The Best Luxury Lodges: Bay of Many Coves, New Zealand
A hush fell over the boat as we rounded the corner and first set eyes on the Bay of Many Coves Resort. It’s easy to understand why though – this was to be the highlight of an incredible trip along the top of New Zealand’s South Island. The excitement was palpable.
Its collection of lodges protruded from the verdant hillside, perfectly framing the jetty and a tranquil shingle beach, with 120 acres of emerald parkland as its backdrop. It was a dramatic sight, particularly given its remoteness. With a fresh waterfall and stream as its main water source, this five-star property is all about pure seclusion. In fact, it is only accessible by helicopter or boat from Picton, the South Island hub for the country’s iconic Interislander ferry, and sits in the heart of the Queen Charlotte Sound. With uninterrupted views across the Marlborough Sounds’ most spectacular sunken valleys, it really is the ideal place to get off the grid in luxury.
Unsurprisingly I loved everything about my stay in this designated Small Luxury Hotel of the World and could easily have stayed here for several nights more. Here’s why you should include the Bay of Many Coves in your New Zealand holiday itinerary:
On arrival, a quick tour around the hotel grounds revealed many gems – including lovable resort cat Steven – but hands down the loudest of the bunch was a double-throated tui bird, providing a melodic soundtrack to my time here. I spotted him from my balcony, perched on a branch and singing at the top of his little lungs. In that moment I realised just how wonderfully in touch with nature the Bay of Many Coves is. I kept my eyes peeled for bellbirds, cormorants and kererus during my stay too, awoke each day to a birdsong dawn chorus, and even had to stop a curious weka from wandering into my travel partner’s room!
Luxury rooms with a view
The Bay of Many Coves has just 11 guestrooms: a selection of one-, two- and three-bedroom suites, as well as the luxurious and romantic Kereru Suite – which comes complete with its own decking and hot tub, not to mention the best views in the resort.
That being said, every room feels private, indulgent, understated and designed to be in touch with surrounding nature. The toiletries are bespoke and crafted using natural ingredients that showcase the very best of New Zealand, the king-size beds are the comfiest I slept in throughout the trip, and complimentary Wi-Fi will keep you connected – should you wish to reach the outside world. But the crown jewel of every room is the water-facing balcony, not to mention the huge windows. One of my favourite moments here was sitting on my deck with a cup of tea (and the complimentary pack of homemade cookies!), gazing out across the sounds as the light from the setting sun reflected off the water.
Fresh, local and 5-star cuisine
I’m not ashamed to say we were spoilt when it came to food and world-class Marlborough wine at the Bay of Many Coves. For dinner we indulged in a delectable tasting menu with wine pairing at The Foredeck restaurant: think sumptuous New Zealand lamb; freshly caught blue cod with an Indian twist; aromatic duck breast; and a goat’s cheese mousse with balsamic caviar. I was bursting by the end of it, but with every dish as delicious as the last it was hard to say no. For breakfast the next morning, a cooked meal with a pot of tea, served alfresco on the terrace, was the perfect start to the day. My travelling companions raved about the coffee too.
Of course what makes these meals all the more impressive is that, each day, local produce is shipped in from the mainland before being lovingly crafted into a fresh, local menu.
If you’re looking to unwind then you’ve come to the right place. By day you can choose from a selection of massages and luxury therapies at the Miritu Day Spa, take a refreshing dip in the sea, or lounge around the heated outdoor pool. In the evening, a selection of games and DVDs are available from the resort library, while a soak in the steaming, 40-degree cedar hot tub is the ultimate pre-bedtime ritual.
If you’re more of an active traveller, there’s plenty here to keep you occupied. Friendly and welcoming managers Graeme and Kim will tell you all about the tramping trails on the hotel’s grounds: the short Glowworm Hike (great after dark when coupled with some stargazing); the lofty Lookout Walk; and the 30-minute Waterfall Loop. I undertook the latter, and was rewarded with stunning views across Arthur’s Bay and I got to glimpse the resort’s self-sufficient water supply.
Speaking of water, there’s an abundance of aqua-inspired options here too, with kayaks, dinghies and paddleboards all complimentary for guests. Boat tours to spot bottlenose, dusky and common dolphins, fur seals and orcas can also be organised in-resort.
Chat to your Flight Centre Travel Expert about staying at the Bay of Many Coves on your next New Zealand holiday.