Stephanie Holmes has a hard time tearing herself away from her suite's stunning views.
About five minutes from town, up a very steep hill. And I'm talking very steep. Don't do what I did and get off your shuttle bus in town, then pull your 15kg suitcase up that hill. You want your ride to drop you off right at the door. It's a good cardio tool for balancing out all the indulgence you'll be doing with Queenstown's amazing food and wine though, right?
Check-in experience: A handsome German man met me at the door, took my suitcase, showed me to the lounge, offered me tea and coffee, then gave me my keys and carried my suitcase to the room for me. I was two hours early but the room was ready and waiting. A very friendly welcome that made me feel right at home.
Room: Villa 2, a one-bedroom lake-view suite that can be connected to the room next door to make it a two-bed. It's absolutely massive, with lounge and dining area, full kitchen, large furnished balcony, spacious bedroom with its own patio area, and a bathroom with a tub.
The lounge has a three-seater leather sofa and two armchairs, plus a squishy tub chair with ottoman that I made good use of, intermittently catching up on some work in between gazing at the beautiful view of the lake, mountains and town below. The six-seater dining table and huge kitchen would be great for self-catering nights in on longer stays if you want a break from eating out.
Wi-fi: Yes, free of charge, but the in-room information folder requests no huge downloads.
Bed: Two mattresses joined together to make a king-size bed. Each side was very comfortable, but with a bit of a ridge in the middle, so not ideal for snuggling. Lucky I had it to myself, so I could pick a side.
View: Incredible. It took me a while to get the motivation to leave the apartment to go down the hill because I couldn't stop staring out the bi-fold doors. As well as the lake and mountains, you can also see all the way down Shotover St, and most of the centre of town. I watched the TSS Earnslaw tootling along, and the jetboats hooning around. You can see the Skyline gondola from the balcony too, and during the day I watched the brightly coloured chutes of paragliders drifting gently off the mountainside. Who needs to actually do adventure activities, when you can watch them all from the comfort of your armchair?
Bathroom: Shower over bath, but horror of horrors, when I pulled back the shower curtain there were two hairs on the bottom of the tub that weren't mine. Shudder. Everything else was spotless though. And the Koha Spa toiletries were lovely.
Food and beverage: Tea and coffee in room, plus a daily breakfast served in the lakeview lounge. And, did someone say happy hour? Between 5.30pm and 7.30pm every night, there's a guest mix and mingle where wine and canapes are served. On my visit, Queenstown House's very lovely staff member Simone was hosting — she had only worked at the hotel for two weeks but after spending a couple of years working as a chalet girl in France, she was an expert at making conversation and helping the guests feel relaxed.
Entertainment: Apart from the aforementioned view, the suite has a large television with Sky, an iPod docking station, a bookshelf with a large selection of books and CDs (although possibly not to your taste, unless you like Ricky Martin, the Spice Girls and the Titanic soundtrack); as well as Monopoly, Scrabble and a few other family friendly games.
Perfect for: Family groups travelling together, or anyone taking a longer stay in Queenstown who wants to feel at home.
In a nutshell: A spacious suite with a superb view and some lovely added extras.
Queenstown House is at 69 Hallenstein Street, Queenstown,. Phone: (03) 442 9043.