Check out New Zealand’s Otahuna Lodge. Tucked away on 30 acres, this historic home with gingerbread trim, stained glass windows and picturesque terraces, just like a wedding cake, conjures up notions of the ultimate storybook wedding retreat for friends and family. Inside the allure continues, with lovely rooms featuring woodburning fireplaces, ornate hand carved details and an intimate Ballroom decked out with a turn-of-the century fireplace and a rustic beamed cathedral ceiling.
Located just outside of Christchurch on the South Island, the exclusive seven-room Lodge is available for private destination weddings that appeal to those seeking privacy and a truly rare setting in one of the world’s most undisputedly romantic and captivating destinations.
Not just the happy couple but their guests too will be enchanted by the romantic essence that pervades Otahuna and here a wedding is an experience that can be shaped around particular preferences and dreams. An early September wedding, for instance, will have a golden glow to it as nearly one million daffodils burst forth in Otahuna’s private parkland. Vows might be exchanged in the Dutch Garden with its canopy of flowering trees, lavender and boxwood lanes while pictures might be posed for on a “Monet inspired” arched white bridge that crosses the small lake in front of the Lodge. The wedding couple may make a dramatic departure by helicopter from the lawn in front of the three story homestead and guests might soak up the atmosphere further by strolling through the gardens, through sun-dappled glades and along languid wooded paths.
With a dedicated staff of twelve at the guests’ disposal, Otahuna Lodge offers exceptional facilities, outstanding dining under New Zealand Executive Chef Jimmy McIntyre along with complete Concierge service and wonderful attention to detail at every turn. Wedding parties who rent Otahuna can enjoy individually decorated guest rooms and suites with original New Zealand art, a formal Dining Room, a stylishly relaxed Kitchen for informal meals, a Drawing Room, a fully-stocked Library and even a Ballroom if a festive party is desired. Social activity also leads outdoors, where a swimming pool, tennis court, outdoor Jacuzzi, outdoor fireplace and grilling station, walking paths, a Dutch garden, an orchard and an organic vegetable garden can be found. A fitness room and spa treatment room are also available.
Executive Chef Jimmy McIntyre, a nationally regarded New Zealand born chef, will personally work with each wedding couple on their wedding reception menu and any pre and post parties that are hosted at the Lodge. Exquisite floral displays by Louise Heller of Bloom Flower Design can also be arranged.
For those who wish to have an itinerary designed for their visiting wedding guests, native New Zealander, Tim Ogle (the only member of the Clefs D’Or — the prestigious international association of concierges – at a lodge property in the country) can arrange for a truly exclusive one of a kind experience. Whether that be scootering around the scenic roads of the South Island, a helicopter trip from Otahuna to the Waipara wine region of New Zealand, a private visit to a ‘Marae’ (the gathering retreat of New Zealand’s original inhabitants, the Maoris) or a day of fly fishing on a remote river, Tim can create an experience long remembered.
Price: The cost to rent Otahuna from April 1-September 30 is NZD $5740 (US $4250) per night plus tax and from October 1 – March 31 is NZD $9600 (US $7150) per night plus tax. This includes daily cocktails and canapés, five-course degustation dinners with wine pairings, and cooked and/or continental breakfast. Separate pricing will be available for additional details involved in wedding planning.
Why it’s Dreamy: Otahuna Lodge is one of New Zealand’s premier destination retreats. Re-opened on May 1, 2007 following a significant, four-month renovation undertaken by new owners, American-born Hall Cannon and Miles Refo, Otahuna Lodge is located on the South Island. Just 20 minutes from Christchurch, Otahuna features seven guest suites, a 30-acre garden, heated pool, Jacuzzi, tennis court and fitness facility with a spa treatment room. The Lodge, built in 1895, was home to leading New Zealand parliamentarian, Sir Heaton Rhodes for more than 60 years. Otahuna is regarded as the finest example of Queen Anne architecture in Australasia.
For more information:
• call Otahuna Lodge at 011-64-3-329-6333
• visit www.otahuna.co.nz