NZ in top 20 of world's best resorts and hotels

Aro Ha Wellness Retreat looks out over Lake Wakatipu.

Aro Ha Wellness Retreat looks out over Lake Wakatipu.

A luxury travel publication has released its reader's choice top 100 resorts and hotels in the world - and New Zealand takes 2 spots.

Travel media company Conde Nast announced its list on Wednesday, voted by more than 128,000 travellers who submitted millions of ratings and tens of thousands of comments to determine the list.

It ranked New Zealand's Glenorchy resort Aro Ha at number 14, as well as giving The Lodge, Kauri Cliffs in the north number 60.

Mountain walks, yoga and food preparation are mandatory at Aro Ha.

Mountain walks, yoga and food preparation are mandatory at Aro Ha.

The wellness retreat, which opened last year, is 40 minutes drive from Queenstown. It sits on a sub-alpine terrace with picturesque views of Lake Wakatipu.

Aro Ha business manager Paula Ryan said the award was a great acknowledgement.

"It's such a well-renowned brand, so for them to acknowledge us, it's very humbling."

The lodge at Kauri Cliffs, Northland, which was ranked 60 on the Conde Nast top 100 hotels and resorts.
Courtesy of Kauri Cliffs

The lodge at Kauri Cliffs, Northland, which was ranked 60 on the Conde Nast top 100 hotels and resorts.

Being a wellness retreat, not just a hotel, makes the place different, she said.

"We've got a fantastic team. From the staff to the location, the scenery, the programming, it's all just a very unique product. "

Founders Damian Chaparro and Chris Madison spent three years creating the self-sustaining venue, built as a model of environmentally-friendly development.

But what makes this zen-like resort unique isn't the services they offer, but rather what they don't offer. 

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No alcohol, coffee, gluten, refined sugar, mobile phones, and no unnecessary outside distractions, as Steven Meachem wrote of his time there. He also found the healthy activities were compulsory - or "non-optional" as the resort's co-founder prefers.

Yoga, pilates, mountain walks, food preparation, meals - were all mandatory to get the most of the intensive detox experience.

The timber dwelling provides accommodation for a total of 32 guests at once and encourages group interaction, with five-day packages starting at $4550 per person and seven-day retreats starting at $6250.

Number 60 on the list, The Lodge, Kauri Cliffs rests near Matauri Bay, about four hours drive north of Auckland.

The luxury lodge is a 6000-acre property, with a championship 15-hole golf course boasting Pacific Ocean views, plunging cliffs and forest greenery.

It has been described as an "outstanding experience for golfers and lounge lizards alike".

CONDE NAST TOP 20 HOTELS & RESORTS READERS' CHOICE AWARDS 2015:

  1. Singita Grumeti, Serengeti, Tanzania
  2. The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga, Wyoming, United States
  3. Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat, Clanwilliam, Cederberg Mountains, Western Cape, South Africa
  4. ITC Grand Bharat (Luxury Collection)
  5. Portrait Roma, Rome, Italy
  6. Cal-a-Vie, Vista, California, United States
  7. Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
  8. Nayara Springs, Arenal, Costa Rica
  9. Shinta Mani Club, Siem Reap, Cambodia
  10. The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, Little St. Simons Island, Georgia, United States
  11. One&Only The Palm, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  12. Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, Serengeti, Tanzania
  13. C Lazy U Ranch, Granby, Colorado, United States
  14. Aro Hā Wellness Retreat, Glenorchy, South Island, New Zealand
  15. The Resort at Paws Up, Greenough, Montana, United States
  16. Hidden Pond, Kennebunkport, Maine, USA
  17. andBeyond Lodges & Camps at Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Sabi Sand, South Africa
  18. Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Evershot, Dorset, England
  19. Singita Sabi Sand, Sabi Sand, South Africa
  20. Madikwe Safari Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

 - Stuff

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