Catriona shows us the sexiest 5-star retreat that New Zealand has on offer. This place screams romance!
New Zealand enjoys much physical beauty, but The Bay of Islands in the north of the north island is particularly stunning. Just 240km from the centre of Auckland it is rich in history and is considered the cradle of Polynesian and European settlement in New Zealand. Its perfect islands, bays and coves make it popular for sailing, cruising, deep sea and game fishing as well as dolphin and whale watching. Also available are sea kayaking, para sailing, water skiing, scuba diving and snorkelling.
It is the country's finest maritime park with 144 islands, secluded bays, an abundance of marine life and absolutely magnificent scenery, epitomising clean, green New Zealand. For holiday makers it is a haven uncrowded sub-tropical sandy beaches, native forests, sea activities and a good base for exploring other Northland destinations. Cape Reinga on the very tip of the north island is where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean crash together and is a must-see.
Such beauty deserves matching accommodation and Eagles Nest certainly fills the bill.
Daniel Biskind, an American developer, and his wife Sandra, an Australian, met in Auckland and were married in 1999. On a visit to the Bay of Islands to buy art for their home, they saw Eagles Nest, bought it, refurbished it and purchased some adjoining land giving them the luxury of space and privacy.
There are now four homes, each with its own personality, named Sacred Space, First Light Temple, The Eyrie and Eagles Spirit, all a short walk from one another but absolutely private. As the names suggest, the ambience is calming and tranquil, not to mention romantic! Bio-harmonic design has been used, reflecting the philosophical and spiritual beliefs of the owners.
Sacred Space is the heart of Eagles Nest. Its three suites, all with ensuite, have artwork and antique furnishings which have been carefully selected. The large, two-storey glass-roofed living area transforms gracefully from relaxed living to formal dining, and a night it can become your own movie theatre with a three metre retractable screen.
The Kingfisher Suite takes up the entire upstairs and has four exposures, all with wonderful views. It has a small bed-sitting room adjacent to another private bathroom, an open-plan gourmet kitchen adjoining the dining and lounge areas, all opening onto decks and living areas. There is a pool and spa, as well as another full bathroom and outdoor shower adjoining the sauna.
First Light Temple seems to grow out of the hillside. It overlooks the pool, land and seascapes and is an idyllic retreat, with a clever mix of elegance and simplicity. Fully air conditioned, it has a floor to ceiling glass shower and skylight over the bed. The main floor has indoor and outdoor fireplaces and walls of glass bifold doors opening to a balcony on three sides. It has a superb gourmet kitchen, another full bathroom and outdoor shower.
The Eyrie and Eagle Spirit are new additions. Each has three bedrooms with ensuite, open plan living/dining rooms with fireplaces and designed kitchen, opening onto large sunset decks overlooking the Bay. Both homes have horizon edge pools and the clever use of palms, stone statues and fairytale night lighting create a feeling rarely experienced.
Small children are welcome and baby-sitters can be arranged if parents want a romantic dinner at Kamakura, their waterfront restaurant in Russell, just two minutes away. Guests may also be catered in their villas on request. The owners follow the Zone diet and are passionate about good food and wines. Their chef follows the fresh, wholesome philosophy of Zone and his creations are mouthwatering.