Natasha Wolff is a New York City-based contributing writer for T Magazine, The New York Times, Vogue and others, and penned this article after her recent stay at The Landing.
If you’re looking to go the luxury hotel route in New Zealand’s North Island, especially Northland, you won’t be hard-pressed to find many options. If however, you are an experienced traveler searching for something more specialized and private with unparalleled yet not in-your-face service, The Landing Residences in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands offers a unique opportunity.
The property showcases a different set-up from a traditional lodge: four luxury villas to rent (which can accommodate four to 12 guests each), with a vineyard and fitness facility exclusively for guests. You can take over one Residence or the entire property for a few nights or a month – it offers tremendous possibilities and flexibility. The development is situated on Wairoa Bay and has its own jetty with private boats and beaches, home to gorgeous 360-degree views out across the Bay of Islands. The historically significant land around the property features archaeological sites, restored wetlands, regenerated native bush and bird sanctuaries- going kiwi bird-spotting at night with flashlights is a fun adventure. It’s not a standard lodge experience, but that’s just what’s great about it. “New Zealand is still relatively untouched,” says Kiwi Peter Cooper, the Executive Chairman of Cooper and Company, the outfit behind the Britomart precinct in Auckland and owner of The Landing. “Its massive coastline, moderate climate, great scenic diversity, public spaces, sophisticated urban centers, and top food and wine attract new thinkers who embrace its values.”
There is a laid-back ease and comfort that appeals to visitors, especially families and famous faces. Cooper, who frequently stays on the property with his family in the development’s eponymous Cooper Residence, has plans to expand the footprint of the stunning development with additional villas, which can be purchased and customized to one’s specifications. The development team holds clients’ hands through the process of building a home and handles all of the details of the design and construction process to make it easy to purchase a property from afar.
Not having a formal restaurant or bar is quite liberating as it gives you options. Who wants to eat at the same hotel restaurant every night? Whether you request that the staff stock your refrigerator before you arrive, do the shopping yourself or avail yourself of the private chef option in the comfort of your own Residence, there are many options to suit any type of traveler. From homemade pizzas made in an outdoor pizza oven to fresh fish caught meters away, fruits and vegetables and fantastic wine made from grapes grown on the property, there is little reason to venture out. Chef Jackie and her team will customize breakfast, lunch and dinner menus to your specifications and create wonderful meals for even the pickiest eaters.
The locally based team that looks after you makes the experience at The Landing particularly special and informative. The Guest Service Manager will organize special excursions for you, whether it’s a scenic boat trip around the islands or a helicopter tour of a nearby Maori pa (fortified village). Or if you just want to enjoy the property on your own, you’re free to take a bicycle and explore. You’re in warm, welcoming but not over-bearing hands at The Landing and that’s what makes it worth a visit.