Written by John Williams
Vineyard Villa, Bay of Islands
Designed by Nat Cheshire of Cheshire Architects, the Vineyard Villa takes its name from its unique location, tucked quietly amongst The Landing’s established vines, overlooking Wairoa bay.
An entertainer’s haven or a romantic’s escape, the house features three bedrooms and three separate entertaining areas, sleeping six comfortably. At the front of the house, a covered terrace provides year-round outdoor dining, while a sheltered courtyard to the west offers sunset views and an inviting open-air fire. In summer, the glass walls slide away completely to transform the entire pavilion into an outdoor room.
The décor is great, too, with modern furnishings carefully chosen to match the villa’s calm aesthetic and work alongside the dark wood and stone materials that run throughout the house.
Otaha Beach, Bay of Islands
Otaha Beachfront Lodge is a wonderful balance of contemporary New Zealand design, built in a beautiful beachside location, and set in one of the country’s richest historical environments.
Built using local timber, the design of this property has been well considered from the front door through to the wrap-around decks. And with floor to ceiling windows there is no mistaking that you are in the middle of the Bay of Islands.
With internal furnishings from Simon James and other internationally renowned designers, it has a clean, spacious feel, and is barely a minute’s walk to the beach – making it the perfect destination for a family getaway.
The Lookout, Tairua
As you walk down the concrete steps to the aptly named ‘Lookout’, you feel like your stepping off the edge of the world. Clinging to the side of a cliff like a limpet, this sleek architecturally designed holiday home is the perfect spot for watching the world go by below you. It’s all about the view, and it’s a phenomenal view.
Simply arranged along one contour of the bluff, the single pavilion comprises an open-plan living, dining, kitchen, plus two bedrooms – all of which get views. The floor-to-ceiling glass doors slide away, bringing the outdoors in, accentuating the property’s cliff top position.
Once you’re there you do not want to leave, believe me. So come prepared with wine and provisions, sit down, relax and take in one of the best spots on the Coromandel Coast.
Otama Beach House
Designed by an ex-pat Kiwi architect as his bolthole when he visits home, this delightfully simple modern bach sits right on the shores of Otama Beach and has everything a family or a group of friends could ask for in a holiday home.
Sleeping up to eight, it has wrap-around decks, bi-fold doors and large windows, so you can make the most of the great view. A full kitchen and wood burning fire make it perfect for a long or a short stay, winter or summer.
Close To Home
Possibly not the most glamorous or architectural as the rest of the retreats listed here, but definitely the most romantic – and it’s less than an hour’s drive from Auckland’s CBD, even on a Friday afternoon!
Surrounded by mature Kauri trees and home to a host of native birds, this is a beautiful pint-sized chalet, just perfect for two. Light and airy in the summer, cosy and warm in the winter, it is set in over 3000sqm of native NZ bush, and is completely separate and not visible from main house, so guests can enjoy complete privacy. Yet it’s only a short drive up the hill to Titirangi Village
Facilities are basic. The main room has fridge, microwave, kettle and toaster, and there’s a small bathroom with shower, toilet and underfloor heating. But, for a weekend away, that’s all you need.
Palm Beach, Waiheke Island
Just like the chalet in Titirangi, this unique little cabin would make a wonderful romantic weekend getaway for two; the difference being, this is highly architectural, having been shortlisted for the NZ HOME of the Year 2015 and featured in Elle Decor Italy magazine.
Designed and owned by architect, Chris Tate, the ‘tent house’ has a dramatic, minimalist edge to it, yet it captures the back-to-basics simplicity of a camping holiday, which is exactly what the architect envisioned.
A sun-drenched deck and boardwalks lead to a spa pool and fire pit, set amongst lush native bush. Centrally located, it is perfectly positioned for exploring vineyards, and is only five minutes drive from Palm Beach.
Taieri Mouth Bach, Dunedin
Designed by local architects Mason & Wales and named supreme winner of the NZ Wood, Timber Design Awards, you could call this modern little gem home for the princely sum of just $250 a night.
It sleeps four comfortably, gets all-day sun, and is a perfect interpretation of a contemporary bach. But don’t just take my word for it – this is what the NZ Institute of Architects had to say about it…
"Perched on a sand dune thirty minutes from Dunedin, surrounded by DIY fishing shacks, this structure takes the kiwi bach to a new level. It’s simple gabled form and natural materials are honest, simple and robust – its rawness is its charm. Sustainability is unquestioned – there was no waste in the design, construction or build time. This bach is at once stimulating and restful; an uplifting living space, and one of the most inspiring. Like a haiku!"
“Stay where the world can’t find you…” That’s the compelling calling card on Annandale’s homepage – a pioneering sheep and cattle farm that occupies a fair chunk of land and coastline, just north of Akaroa Harbour.
Designed by renowned Auckland architect Andrew Patterson, Seascape is just one of four quite different properties offered by Annandale, and it’s certainly the most architectural.
Accessed only by helicopter, or by a 40-minute transfer in a 4WD Annandale vehicle across the cliff-top farm tracks, this awe-inspiring ultra-modern retreat provides a truly romantic experience. Inside, a king-size bed sits upon a dais, a step up from the living area and fireplace, so the incredible view dominates the space. From within, it appears you are floating on the open sea, yet safely embraced by luxury and modern comforts.
Sky's The Limit
The Lodge, at the Hills, Arrowtown
As its name alludes, the Lodge at The Hills is a sprawling contemporary property located in the grounds of Michael Hill’s exclusive private golf course just outside of Arrowtown.
For your $32,000 per night (minimum five night stay), you and up to 11 guests will be treated like kings and queens. On top of a list of daily luxuries, you will have the exclusive use of truly wonderful architectural home that boasts extensive living areas, an art studio, a music and media room, and wine cellar.
Its private grounds feature a heated infinity pool, spa pool, sauna, grass tennis court, numerous outside dining areas, fire pit and seating area, petanque court and, of course, a par 3 golf hole.
Jagged Edge, Queenstown
Jutting out from a cliff face like a giant shard of crystal, Jagged Edge has to be New Zealand’s most spectacular house. Equally impressive is its position, high above Queenstown, giving it one of the most spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables imaginable.
Accommodating up to six guests, Jagged Edge is the ultimate architectural statement; its minimalist design complementing, rather than competing with its environment. If you’re looking for a house in which James Bond’s archenemy wouldn’t feel out of place, then this is it.