Set in pastoral surroundings against the fluted cone of an ancient volcano, Otahuna Lodge is a beguiling Victorian mansion that offers its guests a unique sense of wonder and discovery. New Zealand's largest private historic residence has been revitalized with luxury accommodation, glorious gardens, and sophisticated cuisine. In its patrician sense of calm, the grace and charm of its grounds, and its refined yet personable service, Otahuna combines the romance of the past with the cosmopolitan pleasures of the present - the very best of both worlds. 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.
Accommodation - Each of Otahuna's seven suites is an enclave of refined comfort. Here, the classical ambiance created by ornate fireplaces, carved inglenooks, and flowers freshly picked from the Estate has been enhanced with luxurious fabrics and lavish bathrooms. Sir Heaton Rhodes' former bedroom is the nucleus of a grand, four-room Master Suite incorporating an octagonal study. The other Master Suite has a private, fourteen-meter verandah with views across the Canterbury Plains. A further five Suites have their own individual charms, each located within a unique area of the original homestead. The Master Suites and Suites offer super-king beds, fine custom-made linens, deep soaking bathtubs with separate showers, and toiletries by Penhaligon's.
Cuisine - The cuisine celebrates the best of seasonal New Zealand produce, emphasizing fresh Otahuna estate-grown offerings. Dinner is a five-course chef’s degustation menu which changes daily, making use of the fresh produce sourced from the property's own potager garden and orchard. Honest, uncluttered flavors, the finest local ingredients, and elegantly restrained presentation are the Otahuna table's hallmarks. Should this pique one’s taste buds, many culinary experiences may be pursued on the property, including cooking classes and seasonal mushroom foraging. Private tours of local, artisanal food providers are arranged upon request.
Massage & Fitness - After a busy day exploring Canterbury, guests might indulge in a relaxing massage. Therapists provide a range of treatments, styles, and pressures to accommodate a wide variety of preferences. Guests can enjoy a 60- or 90-minute massage in the Woodland Massage Studio. The heated Otahuna swimming pool is open from November through March. Meanwhile, the outdoor spa pool is available for use throughout the year. For those who find relaxation in competitive pursuits Croquet, Pétanque and Kubb are available on the Games Lawn, and bicycles are on hand to explore local area country roads.
Gardens - Otahuna is listed as a Garden of National Significance by the New Zealand Garden Trust. Its 30 acres of manicured lawns, decorative gardens, vast fruit and vegetable potager, and rambling, semi-wild woodlands are celebrated nationwide. The spectacular 125-year old grounds 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 that wind through outdoor garden rooms and heavily wooded areas.
Experiences - Welcome to Canterbury! New Zealand's largest and most diverse province boasts an amazing array of experiences to incite your own personal sense of exploration. Whether you wish to sail in an extinct volcanic harbor, take in the panoramas from one of the world’s greatest train journeys, or charter a helicopter from Otahuna’s Great Lawn into the jaw-dropping scenery of the Southern Alps, there are numerous options to help you become immersed in the sights, sounds and flavors of the amazing place called home.
The History - Otahuna was built in 1895 for Sir Heaton Rhodes, a high-profile pioneer of Canterbury, and his wife, Jessie. Sir Heaton is remembered as a Victorian country gentleman and benefactor known for his enthusiasm for life and others' kindness. He was a long-term parliamentarian, a military officer, stockbreeder, and keen horticulturist whose contributions are integral to Canterbury's history. Otahuna would remain his home for more than 60 years until he passed away at 95. The name “Otahuna” is Maori and popularly translates as “little hill among the hills.” The homestead sits atop a small hill between the Banks Peninsula's rocky outcrops, providing commanding views of the gardens and across the Southern Alps' plains. Otahuna is Sir Heaton Rhodes’ greatest legacy, an enduring testament to his love for the finer things in life.
The homestead is considered one of the best examples of unspoiled Queen Anne architecture in Australasia. Praised for its irregular shape, romantic rooflines, extensive use of New Zealand timber, and elaborate architectural detail, Otahuna is now protected by a Category One listing from the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Influenced by the style and scale of noble English country estates, Otahuna Lodge entertains its guests in the refined tradition of Sir Heaton Rhodes.