EXECUTIVE LEISURE Executive Retreats – Management’s 10 great winter hideaways

Stressed out, too busy to take break? The more complex and pressured manager’s life becomes, the more critical role holidays play in maintaining physical and mental wellbeing. So give yourself break this winter and try out one of these superior resorts in some of the most beautiful spots in the South Island – or little further afield in the South Pacific if you feel the need for some sun and sand therapy.
This following list of exclusive resorts was compiled with the assistance of June Gordon-Dill, Destinations of Distinction. Gordon-Dill’s focus is on finding, promoting and selling distinctive venues available to the discerning traveller.

New Zealand
New Zealand is developing an international reputation for top quality resort hideaways, several of which have been lauded in that ultimate guide to luxury travel, Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report. Rather than heading offshore, why not sample some of what many international visitors are finding so impressive on your doorstep?

Marlborough Sounds
The special feature of the Sounds is that their natural beauty remains relatively unexploited. Although popular playground for boaties, fishermen, hikers and eco-tourists, the vastness of the land and seascapes still offers sense of remoteness and isolation. Marlborough is arguably New Zealand’s finest wine-growing country and the region caters well for both local and international visitors, with wide range of outdoor activities.
Where to stay: Bay of Many Coves Resort luxury retreat capitalises on the region’s reputation for unspoilt beauty, creating restful environment nested in the bush-clad hills on the inner reaches of Queen Charlotte Sound. All apartments are on the water’s edge and enjoy uninterrupted sea views. This is just the place to leave the world behind, relax and appreciate the natural wonders. For the more energetic, activities include bush walks, kayaking, heli-fishing, eco-cruising and personalised wine tours.
Getting there: Fly direct to Picton or take one of the ferry services (approximately three hours) from Wellington. Access to the resort is by half-hour boat cruise from Picton – there is no road into the resort.
Cost: Winter rate from $220 incl GST for two people per night. Packaged extras include water transport Picton to Resort, $60 return; three course dinner plus glass of bubbly on arrival, $70 per person.

This tourist mecca is year-round playground but particularly attractive to skiers, with several fields within 35 minutes of the town and plenty of après-ski activity – and all set in stunningly beautiful alpine environment. For those wanting more seclusion there are number of luxury retreats within easy driving distance of Queenstown.
Where to stay: Blanket Bay Lodge on the shores of Lake Wakatipu has received many accolades since opening in December 1999, taking second place in Harper’s Top 20 International Resort Hideaways for two years in row. International visitors come for the peace, solitude, and some of New Zealand’s finest scenery and action experiences. The 12-room lodge was built in the grand alpine style and finished with New Zealand timber and stone. Activities include fishing, hiking, heli-skiing, jet boating, horse riding and mountain biking.
Getting there: Fly direct to Queenstown or drive seven hours from Christchurch. The lodge is 35-minute picturesque drive from Queenstown.
Cost: From $1190 + GST for two people per night until September 2004, and from $1290 from October. The room rate includes breakfast, cocktails and dinner, use of all sports equipment and facilities and the self-service bar.

Canterbury High Country
The Canterbury region is the largest of New Zealand’s 13 regions and offers huge diversity of attractions from skiing to whale watching. The high country, extending from the rolling inland hills to the spectacular Southern Alps, provides some of New Zealand’s most majestic scenery. There are eight skifields within couple of hours drive of Christchurch or Hanmer Springs alpine spa resort provides relaxing winter warmer.
Where to stay: Grasmere Lodge is tucked away in the heart of the Alps, approximately 90 minutes drive from Christchurch. The historic homestead on the working sheep station has been extended into haven for those seeking peace and pampering with the option of vast range of outdoor activities on its doorstep. Grasmere is renowned for the fine New Zealand cuisine and relaxed hospitality that earned it Harper’s Hide-away report Grand Award in 1998 and several other tourism awards since.
Getting there: Christchurch is the gateway to the Southern Alps. Drive inland or take the TranzAlpine Express, said to be one of the six best train excursions in the world.
Cost: From $600 + GST for two people per night.


Tropical North Queensland
The region boasts two world heritage listed attractions, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest and provides easy access to white beaches, reef tours, snorkelling and diving as well as inland attractions in the rainforests and historic outback towns. The winter or ‘dry’ season with warm temperatures, sunshine and low rainfall and humidity begins in May and ends in October.
Where to stay: Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas is five-star luxury beachfront oasis situated directly on Four Mile Beach nestled between the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. It is set in 130 hectares of tropical landscaped gardens, has championship 18-hole golf course and five acres of swimmable saltwater lagoons. The resort, included in Conde Nast Traveler’s 2002 Gold List, has number of meeting rooms and does target the conference and incentive markets, but equally provides great setting for reviving winter getaway.
Hayman on the Great Barrier Reef has won Australian Tourism’s award for best luxury accommodation for three years in row, 2000-2003, and is member of prestigious grouping, The Leading Hotels of the World. The private island resort has 244 rooms, suites, penthouses and one villa, and there is children’s activities centre.
Getting there: Port Douglas, in the centre of the region, is one hour’s drive north of Cairns International Airport.
Cost: From A$619 for two people per night including buffet breakfast at Sheraton Mirage, and from A$620 per room per night at Hayman.

The Cooks are still largely unspoiled by tourism. They offer rare opportunity to holiday in tropical paradise, minus the high-rises and usual paraphernalia of tourist meccas. The entire main island of Rarotonga is only 32 kilometres in circumference and getting around is easy.
Where to stay: The 10 Takitumu Villas are Rarotonga’s newest accommodation targeting travellers seeking romantic and peaceful hideaway. Takitumu has no signage to ensure privacy. The Villas are located on the Titikaveka lagoon and white sand beach on the quiet, south side of Rarotonga Island. The lagoon is protected by living coral barrier reef providing safe swimming and snorkelling in the crystal clear waters and haven for tropical fish. The villas are self-catering (a nearby village supplies foodstuffs) but there are 25 restaurants and cafés within 20 minutes – three within strolling distance. chef can provide in-villa dining. For those wanting something more active than lolling about with good book or floating in the lagoon, there is tennis, golf, scuba diving or kayaking.
Getting there: Fly Air New Zealand to Rarotonga. Takitumu drivers meet all arrivals.
Cost: From $395 (incl taxes) for two people per night.

Fiji is so easy for New Zealanders – for busy executives or corporate couples wanting to make every minute of winter getaway count, they can leave home in the morning and be in sarong or shorts on the beach by lunchtime. And there are few holidays as relaxing – there is little pressure to leave your beach lounger for anything other than another leisurely dip or meal. For those wanting somewhere more remote, there are some stu

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