a day tour and visit the locations!
Be a tourist at: If you’re not keen on skiing, book a jet boat on the Shotover Rivers with 360-degree spins and views.
Travel by: If you’re planning on visiting the nearby Arrowtown or Lake Wanaka, book a rental car with Avis.
Bed cloud-o-metre: 8/10
Bath luxury level: 8/10
Price range: $$$