Josie Steenhart finds bold design choices and mountain views at this new Queenstown hotel.
While minimalists don’t need to apply, those looking for boutique accommodation in Queenstown will likely be completely charmed by the newly refurbished The Dairy Private Hotel by Naumi Hotels.
Situated at the foot of the hill that leads to the Skyline Gondola and Bob’s Peak, The Dairy is built around the original Queenstown Dairy from the 1920s and has 13 en-suite bedrooms as well as a large four-bedroom apartment with its own entrance.
There is no reception, instead, after a personalized welcome from the concierge, you receive a PIN code for the front door and you are invited to make the place your own – your room and the shared spaces, which include a comfortable but spacious living room, library / whiskey drinking nook and a small front patio with cafe style tables and chairs and an outdoor fireplace.
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A small walled garden to the rear of the property has a chic, centrally located spa pool, making it an ideal spot for a chilly evening with the backdrop of snow-capped mountains.
Note for the little ones: the hotel is “designed for a clientele over 12”, which we liked but obviously not suitable for everyone.
Recently remodeled by acclaimed interior design company Material Creative, it’s not for the faint of heart, with intricate wallpapers adorning not only the walls but the ceilings in every room, a bright red and bright blue tartan rug and a riot of equally busy upholstery, original art and vintage bits and bobs. It’s a lot, but it’s beautifully and luxuriously done and comes across as some sort of eccentric opulence.
Standard rooms are comfortable in size and many offer a glimpse of the surrounding mountain ranges, while the spacious junior suite has a private balcony and the best views in the house.
The aforementioned living room had a log fire when we arrived on a cool winter day, as well as tea / coffee making facilities and plenty of places to snuggle up with a book or iPad. In the evenings, there’s a free happy hour with wine and appetizers, where guests can make themselves comfortable on one of the plush sofas or on the terrace if the weather permits.
Get out of
The town is only 250 meters walk up the hill and the lake not much further so everything is literally within reach. Further up the street is the launch pad for the Skyline Gondola, a Queenstown staple at least once, not only for a breathtaking ride, but also for the breathtaking views (and toboggan, bar and restaurant, bungy and swing) at the top.
A very good continental breakfast option is available for an additional fee, served in the lovely bright dining area around the corner, but we couldn’t resist crossing the road to the Queenstown Bespoke Kitchen brunch institution ( try the breakfast board).
On the (excellent) recommendation of The Dairy concierge, we strolled (or maybe rolled after that happy hour) the very short distance to Bella Cucina, a not-so-well-kept secret restaurant that is among the most popular Italian dishes. delicious we have had in New Zealand including piping hot wood-fired pizzas, classic pastas and delicious antipasti.
The decor! It’s not just a pretty hotel though. The Dairy offers substance as well as style and comfort, with every need met, heavenly beds, roaring fires if needed, this spa with mountain views and thoughtful touches like freshly baked cookies each morning.
Small, simple and quite basic, the bathroom was kind of anticlimax after the splendor and decadence elsewhere, but hey, it’s just a bathroom and she did what she had to do.
My room was without a fridge, although it had a good tea / coffee setup, but I should have walked into the living room with my bathrobe and slippers to get milk if I needed it and didn’t had nowhere to keep my wine chilled.
Stay there: Dairy Private Hotel rooms start at $ 230, daily homemade breakfast is $ 20. An assortment of packages are available, offering additions ranging from cheese and dessert platters to in-room cocktail kits and late check-out. See: naumihotels.com/thedairyhotel
Getting There : Air New Zealand flies from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to Queenstown with connections on the domestic network. It’s a six hour drive from Christchurch and four hours from Dunedin.
Carbon footprint: Flying generates carbon emissions. To reduce your impact, consider other ways to travel, merge your trips, and when you have to fly, consider offsetting emissions. A round trip for a passenger flying from Auckland to Queenstown would generate 132 kilograms of CO2. To offset your carbon emissions, head to airnewzealand.co.nz/sustainability-customer-carbon-offset.
Stay Safe: New Zealand is currently subject to restrictions related to Covid-19. Follow the instructions on covid19.govt.nz.
The author was the guest of The Dairy.