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“A slice of Heaven”

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Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet
Ranked #19 of 20 Hotels in Wanaka
Reviewed 27 July 2011

The location in the main attraction - awesome mountains surrounds and first class skiing nearby, particularly heliskiing - but Whare Kea is also in a class of its own when it comes to comfort and service, particularly the incomparable meals prepared by the Chef.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank zlejins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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32 - 38 of 49 reviews

Reviewed 18 July 2011

We (me, my wife, our 12 year old daughter and her friend) stayed in this hotel for three nights from 7 to 10 July, 2011. To be honest, it was an extraordinary experience. We were the only guests at the time and it was as if we were staying in our own home but being waited on hand and foot by a friendly and attentive staff. Perhaps the highlight for us as regards the stay in the hotel was the food. James Stapley, the chef, and Craig (who kind of doubles as a "butler" and sous chef) were absolutely fantastic. My wife is a food fanatic and they were very happy for her to come in to the kitchen whenever she felt the need to watch them prepare our food, exchanging tips and discussing ingredients. The two girls also treated the kitchen as if it was their kitchen at home (and if the guys found it irritating, they didn't say anything!) James spoke to us each evening discussing what we wanted to eat for dinner the next day - he managed to get oysters, venison, crayfish and, for me, made a magnificent rhubarb crumble on the last day (I embarrassed myself by eating (nearly) all of it) as discussed the previous evening, amongst other delights. We cannot speak highly enough of James and Craig. My wife is looking forward to James's Whare Kea cook book which we understand is coming out shortly.

I should also mention the other staff who went out of their way to help with everything including trips notwithstanding the non-stop rain that accompanied our stay. They organised a horse riding trip for us (Timber Lake) one afternoon and we were delighted to see Carol the riding instructress cooking us breakfast the next morning!

We were also privileged to have dinner on the first evening with the owner and his son . We had a very good conversation about skiing, Wanaka and the hotel and chalet, amongst other things.

The views from the hotel across Lake Wanaka are absolutely stunning as has been well documented in other reviews. It is only a few minutes drive from the town of Wanaka and on the road to Treble Cone - say 25 minutes from here - and around 30 minutes or so from Cardrona - if you want to go skiing.

The architecture of the place is interesting in a modernist sort of way. The "living room" was extremely comfortable with a log fire in the centre of the room and spectacular views of the Lake and the mountains.

The rooms themselves did not quite justify the price of the hotel - they were large and comfortable but the fittings could be improved. My wife was unable to have a hot bath one evening because there was only cold water at the time - not sure why this happened given that we were the only people staying.

There is no doubt this place is expensive. For us, the price was justified by the food, the friendliness of the staff and chefs, the views and the fact that we had the place to ourselves. If money is of no object (and subject to some quibbles about the rooms), this is the place to stay in Wanaka. I would definitely return - would love to go to their chalet in the mountains - and would recommend Whare Kea to anyone with means.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank side11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 July 2011

During our three weeks vacations this sapcious 6 ****** Hotel was together with the
Split apple retreat simply the best. Charming service angles are always taking care of you. We stayed alone in ths wonderfull lodge, extra for us the cook came in and served us one michelin star quality food.

Gorgeous, unfortunately we have not seen something like this in Europe.

ABSOLUTELY PERFECT!!

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank hhrhd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2011

My s/o and I spent a little over three weeks driving across New Zealand. We stayed at many of the premier lodges in the country, and Whare Kea was one of our favorites. Heck, maybe just our favorite. First, there's the great location. We just adored Wanaka. A beautiful and very charming town on the lake with gorgeous trees and a great atmosphere. The proximity to Mount Aspiring National Park with its great hikes and scenery was awesome.

But the lodge itself! The photos don't do it justice. The architecture is stunning and elegant, and the views of the mountains and the lake are world class. The staff are very competent but not at all stuffy, just friendly and full of information. Our room was spacious and comfortable, and while it didn't have the 'wow' factor of some of the other rooms in some of the lodges we stayed, it was just fine (and I'm picky).

We were only there two night, sadly, and one day we were to do the "Siberian Experience" which involves a small plane flight, hike, and jetboating. We were very much looking forward to it, and when we woke up and saw the lousy weather we knew it was probably going to be a bust. The staff kept us informed, calling the operator every few minutes, before it was finally determined it was cancelled. But they had several other suggestions for us, and even though the weather wasn't the best, we perused the maps and hike descriptions provided to us and decided to drive about an hour to hike to the Rob Roy glacier. What a good choice! The major rain held off until we were back and it was a spectacular day through some of the prettiest scenery I've ever seen. We only got a glimpse of Mt. Aspiring herself because of cloud cover, but the next day was clear and gorgeous and we drove a few minutes from the lodge to a great viewing point and got some good photos. After the hike we returned to the cozy fire and wine in our beautiful lodge. It was really the perfect NZ experience, reflecting the openness of the country, but also the innovation in terms of architecture and furnishings.

Lastly, a word about the food. It was the best we had in NZ. The chef, whose name unfortunately escapes me, is a treasure. My s/o and I still talk about stealing him and opening a restaurant.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank SheaG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 January 2011

The heli picked us up from the lawn in front of our suite on our wedding day! The staff added magic to our wedding day and honeymoon by making our stay at Whare Kea Lodge perfect. They are so warm, friendly and helpful you never want to leave. They are extremely thoughtful and proactive in their care. The Lodge is welcoming, homely, clean, spacious and bright. The food is delicious, the chef took care of our dietary needs and cooked a wide variety of tasty meals over our stay. The location is stunning. All-in-all you cannot help but fall in love with Whare Kea Lodge. Did I mention the staff are AMAZING?!

  • Stayed: December 2010
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1  Thank LynneCB333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 October 2010

Whare Kea is a beautiful 6 room lodge, designed with flawless taste. The location is to die for, on the shores of Lake Wanaka with beautiful water and mountain vistas. The rooms are very stylish and comfortable with a most enjoyable balcony, a very generous walk in closet and a large bathroom. The social areas are beautifully appointed in a style I'd dare describe as rural contemporary spiced with more than a hint of Denmark. Our hosts were very friendly and polite, and went out of their way to make our stay the most enjoyable possible.
We booked a helicopter tour to the fjords complete with lunch at the lodge's mountain chalet, the highlight of our stay.
The most impressive feature of the hotel is however the food. James Stapley is a brilliant chef, of whom we'll most certainly hear a lot about in the future. Every single dish coming out of his blessed hands was delicious, creative and impeccably presented. It was breathtakingly good food.
Excellent and exclusive as it is, Whare Kea feels, however, overpriced, that being the only less positive aspect.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank PortoTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 September 2010

After looking far and wide for that special place to celebrate my 50th Birthday, we booked the lodge and brought over from australia a group of family and friends. It is too hard to describe the amazing experience of location, food, wine, activities ( including a birthday cake and champagne celebration in the chalet courtesy of the the helicopters, a white water canoeing experience and a breathtaking walk through the alps).

The nightly five course meal was like having a different melbourne three hat restaurant come to dinner each night. We matched each couse with different wines with a focus on the amazing central ortago region. If the perfect matching wine was not in the extensive cellar, then the sommlier just procured it.

The service was out of the ordinary. we were a diverse group ranging from eleven years old to sixty years old. we had walkers and non walkers, fly fishermen, shoppers, helicopter enthusaists and those with a fear of flying. All needs were brilliantly catered for including the masseuse for those who needed to release a bit of muscle tension.

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled with family
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Thank Peter_w_Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet

Address: 494 Mt. Aspiring Road, Wanaka 9343, New Zealand
Region: New Zealand > South Island > Otago Region > Wanaka
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service
Hotel Style:
#7 Romantic Hotel in Wanaka
#9 Luxury Hotel in Wanaka
Price Range: £2,376 - £3,028 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet 4.5*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sitting above the shores of Lake Wanaka, Whare Kea is the perfect luxury accommodation for families or groups of friends wishing to soak up the splendour of the area a private location. Our superbly comfortable lakeside lodge offers an ideal combination of shared and also private spaces well suited to accommodate small groups of up to 12 guest whether you prefer rest & relaxation or want to experience Wanaka's myriad of outdoor pursuits. Our fully equipped kitchen at Whare Kea allows guests to self-cater whilst looking out at the stunning vistas over Lake Wanaka. Alternatively, catering can be arranged. Additional Services to compliment your stay are extensive & unlimited with our property manager available to tailor make your exclusive retreat. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Whare Kea Hotel

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