Courtney Whitaker checks in for the Veuve Clicquot Hotel du Marc-experience
The Hilton Queenstown sits on the edge of the postcard-perfect Lake Wakatipu, with rooms designed to enjoy the gorgeous views. It is a five-minute jaunt from the airport, and an easy water taxi to and from the town centre.
Check-in experience: Fast and efficient. We were able to admire the arresting mountain views from the picture windows in the lobby while we warmed ourselves by the fire.
Room: The Hilton, along with Veuve Clicquot, has taken inspiration from the extremely exclusive, invitation-only Hotel du Marc in Reims, France, to create a piece of French glamour for Kiwis wanting an accessible and luxurious escape. The 19th-century Hotel du Marc is the epitome of old-world French glamour and the former residence of Madame Clicquot herself. My King Hilton Deluxe Plus Lakeview room had undertaken a temporary makeover by designer Michelle Halford, to become La Grande Dame room. An imposing portrait of The Widow Clicquot adorned one of the walls and touches of Veuve's signature yellow had been added to the room, including monogrammed cushions and blankets. A bottle of the famous drop was chilling upon our arrival and the fire was roaring.
The bed: A luxurious king bed with soft linen sheets.
The bathroom: A bathroom with a view. A deep, soaking tub by the full-length windows offered a stunning view of the lake, and thankfully — for you and for potential neighbours — there is complete privacy. Peter Thomas Roth bathroom products were provided, as well as an indulgent Jo Malone London Lime, Basil and Mandarin Body Wash.
Food and drink: The Hilton boasts several restaurants, including the Wakatipu Grill (which also hosts a buffet breakfast), Me & Mee noodle bar, Cru wine lounge, and Stacks Pub. We enjoyed a delicious Veuve Clicquot degustation dinner at the Wakatipu Grill — a poached pear and prune filo with a stilton sauce, a king prawn ravioli, and a pear and blueberry streusel — with each of the three courses matched to a different variety of Veuve.
As well as a pool, sauna and gym, The Hilton also hosts Eforea spa. Deceptively large, and with 10 treatment rooms for guests, the spa has a range of options for the weary traveller. We emerged refreshed after having glorious Osmosis products slathered over our faces, and enjoyed yet another glass of Champagne each during our "Veuve Clicquot Flute and Facial Experience".
Activities: There are activities in the area to suit every taste and budget. Hire an electric bike onsite at the hotel, or catch the water taxi and visit the gondola and luge. Skiing and snowboarding can also be arranged. That is, if you can tear yourself away from the heated pool.
Views: To die for — snowcapped peaks, a beautifully calm lake. Best viewed through the bottom of a Champagne flute.
Wi-Fi: Yes, free and easy to use.
La Grande Dame room is priced from $469. Get in quick, the Hilton's French experience is only available until August 27, is based on availability, and may be booked at the Hilton's Auckland, Taupo and Queenstown hotels. The Queenstown experience includes a buffet breakfast and a bottle of Champagne on arrival.
Perfect for: Couples seeking a luxurious getaway.
What's so good about this place: The peace and tranquillity. Did I mention the views?
Would I return: In a heartbeat.
Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa is in Kawarau Village, 79 Peninsula Rd, Queenstown. Phone: (03) 450 9400.