Julian Robertson New ZealandNew Zealand - Kauri Cliffs
There’s no lack of resorts in the world with exotic locales and pleasing perks. That’s good. But when you’re planning a vacation, those are almost table stakes. The truly exceptional resorts are the ones that can somehow make all that feel like something that’s a little harder to convey over Instagram. In a word, they make it feel just like…home.
Or, in the case of The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, home – assuming your home (and that of its owner, Julian Robertson, the famed finance titan billionaire) has 6,000 acres of land, three private beaches, jaw-dropping panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, and one of the top golf courses in the world. Oh, and it’s in the Northland, a subtropical part of New Zealand so appealing that it’s long been a destination for Kiwis (i.e., Native New Zealanders) on holiday.
The Setting. The aforementioned, and seemingly endless, panoramic views of the Pacific. This is a pretty place, even by New Zealand standards, and the property fits its surroundings gracefully. Pleasingly, it all looks particularly nice from the private porch outside your cottage. Evenings are a chance to mingle for drinks and dinner in the Lodge with the rest of the guests – along with a performance of a haka by a local Maori troupe - or you can arrange for something more intimate. Since the resort is in the countryside, you’ll probably be eating here frequently, but that’s a good thing – the food is ultra-fresh, and breakfast overlooking the ocean will wake you up, no matter how much Kiwi red you drank at dinner the night before.
The Service. Somehow people always seem to be there exactly when you need them, and out of sight when you don’t. Things work seamlessly without being stiff, and the place can almost feel like a forgotten childhood home (note: your actual childhood may vary). Plus, everything from a picnic basket for the beach, to a helicopter transfer to your next destination, is at your beck and call. And your beck and call abilities are the stuff of legend.
The Surf. Three beaches, all different. Sandy Waiaua Beach is best for swimming, but the Pink Beach is our choice for a relaxing picnic lunch and/or drink (you’d be amazed at what the right people can fit in a picnic basket…or two).
A Julian Sighting. If it's good enough for a billionaire, it must be pretty good. Julian Robertson, the Founder of Tiger Management and all around celebrity crush of anyone who has ever worked in finance, calls his portfolio of New Zealand hotels home. So go ahead, totally fangirl or fanguy on him; he mostly finds it rather flattering when he is recongized on property.
Everything Else. You’ll likely run out of vacation before you run out of things to do. You can golf (the course is rated Top 50 in the world by Golf Digest), or take a tour of the on-premises working farm, for a taste of real Kiwi culture. The staff can arrange for trips to the famous (and driveable) 90 Mile Beach, or to see the giant Kauri trees (think of them as New Zealand’s answer to redwoods). This was the first part of New Zealand to be settled by the Maori (and later by the Europeans), so you can scratch your history itch if you’re so inclined. If you want to get a good taste of the Northland’s beauty in a short amount of time, we recommend taking to the air – chartered flights can take you all the way to the tip of the North Island, where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific, then transition you to a car for some up-close sightseeing, and still have you back to the Lodge in time for pre-dinner drinks.
As we said, just like home.