In a country known for its lavish lodges, Helena Bay stands out for both its dramatic coastal setting and no-expense-spared facilities. Russian magnate Alexander Abramov spent more than US$50 million on the property, which sits on a three-kilometer stretch of remote northern coast on New Zealand’s North Island. The Poor Knights Islands lie 20 kilometers offshore, and guests are given plenty of opportunities to explore the marine reserve by kayak, boat, or snorkeling. For those on land, whales and dolphins are a common sight from the lodge’s five villas, each named after native birds and fitted with private balconies (and binoculars), handmade European linens, mosaic-tiled bathrooms, and Molton Brown amenities. Meals are prepared by a Michelin-starred chef who relies on produce from the property’s farm and gardens, and might be enjoyed in the Main House amid antiques and objets collected from around the globe. After dinner, pick a vintage from the 1,000-bottle wine cellar, pull up a pillow beside the outdoor fire pit, and watch the stars fill the sky. (64 9/433 6006; helenabay.com; doubles from US$1,085).
This article originally appeared in the December 2016/January 2017 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“The Luxe List 2016: Helena Bay Lodge”).