Nestled by Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand's longest inland body of water, and at the foot of the Remarkables Mountain range, the QT Queenstown is one of the best located and newest hotels to hit the Queenstown scene. It's all about location, location, location, and views, views, views and they can't get any better here. Just a short walk to downtown and the walking path along crystal clear lake, this "Haute hotel" opened in 2018 adjoins the already well-known Rydges Hotel. Walking is the best option. Parking can be a bit of a challenge, especially for larger vehicles.
The vibe is unsurprisingly funky. The bold colours of the Nic Graham-designed lobby greet you the moment you walk through the door, as do the friendly staff. There's the usual QT signature quirk: a cosy floating fireplace, large nostalgic alpine art work to welcome you, cosy sofas to curl up on, complete with fur rugs, knitted throws and comfy cushions. The après-ski feel is all is the supporting act, the real star is the stunning lake and mountain vista everywhere you look, from the restaurants to the 69 boutique guest rooms. There are four different categories of rooms over four stories.
Warning: if your room is lakeside, you may never want to leave it and your personal postcard view of Queenstown. I could have happily sat on the balcony all day and watched the TSS Earnslaw, the glorious old coal-fired steamship ply its way back and cross the lake all day. From the moment your welcome gin martini arrives in your room, the welcome is warm. Unlike the lake where the water temperature hovers around 10 to 12 degrees Celsius throughout the year, and the weather outside, which even in summer can see snow atop the mountains and a nip in the air. It has some standard features: comfy beds, marble bathrooms, mirrors to reflect the lake views, free films. But it's the small touches: crystal cocktail glasses, in-room coffee maker, and rubber duck in the bathtub that make it feel like home. So much I wanted to take every item in the room home with me.
It's hard to beat the breakfast buffet, even in a gourmet destination like this South Island city. There is a great selection of fresh fruit, smoothies, freshly baked breads an egg station and barista made coffee at the Bazaar Interactive Marketplace. Dinner is a set price of $79 per adult, be sure to try the lamb, the reason people come to this country. Watch the sunset over the lake at Reds Bar. Dine on oysters or share plates washed down by a bespoke cocktail made by the bar staff according to your personal tastes.
There's the hair-raising options: bungee jumping off Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge and jet-boating on the Shotover and Dart rivers. In winter, there's skiing on the slopes of The Remarkables and Coronet Peak. Or in summer there's cycling or tramping (hiking) on mountain trails. But for a more laid-back Queenstown excursion, visit the goldmining town of Arrowtown, or the surrounding wine country or just sit back and be serenaded on the TSS Earnslaw by the steamship's pianist.
You will feel yourself transported back in time as well as across Queenstown's famous lake. A visit here is not complete to Queenstown is not complete without a Fergburger, a gourmet burger claimed to be the world's best. But if the line up is too overwhelming, just duck next door to the Fergbaker also on Shotover Street for a Fergpie. While the lamb and sweet potato pie may have been the best I've ever eaten, I'm told the sausage roll, pork belly with seasoning wrapped in flaky pasty, is pretty good too.
Halo café serves fine coffee and cake (the carrot would be fortifying after a ski), corn fritters and big breakfasts as well as free Wi-Fi. If it's a fry up you need to fortify yourself for the slopes try Joe's Garage.
This luxurious beautifully located property is peak QT; modern stylist décor is perfect for romantic weekends, couples of sophisticated travellers. You can just sit smugly on your QT balcony all day without any FOMO should you choose.
30 Brunswick Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand. Rooms from $290, phone +64 3 450 3450; see qthotelsandresorts.com
The view, decor, balcony, welcome cocktail and bespoke cocktail makers, the comfy bed and nice bathroom.
Difficult spot to park and if you are not a buffet lover, you may prefer Red Bar to Bazaar.