Sunday, 31 January 2016

The perfect base from which to explore Queenstown and Central Otago

When you throw open your curtains at the St Moritz Hotel in Queenstown, you are greeted by the most marvellous views of azure blue Lake Wakatipu and the distant mountain range of the Southern Alps. 

If you are lucky, the glorious old steamship MSS Earnslaw may be passing your window. 

But it is not just the views that make the hotel such a great base; it is the staff - a multi-national force of smiling and efficient young people from France, England, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Argentina and even a few New Zealanders.



Formerly the Grand Mercure, now the M Gallery St Moritz and soon to be re-branded the M Gallery by Sofitel St Moritz, the hotel is modelled on a European-style ski chalet, and is perched on a hill just a very short stroll from downtown Queenstown and a quick drive from the closest of vineyards; Amisfield and Chard Farm among them.

It is a boutique-style five-star property in the lodge style; there are porters to help you carry your bags and park your car; a concierge to help organise your itinerary and extremely comfortable rooms (if a little stuffy when you enter).

There are all those little five-star touches; an onsite So Spa for pampering; an excellent restaurant in Lombardi that serves everything from fine dining al a carte choices to gourmet pizzas and an adjacent bar that specialises in flights of Central Otago pinots.

The bar serves light lunches and tapas in the afternoon and some mighty cocktails. I like the nice touch of home-baked cookies in the room after check-in. 



There are just 134 rooms and suites here, and with them being spread over four floors, it feels like far less. 

Guests can choose between standards rooms with satellite TV, iPad docking stationsa, tea and coffee-making facilities, minibar, and ultra-comfortable beds, or apartment-style alpine suites with kitchenettes, large lounge and dining areas and sofa beds. There are also 27 two-bedroom apartments. If you want those views, you need to book in advance, and possibly pay a supplement. 

Like just about everything else here, it is worth it. 

St Moritz, 10-18 Brunswick Street, Queenstown, Central Otago, New Zealand. 
+64 3 442 4990. www.stmoritz.co.nz

# The writer was a guest of Central Otago Pinot Noir    

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