Catching Up With Otahuna Lodge

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Luxury Travel Advisor recently caught up with Hall Cannon, owner of Otahuna Lodge in New Zealand's South Island. The Lodge sustained minor damage during the Christchurch Earthquake of 2011, but the repairs are complete and the property is better than ever. "You wouldn't know there ever was an earthquake, going in to Otahuna," Hall said.

The biggest part of the repair was to the 11 chimneys for the Lodge's 16 fireplaces, which were rebuilt to look the same as before. Otahuna is a half-hour south of Christchurch, and Hall said that the city will need 10 years to completely emerge from repairs. "They rebuilt the city mall using shipping containers with shops and cafes inside," he said, adding that the iconic Cathedral will be rebuilt in cardboard. "It will be a new city."

But while Christchurch is recreating itself, Otahuna is working to balance heritage with modern tastes. The building is well over 100 years old, and some aspects that were not important in years past are vital now: For example, some bathrooms in certain suites are built from former bedrooms, guaranteeing plenty of space.

Localized dining options are also a must, and the Lodge grows more than 120 varieties of vegetables, fruits and nuts in its gardens and orchards. Hall said that guests are welcome to tour the gardens, select what looks good and take a cooking lesson to learn how to prepare it for dinner that evening. Likewise, the Lodge can arrange tours to local vineyards with one-on-one meetings for dedicated oenophiles. There are seven dedicated dining areas at Otahuna, Hall added, and guests can choose day by day to dine privately or communally.

Getting to New Zealand is poised to get easier: United Airlines will soon begin flying its 787 Dreamliner between Houston and Auckland (where visitors can make an easy transfer for a flight to Christchurch).

Otahuna Lodge is located at 224 Rhodes Road in Christchurch, New Zealand. Visit www.otahuna.co.nz for more information.

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