LEISURE Executive De-Stress – Management’s 15 great holiday getaways

Whatever their holiday of choice, for most managers it’s wellearned break, one they’ve struggled to find time for. Management magazine looks at 15 great destinations to take the executive body and mind far from the office and return them refreshed and renewed.

New Zealand – Rotorua
An oldie but goody – smelly Rotorua is still the best playground in the North Island, with its mix of natural wonders and manmade pleasures. When you’ve tired of geothermal attractions, try the gondola, whose recent cable snapping incident has made it more of an adventure tourism option than the owners ever intended, or the Zorb (roll down hill inside giant plastic ball). Yes, Rotorua is full of tourists, but for good reason – and careful selection of accommodation will keep you far from the madding crowds.

Getting there: Drive 2.5 hours from Auckland, five hours from Wellington. Or fly to Rotorua Airport.

Where to stay: Treetops Lodge offers luxury accommodation integrated into 2500-acre eco park. The style is rustic elegant, and it’s the only lodge of this standard to welcome children. Activities include nature walks, trout fishing, mountain bikes, archery and horse trekking. Tranquil, inspirational – just the place for jaded executive to slough off the stresses of the working year and be imbued with vision for the future.

Cost: Winter rate $760pp per night, including breakfast, cocktails and dinner. $300 per child per night.

New Zealand – Queenstown
The South Island has playground too. Queenstown is popular year-round – “traditional” activities such as jet-boating, skiing and bungy-jumping are complemented by more sedate pastimes such as sampling the output of the wineries springing up around the region. Stay in town for the buzz of people having good time, or head out to more rural spot to get away from it all.

Getting there: Fly from Auckland, or drive five hours from Christchurch.

Where to stay: In town, the five-room Eichardt’s Private Hotel on the lakefront is the luxury option. But it’s not suitable for children – for more family-friendly experience in town, try the Heritage Queenstown, schist stone building that claims an “alpine lodge” feel.
Out of town, try Millbrook Resort. Not just for golfers, Millbrook helps its guests along the road to self-improvement via tennis, health spa and bicycles. Accommodation is in the Village Inn and in villas and cottages. regular shuttle service to Queenstown provides get-out clause, should the rural relaxation prove too strenuous.

Cost: Eichardt’s hotel – $1250 per night double including breakfast. Heritage Queenstown – from $169 per night including breakfast. Winter packages at Millbrook start at $2399 for family of four for five nights, including golf and spa treatments. couple’s weekend at Millbrook is $449 per person including golf, spa and dinner.

New Zealand – Northland
Regular viewers of television weather reports will have noticed that the highest temperatures in our land are often attributed to Northland. With the glorious Bay of Islands, beautiful harbours and deserted beaches, it’s great getaway spot.

Getting there: Drive anywhere between two and five hours north of Auckland. Fly to Whangarei or Kerikeri.

Where to stay: Kauri Cliffs is golf lodge near Kerikeri offering luxury accommodation and top golf course in spectacular setting. For low-key self-catering option, try the individually designed Milestone Cottages at Mangawhai Heads.

Cost: Kauri Cliffs – $990 per person per night for double room, including dinner and breakfast. Milestone Cottages – $140-$250 per night.

United States – Hawaii
Reductions in airline flights make it hard to get in and out of Hawaii in less than week. But it’s our nearest whiff of the US and if you’re hankering for American chain stores to go with your golden beaches, Hawaii is the place.

Stay on the main island of Oahu and enjoy the beaches of Waikiki, or head to Maui, 20-minute flight from Honolulu, to escape the crowds. On Maui, there’s not much more to do than learn the ukulele, or, for the incorrigibly active, snorkel in clear blue seas.

Getting there: Fly Air NZ direct to Honolulu, or take the slow road on Air Pacific or Polynesian Airlines. Aloha Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines fly from Honolulu to Maui every half hour.

Where to stay: The newly restored Hotel Hana Maui not only offers free ukulele lessons, but also superb accommodation in individual bungalows and cottages. Or try the 19-room Plantation Inn Bed & Breakfast in historic Lahaina Town, built in turn-of-the-century style.

Cost: Prices at the Hana Maui start at US$295 double for Garden Junior Suite and go much, much higher. Children stay free. The Plantation Inn starts at US$157 double, including breakfast.

Cook Islands – Aitutaki
The Cook Islands don’t give quite the same impression as Fiji of existing solely to ensure that tourists have wonderful time. The tropical experience is tempered by slightly more down to earth attitude. But Aitutaki is hard to beat for untouched beauty – it’s dream South Pacific Island.

Getting there: Fly Air NZ to Rarotonga. Air Rarotonga makes the 50-minute trip from Rarotonga to Aitutaki three times day, except Sundays.

Where to stay: The Aitutaki Pearl Beach Resort has overwater bungalows and offers swimming in all tides, which can’t be taken for granted in the Cook islands. Bungalows are air-conditioned. Free activities include snorkelling, kayaks, windsurfing, bicycling. Deep sea fishing and diving are also available.

Cost: $595 per night for deluxe garden bungalow, including breakfast. Children under 12 stay free. Meal plan $115 per day.

Tahiti – Bora Bora
A great excuse to pull the kids out of school (to practise their French). Bora Bora is truly picture postcard material – crystal turquoise waters, white sand and dramatic mountain scenery inland.

Getting there: Fly Air Tahiti Nui, Qantas or Air NZ to Papeete. Flights from Papeete to Bora Bora on Air Tahiti Nui take 45 minutes.

Where to stay: The five-star Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort has 60 bungalows, two swimming pools and the usual array of water sports. Owned by the same company, the three-star Bora Bora Eden Beach Resort is more affordable alternative. The two-year-old hotel might have only one swimming pool, but with just 15 bungalows the atmosphere is almost as exclusive as its five-star cousin. Both resorts are on private island 10 minutes from the township of Vaitape.

Cost: Pearl Beach Resort – from NZ$408 per person per night. Eden Beach from NZ$218 per person per night. Children under 12 stay free in both resorts.

Australia – Lizard Island
Australia is “huge destination” for executive holidays right now, says Jo-Anne Khor at Synergi Travel. She attributes that, at least in part, to the relatively high availability of air points seats to Australia – whereas those wanting Fijian holiday on air points should book at least six months ahead, she warns.

On the Great Barrier Reef, the recently overhauled Lizard Island resort boasts 24 sandy beaches – not bad given that the resort has only 40 rooms. Accommodation is in uncluttered but luxurious rooms, suites and villas. Tennis, gymnasium, catamarans, windsurfers and motorised dinghies are included in the free activities, while the Pavilion Spa provides suitable degree of pampering. No children under 10.

Getting there: One-hour flight from Cairns to Lizard Island.

Cost: Five nights including all meals and spa treatment, A$3990 per person.

Australia – Hunter Valley
The Hunter Valley’s proximity to Sydney makes it the perfect add-on to business trip. The main appeal of the area is its vineyards, but it’s also place where antique is v

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