Written by John Williams
If you’re into architecture and design and are after something different for that special birthday or anniversary… take a look at this selection of architectural getaways; they’ll blow your mind and, in some cases, your budget, too!
Otaha Beach, Bay of Islands
Otaha Beachfront Lodge is a wonderful example of contemporary New Zealand design, set in a beautiful beachside location, and among one of the country’s richest historical environments.
Built from local timber, the design of this property is well considered, from the front door through to the wrap-around decks. And with views framed by floor-to-ceiling windows, there’s no mistaking that you are in the middle of the Bay of Islands.
Interior furnishings from Simon James and other internationally renowned designers create a clean, spacious feel and, barely a minute’s walk to the beach, it’s the perfect destination for a family getaway.
P: 03 450 0855
The Lookout, Tairua
As you walk down the concrete steps to the aptly named ‘Lookout’, you feel like you’re stepping off the edge of the world. Clinging to the side of a cliff like a limpet, this sleek, architecturally designed holiday home by Jessop Architects is the perfect spot for watching the world go by. It’s all about the view, and it’s a phenomenal view. Simply arranged along one contour of the bluff, the single pavilion comprises open-plan living, dining and kitchen, plus two bedrooms – all of which enjoy views. The floor-to-ceiling glass doors slide away, bringing the outdoors in, and accentuating the property’s cliff-top position.
Once you’re there, you won’t 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.
https://www.bachcare.co.nz - search: The Lookout
The Tent House, Waiheke Island
This unique little cabin on Waiheke would make a wonderful romantic weekend getaway for two. 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, which are set among lush native bush. Centrally located, the bach is perfectly positioned for exploring vineyards, and is only a five-minute drive from Palm Beach.
The Tent House was shortlisted for the NZ HOME of the Year 2015, and featured in Elle Decor Italy magazine.
Taieri Mouth Crib, Dunedin
Designed by local Dunedin architects Mason & Wales and named supreme winner of NZ Wood’s Timber Design Awards 2014, you could call this modern little gem home for the princely sum of just over $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 30 minutes from Dunedin, surrounded by DIY fishing shacks, this structure takes the Kiwi bach to a new level. Its simple, gabled form and natural materials are honest 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!"
https://www.bookabach.co.nz - search: Taieri Mouth
Seascape at Annandale, Akaroa
“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 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 vehicle across the cliff-top farm tracks, this awe-inspiring, ultra-modern retreat provides a truly romantic experience. Inside, a king-size bed sits on 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.
P: 03 304 6841
The Lodge at The Hills, Arrowtown
The Lodge at The Hills is a sprawling, contemporary property, designed by renowned Auckland architects Crosson Clarke Carnachan. Located in the extensive grounds of Michael Hill’s exclusive private golf course just outside Arrowtown, this property sits at the pinnacle of luxury architectural experiences.
For your $38,000 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 a 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.
P: 03 450 0855
The Landing, Bay of Islands
The Landing is owned by Britomart developer and Northland native Peter Cooper, who bought this magical piece of land looking out over the Bay of Islands in 1999. Since then, he has had hands-on involvement in creating extensive wetlands, re-establishing native bush and preserving archaeological and historical sites, including the development of Rangihoua Heritage Park.
Within the grounds of The Landing are four exquisite homes, designed by Cheshire Architects, each with its own special character and outlook, and each available for discerning guests to enjoy. The décor complements the architecture, with modern furnishings carefully chosen to match each residence perfectly. And for extra bragging rights, this is where former US President Barack Obama opted to stay during his visit to New Zealand last year. Stunning.
P: 09 300 3685
Elephant Hill, Hawke’s Bay
The vision for the owners of Elephant Hill was simple: to create a world-class winery, restaurant and owners’ lodge of exceptional technical and artistic calibre, amid the vines. The architect tasked with turning this vision into reality was John Blair, who also designed the nearby Craggy Range winery.
Best described as a contemporary courtyard villa, this private lodge is clad in aged copper, giving it a greeny-blue hue, and it is completely surrounded by vines. The interiors are unashamedly modern and display selected pieces from the owner’s own global art collection.
Originally designed exclusively for the pleasure of the winery’s owners and their guests, Elephant Hill Lodge is now available for you to enjoy – and it’s certainly worth the experience.
P: 06 873 0400
Te Kahu, Wanaka
Just a 25-minute drive from Wanaka, Te Kahu sits in 50 acres of tussock and natural bush, serenely blending in with its spectacular setting, and providing the perfect getaway in winter or summer.
Clad inside and out in slabs of geometric cedar, this award-winning ‘Home of the Year’ by Stevens Lawson Architects envelops you in cutting-edge luxury, while embracing the magnificence of its lake-edge location.
Featuring a beautiful living area with open fire, a large gourmet kitchen and a media room – all with stunning views out over the lake – this home sleeps up to eight and has beautifully designed schist, tile and cedar ensuite bathrooms.
To top it off, this property also displays a stunning collection of fine New Zealand art and an eclectic mix of interesting objects and furniture from around the world.
P: 03 450 0855