New Zealand's most expensive new residential lodge is in Northland and will open its doors to guests next month.
Helena Bay Lodge, a $50 million-plus development 40 minutes north of Whangarei, will accommodate just 10 people at a time and is owned by billionaire Alexander Abramov. The spectacular property is in an exclusive club of similar luxury retreats, including Taupo's Huka Lodge and the Queenstown area's Blanket Bay.
Helena Bay management has declined to comment, other than confirming there will be a grand opening before the first paying guests start arriving from November 1. Prices have now been set on the luxury lodge's website.
Villa suites are pegged at an eye-watering $3850 per couple per night or $3500 for a single occupancy, from November to April 30. Junior suites are priced at $2100 for a double occupancy or $1750 per single person. Prices for both villa options are lower for the rest of the year.
The hideaway lodge - just a 40-minute helicopter ride from Auckland for most of its clients - has been built for Mr Abramov, one of the richest men in the world.
Mr Abramov, who made his $US4.2 billion ($5.8b) fortune in steel and has a number of homes around the world, visited the property a year ago and is understood to be planning further trips soon.
To complement the opulent interior design guests will enjoy exploring the individual rooms of the main house, decorated with eclectic artwork and treasures collected by the owners during their travels.
Guest facilities are generous and include a gym, sauna, massage room, a 25m heated swimming pool, library, lounge areas, formal and informal dining areas and an outdoor fire pit.
Other top-end features include a health spa wing with Russian-style mosaic tiles, imported Russian and Italian furnishings and a lavish five-to-one staff/guest ratio.
Christopher Seel, Helena Bay Holdings' managing director, told NZME last year the high staff numbers would ensure guests received the utmost care and attention.
"Staff will be working in the health spa, kitchens, on housekeeping, serving, as porters, office staff, activities and amenities staff, ground staff, vegetable and landscape gardeners," he said during a sneak preview.
Another staff member said the buildings and property were so sprawling that radios and mobile phones were needed. Golf cart fleets enable staff to move swiftly around the grounds.