2. The All-Inclusive Rate: Like many other high-end properties in this part of the world, The Spire has decided to follow the all-inclusive formula. While rooms are no bargain (rates start at NZ$1,085 based on double occupancy April-June, though there are “Stay 3 nights, pay for 2” specials during much of the year), they do include a la carte breakfast in the small lobby restaurant or your room daily, maid and daily turndown service, fresh flowers and seasonal fruit in your room daily, free non-alcoholic minibar, valet car parking, access to a nearby gym, and our all-time most-coveted hotel amenity, free WiFi so we can keep in touch even at the far end of the world.
Plus, since there are just 10 rooms, the service truly is personalized. Guests are greeted by name by the small staff, who also prepare lists of suggested activities personalized to each guest’s inclinations. In other words, you feel special.
3. The Gadgets: In addition to the free WiFi, the room was tricked out with a few other gadgets that made us feel right at home. If our home were the former lair of an awesome James Bond villain, that is. The phones were sexy, slim Bang & Olufsen numbers. Yes, they were a little hard to dial, but we felt really cool calling on them. The other gadget we couldn’t take our hands off of was the universal remote for the entertainment system, which was basically the size of a Kindle and controlled the stereo, flat-screen television, DVD player, iPod dock, cable box and CD player. We swear we could have flown a space shuttle with it too. Luckily the young lady who showed us our room also took a few minutes to walk us through how to work it.
4. The Fireplace (and other stuff): Apart from the latest technology, the room had creature comforts that made it very hard to leave. Our favorite was the stone fireplace on one wall that we used every night. And morning. And afternoon. We also loved the Eames chair and ottoman positioned for television viewing, the chaise lounge near the minibar for snacking by the sliding glass doors that led out to our private balcony with views of Lake Wakatipu, the small glass work desk near the bed where we could send emails to our friends back home so they’d be appropriately jealous, and the comfy king-size bed...all in a dramatic black-red-and-white color palette.
It was also nice to have an open closet and dressing area between the small entrance hallway and the spacious bathroom with dual vanities, L’Occitaine products, a WC, rainfall shower, and separate deep soaking tub separated from the main room by peekaboo shutters (which we closed!).
5. The Bar: Back of the ground floor, just adjacent to the lobby the hotel’s bar is called No. 5 Church Lane, and is pretty much the hippest spot in town as far as we could tell, with a very contemporary cocktail menu of both classic drinks and seasonal libations made using ingredients from the local markets and according to the barmen’s whims that evening. It seemed like all Queenstown's hipsters were here at night...and they were fun to drink with. In the back, there’s a small Vietnamese-inspired restaurant as well.
The only thing we didn’t love? Having to leave after two nights! But at least it was to head to the nearby wineries of Central Otago where we could drown our sorrows in some Pinot Noir.
Full disclosure: Eric Rosen stayed at The Spire for two nights as a guest of Tourism New Zealand, but all opinions expressed are entirely his own.