|Photo by Helena Bay|
Helena Bay Luxury Lodge, New Zealand’s newest intimate retreat, has opened its doors to visitors as of November 1. The new, boutique property is the first of New Zealand’s luxury lodges to offer guests accommodations with balconies along the beach and unobstructed views of Helena Bay Cove. Set on two miles of private coastline and 800 acres of greenery, the lodge has a Michelin-starred culinary team, a European-style spa and myriad opportunities for outdoor adventures.
Since its construction began in 2010, the lodge has become New Zealand’s most expansive private estate, welcoming up to 10 guests at a time between two beachfront guest villas and a total of five suites. The European-inspired colonial main house is about a 40 minute private helicopter ride away from the Auckland Airport, on the sand facing the ocean. Within the main house’s three wings are a gallery with sitting rooms and a library, a spa with a massage room, cold plunge pool, sauna, steam room and fitness center, and a dining and lounge wing, complete with both formal and informal spaces, a bar, an outdoor lounge and a fire pit. At the center of the three wings sits a 25-metre, heated outdoor pool.
Just a minute’s walk from the main house, two guest villas offer the same European aesthetic. One villa has two 1,450 square foot villa suites and the second has three 700 square-foot suites. The suites have super king beds and glass doors which open onto waterfront balconies, offering views of the southern Pacific Ocean. Amenities include hand-made European linens, hypoallergenic pillows and duvets by Hefel, and Feilier towels from Germany. Mosaic tiled bathrooms offer bath accessories by Labrazel, products from Molton Brown and robes by Christian Fishbacher.
Executive Chef Michele Martino will head Helena Bay’s culinary team. Martino hails from the Michelin-starred Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890 in Italy and has opened several Don Alfonso restaurants throughout the world. At Helena Bay, Martino draws from the Sorrento peninsula and the Amalfi coast to create her dishes, using fresh ingredients from Helena Bay’s farms and gardens, greenhouses and orchards. Martino works closely with Helena Bay’s farmers and gardeners to manage the estates culinary properties, fueling the lodge’s “estate to plate” kitchen with ingredients and meats sourced locally on site.
Both breakfast and dinner are included in the lodge’s nightly rates. During dinner, guests can opt for an eight-course degustation menu or select favorites from an a la carte menu. The wine list will vary each night as it’s paired with each evening’s menu. The property’s private cellar has more than 100 vintages from New Zealand and across the globe. On site culinary experiences will be available to guests, including visits to the property’s farm and garden as well as special picnic excursions.
On site, other than the beach the lodge offers guests a tennis court, hiking and biking trails, farms, paddleboards, kayaks and more. New Trek mountain bikes, two with scenic motors, are avialbale for guests to take on nearby trails. Guests can explore the property on four wheel-buggies or horseback riding tours, or with members of the local Maori tribe, who will highlight the property’s history and sacred grounds.