Peppers on the Point
By Gayle Dickson
Rotorua has a reputation for excitement, adventure and cultural tourism that extends worldwide. Yet on one of my many visits to the region, I happened across a spectacular hideaway that oozed charm and elegance from every angle. It reinforced my belief that New Zealand has a propensity to surprise with every journey – no matter how often you visit a place, there’s always something new to discover.
Peppers on the Point enjoys a beautiful setting that is steeped in Maori history and offers panoramic views out to Mokoia Island, and beyond. The charming two-storied lodge sits proudly on the headland, it’s conversion from private mansion to luxurious lodge maintaining a host of original features such as the timber-panelled dining room, open fireplaces and the magnificent timber staircase.
In keeping with this subtle elegance are the décor and furnishings. Thick pile carpeting, the finest bed linens, gleaming cut crystal, sparkling silverware and elegant candelabras and chandeliers marry perfectly with more contemporary pieces. From the moment you approach along the cobbled drive, you know you are somewhere very special.
Arriving just on dusk, we were escorted into the lodge lounge where drinks were served while our bags were whisked off to our Lake Cottage Suite. I have to admit that my concentration was lapsing as our host welcomed us – my attention flitting between the gorgeous décor and the fascination of the lake view outside. Our host, David, could obviously see my fascination with the building, so we were treated to a tour of the main lodge before heading to our suite to freshen up before dinner.
The Lodge Suites are all individually decorated, are very spacious with each offering a separate lounge area and ensuite. The views varied, depending on which side of the lodge you were on, but most looked out over the lake. The main suite also has a private balcony where I could envisage a relaxing morning coffee watching the ducks waddling on the private beach below.
The Lake Villa, the owner’s residence, sits majestically above the lodge and from here you can enjoys views not only of the lake, but also of Rotorua City a short distance away. With its four bedrooms, three bathrooms, large kitchen, spacious living areas and extensive balconies, this is the perfect family getaway. Mind you, it would also make a great corporate retreat, offering privacy from other lodge guests.
Just below the owner’s residence is the Lake Villa Apartment, a two-bedroom contemporary setting that is fully self-contained. The spa bath and massage jet shower make it ideal for a busy executive needing peace and relaxation after a long-haul flight.
Our accommodation was in one of the Lake Cottage Suites, just a short walk from the main lodge. I was thrilled to spot the private open air hot tub that I intended to take full advantage of later! Night was fast settling in and there was a distinct winter chill in the air. The underfloor heating and gas fire soon took care of that.
Showered and refreshed, we headed to the lodge for pre-dinner drinks and canapés in the lounge before being shown through to the dining room. Here, rich timber paneling and the glow of a multitude of candles created an enveloping ambiance. Dinner was a veritable feast – delectable, delicious, decadent and decidedly scrumptious, matched of course by an exquisite selection of wines and followed by a handsome port. We were in heaven!
Wined and dined, we made our way back to the Suite and made the most of that hot tub, taking in the evening stars and listening to the muted strains of the local bird and wildlife settling down for the night.
After an extremely sound night’s sleep, and dining on a breakfast fit for a king, we ambled down to the private beach to walk off a few calories, greeting the miniature horses and alpaca along the way. The 2.8 hectare grounds were lush and provided much to see.
It was hard to tear ourselves away and head back to Auckland, but we eventually bade our farewells determined that this was one spot we would revist in the future. As John Keats once said, a thing of beauty is a joy forever.