Miriyana Alexander checks into the Peppers Bluewater Resort, Lake Tekapo
An Insta-perfect getaway on the shores of one of New Zealand's most picturesque lakes.
Location: Lake Tekapo is in the heart of the Mackenzie Country, and the hotel is in the small village, on the south tip of the lake, surrounded by mesmerising views of the Two Thumbs Range and the Southern Alps. It's about a three-hour drive from Christchurch, depending on your number of coffee stops.
Style: High-country classy. The resort's tussocky, rocky landscaping is entirely in keeping. There's even a pond, complete with trout.
Perfect for: Stargazers, fishers, climbers and hot pool aficionados.
First impressions: Wow. Drop your bags and stare. The glacial blue lake, the snow-capped ranges. The lack of people. Peaceful and serene.
Rooms: We had a superb two-bedroom, two-storey lake view villa with kitchen, dining and living rooms and a deck. We missed the fresh snow by hours, but the chill in the air remained, so the gas fire was a real treat. The floor to ceiling windows meant we spent a lot of time staring at the view, glass in hand. Good for the soul. The beds were comfy, and the eight-year-old's was so big even his long-limbed starfish didn't get anywhere near the sides.
Bathroom: When there's a cold snap in the south, you can't beat a bit of underfloor heating. The big bath got a workout, and the shower aced the pressure test.
Food and drink: The resort's Rakinui bar and restaurant is perfectly placed to admire the view. You could easily lose track of the food with such a vista, but that would be a mistake. We arrived in time for the monthly Indian night, and scoffed a great range of curries. And when we were lucky enough to catch some Lake Tekapo trout, the chef kindly cooked it for our dinner - you can't get better than that.
Facilities: Wifi; bar and restaurant; and the helpful front desk team will help you arrange local tours and bookings.
In the neighbourhood: There's so much to do, you'll need to stay a few days. There's climbing, fishing and horse trekking. The Tekapo Hot Springs (go for a soak and stay for a visit to the spa) are a must-do and the Mt Cook and Twizel villages are close by. Pose for a pic at the beautiful Church of the Good Shepherd, or further afield at Lake Pūkaki. If the day is clear Mt Cook will be behind you - and if it's crystal clear, consider a flight over the alps.
Tekapo is a Dark Sky Reserve, and although it was too cloudy to tackle the Mt John Observatory evening tour, it's on my to-do list for next time. As is the hot springs "soak in the stars" experience.
Family friendly: Definitely. The staff were amazing at including our son in dinner-time conversations, and plenty of living space in our villa gave us space to spread out. The small person was also happy to find a kids' movie channel on the in-house offerings.
Accessibility: Wheelchair access, but no disabled rooms.
Sustainability: I like this one. Bluewater Resort has joined a collective of Kiwi hotels donating used cakes of soap to charity. Apparently, every day, hotels around the world throw away millions of bars of soap, mostly after just one use. Rather than throwing them out, the resort collects the used soap, which is washed, crushed and processed into fresh new bars at a recycling centre. A step above the whole re-use your towels malarkey.
Contact: With Accor, you can Take Two in 2020 with a Kiwi holiday exploring Christchurch and the Mackenzie Basin. To book, visit all.accor.com/nztaketwo
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, go to newzealand.com