In the scheme of things New Zealand’s luxury lodges are probably more similar than different — or at least, the difference between the luxury-lodge experience and just about any other kind of hospitality is so vast as to overshadow the individual personalities of the lodges. But if you look closely, there’s plenty of character there, with New Zealand’s endless variety of landscape producing lodges, like the Solitaire Lodge, that are utterly unique.
To get hung up on the décor and the furnishings would be (forgive us) to miss the forest for the chairs. What’s special about Solitaire is most certainly its location, close to the popular North Island resort town of Rotorua, but with a lake all its own: Lake Tarawera, which Solitaire overlooks from a hillside atop a peninsula, surrounded by the lake’s calm waters, with a view of the Tarawera volcano in the distance.
Like just about any New Zealand luxury lodge, Solitaire is an outdoor paradise, with a particular emphasis on the lake — and pretty much anything you can’t find at Tarawera you can find at Rotorua, less than a half hour away. As for the suites themselves, they’re modestly, sedately decorated, but thoroughly luxurious, with incredible views and indulgent spa-like baths. And the cuisine is of special note in this part of the world, with local seafood and produce as well as herbs from the lodge’s own garden, and both breakfast and dinner included in the rate.