Elisabeth Easther checks into the Heritage Queenstown.

Getting there:

Queenstown is well served by flights from Australia and all around New Zealand although you can't beat driving in - whether you're coming from the north or the south, the landscape will blow your mind. Plus, if you do drive, there's free parking at the hotel.

From the airport: By bus from the airport, it'll cost you $10 per person, a taxi is $45 and a Super Shuttle is $28 for the first person and $8 for any extra bods.

Check-in experience: Terrifically pleasant, the welcoming young Irish gentleman couldn't have been more friendly or helpful.


The room: Cosy and a bit flash, more of a suite than a room. The dining and living areas had room for two sofas, a large TV, a blu-ray player and a decent-sized dining table. The bedroom was separate and generously proportioned. Plus there were so many machines, including a washing machine and dryer, a dishwasher, a microwave and a stove - you could get down to some pretty decent cooking here, all whilst doing your laundry.

The bedroom: Niiiice, and it opens on to a balcony with views across the lake to snowy mountains. You can't see the road or another living soul, it was like looking out to the cover of a particularly swept up box of chocolates. Comfortable bed, soft white cotton everything, a desk and a TV, although it didn't get switched on in favour of the views.

The bathroom: Shower, loo and basin as you'd expect but it was the deep, vaguely old-school bath that was the real delight.

Toiletries: A brand called Manuka Spa, nothing out of this world - except for the Green Tea and Manuka Leaf Restorative Bath Bag Infusion thingy, quite a novelty and just the thing after a day on the slopes.

Minibar: The usual assortment of fizz, Red Bull, red and white wine (Brancott Estate), chips and chocolate. Good range of free teas and coffee too. And those little milk pottles that my companion enjoys drinking like shots.

Price: They're seasonal rather than being permanently set. For example, a night for two in a deluxe room with breakfast in Mackenzies Restaurant (plus wi-fi) starts at $210 (+GST) a night but sometimes it's less and sometimes it's more so keep your eyes peeled for specials.

What's in the neighbourhood? Happily, not a lot, aside from those views. Head down the hill to the lake where you'll find some very pleasant walking, or walk up the hill for more fabulous views. The main social areas of Queenstown are a wee way away.

Food and drink: Mackenzies Restaurant is excellent whatever time of the day your hunger calls, with all-day dining and more specific menus for lunch, dinner and high tea. From the seafood chowder to the venison, the brulee to the house-baked bread, everything hits the spot perfectly. The roaring fire has a huge jar of marshmallows for toasting but maybe bring your own skewer as the little wooden sticks were a trifle short and, if you weren't quick, you ended up toasting your hand.

Breakfast: The buffet was declared a winner, with my companion asserting the mini sausages the best he'd ever had in all his nine years - "cooked to perfection, not too hot with a pleasing aftertaste. The apple juice was out of this world and the hash browns felt nice on my teeth." The buffet included a super array of cooked and fresh foods, baked goods, Bircher muesli and raw treats too. Word to the wise: dress warm and have breakfast outside on the terrace for the best views ever.

Other facilities: The gym had all the machines you need to keep fit, the spa pool was amazing, full in the afternoon but quite deserted first thing. Going from the hot pool to the unheated pool, back and forth was most exhilarating. Plus there's a sauna and a range of board games in the dining room if you fancy a game.

Online: heritagehotels.co.nz
Perfect for: Families, friends and romantic runaways.