Maggie Wicks snuggles up at a lakeside mountain lodge.
Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
79 Peninsula Rd, Kawarau Village, Queenstown
Overview: An alpine-lodge style hotel overlooking a peaceful corner of Queenstown's Lake Wakatipu.
Location: Across the lake from Queenstown, the Hilton is both entirely removed and completely accessible to the town itself. Despite the distance, the hotel is serviced by a regular and affordable water taxi into town.
Style: Alpine lodge, hotel and apartments, built from timber and stone.
Perfect for: A romantic weekend, business travel, and family holidays.
Price: Rooms start from $149 per night. Wi-Fi is included.
First impressions: Walking in from a bright sunny Queenstown day, it takes the eye a moment to adjust to the cosy winter palette inside.
The hotel's layout across a hillside makes navigation initially confusing - the path to my room involved turns, corridors and catching two lifts. But the hallways and lobbies have plenty of signs and directions - just keep your room number in mind and you'll be fine.
Rooms: Take advantage of the location and request a lakeview room. Entering from the back, these rooms are divided into a bedroom and lounge area to the left, and changing/storage/wardrobe area and bathroom to the right. Both areas opened up to the lake at the front with expansive windows and decks from which to enjoy the view.
With space for a small lounge, TV, writing desk and coffee and tea area, these rooms are just right for two, with a pillowy soft bed made with crisp hotel-grade white sheets.
This being the adventure capital of New Zealand, out the window I saw jet skis whizzing past, hot air balloons rising over the far mountains and a local family of ducks diving for their dinners.
Bathroom: Nearest the windows and deck, a large, deep, stand-alone bath was begging to be filled for a lazy late afternoon lounge before dinner. Behind it, a large shower, double vanity and toilet. The art of privacy has been somewhat lost in some more modern boutiquey hotels, so those sharing a room will appreciate the heavy wooden sliding door for privacy between bathroom and bedroom.
Food and drink: The Wakatipu Grill sits almost on the lakefront. Get there early to capture the beautiful views, and watch as the sun sets. The menu features Kiwi classics such as fish and chips, steaks, and a pizza menu for the kids. Service is top-notch, and the wine list carries plenty of the high-quality pinot noirs that Central Otago is famous for.
On-site is also Stacks Pub, serving drinks and views, as well as pub grub.
Facilities: Wi-Fi is complimentary for all guests, as is use of the fitness centre, indoor lap pool, sauna, steam room, and hot tub, which all open at 6am. There is a spa on site, and business facilities available to book. The water taxi is subsidised for all hotel guests - simply show your room card when boarding.
Guests who sign up to the Hilton Honors programme can earn points, get discounts, book, check in and access their rooms via their smartphones.
In the neighbourhood: The Boatshed Cafe is a gorgeous spot in a historic post office building, right on the lake. The cafe is a good 40-minute walk around, or catch the water taxi for $10 return.
Family friendly: Cots, high chairs and kids' menus are available. The hotel can also refer families to a number of local babysitting companies.
Accessibility: There are nine wheelchair-accessible rooms and suites. These rooms contain roll-in showers and lowered facilities such as light switches and beds.
Sustainability: All the hotel's amenity bottles (the wee shampoo and conditioner bottles) are sent to NZ company Beyond Skin Deep, where they're recycled into fence posts for farms and wineries around New Zealand. The Hilton is also the central collection point in Queenstown for Soap Aid, a company that reprocesses discarded soap bars and distributes the new product to communities in need around the world.