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As soon as I opened the car door Ridge, a 52 kilo huntway sheep herding dog and the family pet, was by my side wagging his tail. The 15 month old charmed me instantly. There was something endearing about his unguarded stance and his eager gaze. I had to be careful because without meaning to he could knock me down in an attempt to play. I often saw him sitting on the grass outside my room or in the garden by the dining room. One morning when I climbed up the hill behind the lodge he found me on my way back.
From the outside Silverpine looked like someone’s house. Inside it did too, and that was part of what I liked about the family built and owned property, its warm and intimate ambiance. The architectural style was pleasing with high ceilings and generous art filled common areas. My guestroom, while appointed for paid stays, was cozy. Wood and glass played off each other well in a sort of yin and yang. Soft sunlight filtered into the building and while it was hot outdoors indoors was cool and comfortable. Personal items in the library, including a small display of family heirlooms and hunting trophies, were a reminder it was someone’s home. The lack of some features (such as printed instructions) ubiquitous elsewhere as much as the existence of creature comforts was noteworthy.
Mike and Susan Yates, the owners, lived onsite in a private wing connected to the rest of the building via the dining room. Mike managed the property and Susan prepared breakfast and dinner. They were understated in their hosting style, authentic is the word that comes to mind. WiFi access was limited to the dining room by design. Like in a private home there were no numbers on the guestroom doors. There were no instructions or signage in my room or in the common areas. I felt almost like I was staying at the property of reclusive affluent friends of friends rather than at a lodge.
Thoughtful touches were evident throughout the house from the soft animal skin atop a pebble filled window side tub, dining room facing garden, and gourmet dark chocolate in my room to the cushy armchairs and sofas in the living room. And, often my eyes were drawn to the lake views.
Silverlodge was among my favorite properties on that trip for its splendid location with fantastic lake views, elegant design, tasty and well presented meals and low key hospitality. I would recommend it to friends who love nature, value serenity and gourmet dining, and appreciate being offline in their room.
Class of Accommodation Personalized luxury hosted retreat
Connectivity There was only WiFi in the dining room. Per the owner a speed test indicated download 20.34 Mbps (megabits per second); upload 12.35 Mbps. The only cellular coverage was WhatsApp.
General Manager Mike Yates
Handicapped Access One of the guestrooms had a bathroom with wheelchair access.
Languages In addition to English the owners were able to welcome guests in French.
Length of Stay Two nights
Location It was 100 kilometers from the property south to Queenstown.
Owned and Managed Mike and Susan Yates
Pets Allowed No, wild deer and sheep grazed nearby.
Size The single story property within 70 acres housed four guestrooms and employed three.
Year Opened-Renovated The property opened to the public as full service lodge in 2006. It was new looking. Everything in my room and the common areas appeared to be in working order (although there was only tepid water in my bathroom).
Room I stayed in Room 3, a 270 square foot room with a small covered terrace facing the lawn and beyond it Lake Hawea. It was furnished with a comfortable Superking bed, side tables, wardrobe, console writing desk, armchair, ottoman, window seat with sheepskin. Oversize spotless windows and French doors that opened to the terrace and lawn made it to easy to look out. As soon as dawn appeared I opened the curtains to enjoy the sunrise, leaving them open all day. Outside there were wooden steamer chairs and tables. They were adjacent to my neighbors patio furniture. So much so that as soon as I exited my room I encountered a couple on loungers, wine glasses and books in hand. They were polite, charming and considerate of my privacy. Noticing that they too opened their curtains before sunrise I waited until after breakfast to walk on the lawn past their room. The following afternoon new far less pleasant guests were assigned to that same room.
I especially liked the window side sheepskin spot. It was like being on the terrace and soaking in the scenery while remaining indoors. I kept meaning to sit at my patio table with a glass of wine, looking toward the horizon and forgetting the clock. It was the kind of place that beckoned appreciation and contemplation. Somehow my time at Silverpine flew by before I did. Should there be a next visit I hope to have at least one day to just relax at the property.
Facilities There was a living room, dining room and library.
Date of Review February 2019
Photos and Article by Elena del Valle
Would You Stay There Again? Yes