Rotorua, New Zealand
Peppers on the Point
Possibly the best recommendation
for Peppers on the Point dates to 2008 when this lakeside resort on five acres was home for several days to England’s
Prince Andrew and his entourage. So, it is certainly qualifies for the casual,
upscale traveler seeking convenience to local sightseeing, along with a quiet place to relax and the option of gourmet dining
within a few steps of your accommodation.
The choice of Peppers by a
member of the Royal Family is in keeping with the history of why this unique New
Zealand retreat was built on the site in the first place.
In 1930 the property was selected for a private two-story villa due to its panoramic view and its location at the end
of a prominent point which juts far out into Lake Rotora
and a view of Mokoia Island. At night the lights of Rotorua city are clearly in view, while the nighttime sky reveals
an extravaganza of sparkling stars.
Today the inn is discovered
behind a gated entry at the end of a road which passes through a residential neighborhood.
Once on the property, the panoramic views of the lake suddenly surrounds visitors on three sides.
The allure of the location
was not lost on the owner when he decided to open the property as an upscale inn in 2004.
He simply built a newer mansion on the property but a little higher on the hill, and moved his family there.
The original family mansion
remains on the site with the inteior entirely updated by a leading New
Zealand designer. The exterior retains its original
charm and remains largely unchanged. Inside several of the original parlors,
the library and sitting rooms are all accessible to guests, each with their own panoramic lakeside views. Fireplaces, a timbered
staircase and dining room and a collection of antiques contribute to the décor.
Accommodations are of utmost
importance at an upscale inn, and Peppers does not disappoint. Perhaps mentioning
the rooms are “fit for royalty” makes the point.
Two private lakeside
villas are a short walk to the lodge, and seven of the eight suites have panoramic lakeside views.
Accommodations are exceptionally
generous proportions, being approximately double the space found in a normal hotel room. Each features separate sitting areas
and functional kitchens, and are individually furnished in natural colors.
All, of course, are also ensuite. Features include massage jet showers and bath spas.
The lake villas feature lake-side,
open air hot tubs on private decks.
Kitchenettes are inside each
unit and refrigerators are stocked with complimentary beverages and snacks.
Perhaps the greatest
compliment to the restaurant on the property is that it has no name and flourishes purely on an outstanding reputation for
excellent food. Also, if you like to eat where the locals go, this is it in Rotorua. However, these locals are likely more discriminating than most.
Dinners commence with a casual
gathering hosted by the innkeeper where guests meet while enjoying complimentary cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres. After a selection of fine wine from the wine cellar’s inventory of international
and New Zealand labels, a four course meal is served at a comfortable pace ensuring diners do not feel rushed. Since there is only one serving an evening, diners can enjoy the meal as long as they like.
A sample menu consists of an
appetizer of mussel cakes served with cauliflower and red pepper aioli. A popular main course is seared Akaroa Salmon served
with soft white polenta, caramelized onions, feta, candied olives and pinot jus. A gourmet dessert choice would be soft centered
pudding with roasted berries, espresso mascarpone and cinnamon candy
Choices of where to dine
include a private parlor in the mansion, outside on the patio, being seated with other guests to discuss New Zealand sightseeing and impressions, or dining on your
private guest room balcony.
Wine connoisseurs also have
the option of being served in the inn’s large wine cellar.
A cooked hot breakfast is included
with a stay. Lunch can be prepared, at extra cost. Drinks and snacks are found in each room, and a 24/7 jar of homemade cookies is always available in the
lodge breakfast area.
--An unusual amenity at Peppers
is friendly, full time innkeeper David Smail, who acts as a personal concierge. His
assistance in planning daily activities is an especially worthwhile benefit as
it allows guests to avoid the very popular tourist information center in town which is usually crowded and understaffed.
--Guests who wish to explore
the property have an unusual choice. A somewhat steep and twisting path down
to the water leads through what might be described as a holding pen for Noah if the lake begins to rise. Enclosed in a hillside pasture are two alpacas, two goats, two donkeys and two miniature horses. They all live in harmony and welcome visitors, especially those carrying leftovers from a meal in the mansion.
Further along at the end of
the path visitors find a cave thought to have been an indigenous Maori hideout, a tennis court and a private lakeside dock
perfect for lakeside relaxing or fishing.
--Peppers would be a good choice
regardless where it is located, but the quick ten-minute drive into the center of Rotorua makes the village exceedingly convenient.
--A free-standing chapel was
recently added on the property for small weddings or conferences. A visit inside
is needed to appreciate what a good architect can do to incorporate an outstanding view into a simple design.
--The inn has a workout
room and complimentary wireless internet, plus complimentary computers. Therapeutic
massages can be arranged.
-Sightseeing weary travelers
need not leave the property for an enjoyable respite.
Look before you
If a view of the lake is important,
about the only caution at Peppers is to ensure you do not mistakenly book the one room on the property without a view. Guests who do end up with the non-view room can enjoy a lakeside panorama with just
a 30-second walk..
The bottom line
-$380 to $1640 depending on:
----- season (high season is
December through March)
------conversion rate at the
-check website for promotions
Peppers on the Point
If you go:
There is plenty
of boutique shopping in small but busy Rotorua, but to miss these three activities would be a mistake.
The New Zealand
Maori Arts and Crafts Institute (Te Puia) is a not-to-be-missed attraction immersing visitors into
the Maori culture during a half day guide-led tour (general admission also available.)
Demonstrations of Maori dances (and the opportunity to participate), an authentic Maori prepared meal, and educational
talks about Maori art, history, culture and native flora and fauna are given by indigenous people whose heritage is pure and
proudly New Zealand. Their appreciation of their background and tradition, and
their eagerness to share it with visitors brings a personal dimension to a visit here most cultural attractions cannot match.
Allow half a day.
The center itself is nestled
in the picturesque Whakarewarewa geothermal valley full of 500 pools and steam vents, plus the impressive Pohutu geyser which
erupts 20 times a day. Motorized trams are available to take visitors around
the spacious grounds, which include the opportunity for a close view of the elusive kiwi bird.
firstname.lastname@example.org (address is for general inquiries)
a meticulously maintained thermal wonderland well worth a visit not far outside the center of Rotorua. Clearly marked trails wind up to, over, and past 25 points of thermal interest including
bubbling mud pots, geysers, warm streams and vividly colored, mineral laden pools of water.
However, the only way to get lost in this wonderland, which is similar to the thermal area of America’s
Yellowstone National Park,
is to take a wrong turn when the wind engulfs the trail with steam from one of the many thermal areas. Allow two hours.
is a popular local outfitter which offers a variety of adrenalin fueled, water-related activities for which New Zealand is famous, including guided trips for
as few as one person into the wilderness. A raft trip on the Kaituna River is a “must do” for
the fearless, however. After several long discussions about what to do in every
conceivable situation, and Maori prayers said out of respect to the tribe whose history is tied to the river, a guide helps
six passengers navigate through several class V rapids, and 12 less threatening stretches of bubbling current. The highlight is a heart thumping ride over the highest commercially floated waterfall in the world (27-feet),
and the thrill of living to tell about it. Allow half a day.