New Zealand's top architectural getaways - Spaces NZ
New Zealand's top architectural getaways

New Zealand's top architectural getaways

While it may be getting colder and darker out there, autumn is the perfect season to escape the city for a getaway. Just in time for the Easter break, we round up three unique architectural destinations to head to this (or any) long weekend...

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

It’s undoubtedly getting colder and darker out there, and even the lure of the final season of Game of Thrones can’t take away the fact that summer is well and truly over. But, while balmy days spent next to the beach are starting to feel like a distant dream, winter hasn’t completely arrived just yet.

Autumn is the perfect season to escape the city and head out of town on a long weekend getaway. We’ve taken away the hard work of choosing a holiday spot and scoured thousands of projects on ArchiPro to present our top three architectural destinations where you can watch the leaves turn gold in comfort.

White Hart Hotel by Bonnifait + Giesen

If you’ve ever fancied eating, drinking and shopping inside a completely refreshed heritage icon, look no further than the historic White Hart Hotel, located in the heart of arty New Plymouth. Originally built in 1886, the building was close to falling apart and was threatened with demolition before being salvaged and lovingly restored to its former glory by developers and architects William Giesen and Cecile Bonnifait.

The now-vibrant hotel is conveniently located smack-bang in the centre of the town’s cultural precinct, almost hovering over the undulating, shimmering Len Lye Centre, part of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. White Hart’s new façade is made from timber and white corrugated polycarbonate sheeting, which creates a light-filled interior space.

If the weather is bad, you won’t have to go far, as the precinct includes an eatery, café, cocktail bar and covered courtyard with a roaring fireplace. And, to make the most of a long Easter weekend in beautiful New Plymouth, you can sleep in the comfortable King and Queen hotel, just adjacent to the White Hart.

White Hart Hotel by Bonnifait + Giesen.

Camp Glenorchy by Mason & Wales

Head to the utmost western end of famed Lake Wakatipu, far from the tourist-filled crowds of Queenstown, and you’ll find this lakeside eco-lodge and campground nestled near the base of the majestic Richardson and Humboldt mountains.

Designed to be a world-class demonstration of sustainability, the highly innovative Camp Glenorchy is New Zealand’s first net zero energy retreat and “offers visitors a unique experience to holiday in harmony with nature.”

The cluster of cabins, bunkrooms, bunk huts and powered campsites have been all designed with healthy, green, mostly-recycled construction materials and the retreat uses up to 50 per cent less energy and water than similar facilities. Visitors can even charge electric cars using energy generated in the camp’s solar garden.

It’s the perfect spot to enjoy the spectacular South Island scenery in affordable luxury while being an environmentally-responsible citizen.

Camp Glenorchy by Mason & Wales.

Seascape Retreat by Patterson Associates

If your Easter getaway is going to be of a more romantic nature, consider heading to Seascape Retreat, set into a rock escarpment overlooking a secluded bay on Banks Peninsula, under two hours’ drive from central Christchurch.

This is no quaint cottage, but instead an ultra-modern, open-plan ‘shelter’ that consists of only three rooms. Seascape is built using local materials, including rock quarried near the site, and features a turf roof and in-situ poured concrete flooring. A sunken spa provides the perfect outdoor spot to enjoy a glass of bubbles.

Inside, a king-size bed set upon a dais allows unobstructed views out over the bay through the floor-to-ceiling windows, while the large living room with hanging fireplace is perfectly placed for cosying up and enjoying the changing tides and skies outside.

Seascape Retreat is accessed by helicopter or by a 40-minute transfer in a 4WD across clifftop farm tracks, so although this destination is remote, it’s absolutely worth it for pure luxury in such a private, unique place.

Seascape Retreat by Patterson Associates.
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