We've worked out that 'lodge' in NZ can mean very different things, from a modest but comfortable B and B to the grandest kind of resort hotel. Acacia Cliffs Lodge has something in common with both. It is located in the Acacia Bay area of Taupo, about 7 km from the town centre, has only 4 guest rooms on the ground floor and is run by a couple, Rick and Linda, who live on the second floor. The first floor is used for the guest lounge and dining room. For an additional charge, guests can eat in but sit at a single table. Thus far, fairly modest sounding. The devil is in the detail.
First of all, that location. You are high on the slope overlooking Acacia Bay and floor to ceiling windows give you a view from your bed that itself is worth paying through the nose for. A small balcony enables you to look down over flowers and meadows with a few sheep dotted around in decorative fashion.
Second, the rooms are stylish in design and very comfortable. Bathrooms are huge and have the accessories and toiletries one associates with luxury hotels. A fridge comes with a few complimentary bottles "to get you started" as well as fresh milk for the array of fine teas and coffee on offer and the room is big enough also to have good, comfortable seating.
Third, Rick is an excellent cook and his meals are every bit as good as those you might eat in some of NZ's best restaurants. He uses only what is fresh and in season. Although there is no choice, he discusses preferences and dietary needs with those dining in before designing the 4 course menu each evening. A very good selection of NZ wines is available as well. Rick and Linda sit with the guests who are eating each evening between preparing and serving each course. They are interesting and outgoing hosts and are particularly skilled at ensuring that nobody is left feeling isolated.
There is no pressure to eat in and Linda is very quick to recommend other local restaurants for those who prefer to try elsewhere but the advantage of not having to drive is obvious. We ate in for 3 of the 4 nights we stayed at the Acacia Cliffs Lodge and enjoyed every dish. Breakfasts are also excellent and again Rick cooks to order from a good selection of ingredients.
There are a few oddities. Although there is masses of hanging space in the room, the lack of a chest of drawers is irritating if you are staying more than a night. It was fairly cool during our stay - had it been warmer we would have found the lack of A/C more of a problem. These are minor issues however and far outweighed by the friendly and helpful hosts who could advise on every conceivable activity locally or further afield.
This is a truly great place to stay and I recommend it unequivocally. You will pay more and get considerably less for your money elsewhere in NZ.
Ensure you get one of the 3 rooms with a view of the bay. They all have a wonderful prospect.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC