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A problem with our vehicle delayed my arrival into the evening. Since the owners lived off property it meant they had to remain at the lodge past the dinner service to wait for me. Despite the inconvenience they welcomed me with a cheerful demeanor and made me feel at home. It was a promising start. After a long day of travel, some of it uncertain and frustrating, arriving at the spotless and well appointed lodge was soothing and reassuring, significantly better than I had anticipated. Their attitude remained warm and accommodating throughout my stay. Thanks to their authentic hospitality and enthusiasm, and the lodge’s luxury amenities and intimate ambiance it was one of my favorite places on the trip.
The lodge’s architectural design and positioning meant that there were lake and mountain vistas from nearly every corner, including my room and my bathroom as well as the library and dining room in the common areas. There was more to the property that pretty views. In my few hours of down time I appreciated the many details not the least of which was the comfort and pleasant temperature of my room. Despite the outdoor chill at night I was toasty and during the heat of the day the indoor temperature remained cool. The serenity, day furniture and extras, including a working fireplace and flowers, made me want to linger to soak in the green and blue scenery beyond the oversize windows. The library too seemed an ideal place to relax or lounge away rainy day hours.
On the second night of my stay the owners, at the request of my tour guide, surprised me with delicious fresh crayfish served at the cocktail hour. Procuring it had been expensive and required special effort. The couple’s understated and generous gesture stood out in my mind although none of the guests made any remarks. I appreciated that Brad prepared meals from scratch using as many locally sourced products as possible.
I traveled a long way to Cabot Lodge to visit the Fjordland National Park. The plan was to embark on an extended helicopter ride to see as much as possible during my one day there. But in the park Mother Nature was cloaked in showers with gusty winds, causing the ride to be delayed multiple times. What I saw on the bumpy flight before it was cut short was majestic. I left longing to spend more days at Cabot Lodge and revisit the park. Should the opportunity present itself I would love to return. A favorite, I will recommend the family owned lodge to friends who appreciate customer centered boutique properties in an ecotourism destination.
Class of Accommodation Experiential Lodge
Connectivity The property had complimentary unlimited WiFi in all rooms and common areas.
Handicapped Access No, there were stairs and grass covered common areas.
Length of Stay Two nights
Location Invercargill Airport was 142 kilometers or about one hour and 45 minutes from the property. Queenstown Airport was 163 kilometers or two hours from the property.
Owned and Managed Breidi and Brad Alexander owned and managed the lodge. Breidi’s parents, Cam and Wendy McDonald, owned Cathedral Peaks Station, the farm on which the lodge is located.
Year opened/renovated 2018
The Lodge was built in 1998 as a private home. The new owners renovated it in 2018 before opening it to guests. The structure of the property remained the same, but the furnishings and upholstery had been updated, including fresh carpets, drapes and cabinetry.
Pets Allowed No
Size The two story property had four guestrooms, including a two-bedroom suite, which could accommodate four persons. The interior space of the lodge was approximately 524 square meters (5,641 square feet) under roof. The lodge was within the 2,000 acre Cathedral Peaks Station estate comprised of farmland and several pine forest plantations. There were three staff at the lodge and three staff on Cathedral Peaks Station.
In the library there were leather couches, day beds in direct line of the sun, and velvet lounge chairs in front of the fireplace. The owners selected the color scheme of “forest greens, lake blues, and tussock yellows to reflect the surroundings.”
They commissioned New Zealand artist Peter Beadle to paint a number of artworks of Fjordland. The artworks were in several rooms, including in the living and dining rooms, Pomona Suite and Cathedral Peaks Suite. There were also maps of the first recorded drawings of New Zealand, limited edition prints depicting indigenous culture and early Maori settlements.
Room I stayed in the smallest accommodations, the Pomona Deluxe Suite, a 41 square meter (approximately 441 square feet) room. It was named after its mountain outlook Pomona Island. Declared pest and predator free, it is one of the largest islands on Lake Manapouri. Kiwis had been released onto the island. The room was furnished for comfort and to take maximum advantage of the view. A large bed took up the central space across from the fireplace. There was a desk and chair next to the entrance, an armchair in one corner and a lounge space in opposite corner adjacent to the window. A walk in closet offered drawer and hanging space as well as an electronic safe, mini bar and hot beverage service.
Property tours and beehive experiences were included in the room rate. A beehive experience was not on offer during my stay. In the evenings there were complimentary drinks and snacks. In the morning Brad prepared a complimentary cooked and continental breakfast, including eggs, bacon, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, or blueberry pancakes. There was a small buffet with bircher muesli, fresh fruit, yogurt and nuts. In the rooms there were smart TVs connected to Netflix.
Facilities There was a library and a dining room with an adjacent open kitchen.
The lodge is within a working 2,000 acre farm with 4,500 sheep, 2,000 deer, 500 cattle and 75 beehives (as well as a miniature pony and three pet lambs). On request the owners provided a golf car visit of the estate for a ground level view of a New Zealand farming experience. Thanks to its location bordering the Fiordland National Park (a World Heritage Park) guests could access a private jetty on the Waiau River overlooking the park. Three of New Zealand’s designated Great Walks and some 50 other hikes as well as Doubtful Sound, Milford Sound, Lake Manapouri and Lake Te Anau are near the lodge.
In an effort to be net carbon zero, the owners undertook considerable tree planting on the property to offset their activities. The Te Anau-Manapouri Airport on the boundary of the property (minutes from the lodge) could accommodate small aircraft and private jets.
Date of Review February 2019
Photos and Article by
Service The owners were the only staff I met. They were friendly, well informed, helpful and welcoming. Everything was new looking, odor free and in working order.
Would You Stay There Again? Yes
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