By Matt Leedham @worldofleedham12 Jul 2018The award-winning Heritage Queenstown has always set the standard for South Island hospitality. I took my family for a visit on a recent ski break to experience it first-hand for ourselves. Queenstown is a busy spot all year round these days, with the last 12 months alone seeing 1.89 million travellers pass through the airport. So while the picture postcard lakeside town is now the cool place to be, it can also be a tad hectic when it comes to finding some ‘quiet’ time amongst all of the high altitude excitement that the Central Otago playground tends to bring out in people. The iconic Heritage Queenstown may just be the basecamp answer for travellers of all whims and desires who are heading to the South Island’s mecca for some adventure and 100% pure relaxation. Overlooking stunning Lake Wakatipu on Fernhill, this 175 room architecturally timeless beauty is handcrafted in local schist river stone and cedar and will make you feel as though the hills are alive with the sound of music in any room. A key feature is the hotel’s close proximity to all of the Queenstown action (literally just a 3-minute drive), yet comfortable distance to exclusively cocoon you and yours away from the party zones of town in a European ski styled lodge. It’s like being in the French Alps, only much closer, more affordable and far friendlier. Did I really say that? Yes, yes I did. FIRST IMPRESSIONS The Mackenzie bar and Restaurant Walking in from the sharp mountain air, the alpine character of the lodge was an instant warm welcome that was mirrored by the relaxed nature of the efficient, friendly staff on reception. Excited to be in Queenstown, our smiles were beaming, and after a speedy check-in, we were up to our room in no time with our luggage following on closely behind. There’s a free secure car park under the building for guests which is excellent as it makes lugging all your ski gear (including the kids and your wobbly legs) in and out of your vehicle and into the lift far easier. A drying room (Aka the Ski cave) in the car park also helps ease that ‘whiffy ski boot’ problem that can often happen from thawing out gear in your room. THE ROOM The Master bedroom in the two-bedroom Lake View Suite Travelling with my wife and two young sons (aged 8 and 4), we stayed in a two-bedroom suite which was massive. So massive in fact that my family decided on the spot when we walked in that they wanted to move in permanently. Our self-contained suite (it was as big as an apartment) featured a large comfy living area with two plush sofas, a fireplace and flaming gas fire (we especially loved this treat), a 40” LCD TV with cable and a dining setting for six people. And the view wasn’t bad either. Seriously, WOW! There was also a fully equipped kitchen with a coffee machine and all of the accessories and utensils you’d expect to able to cook your meals if you wanted to. Or chow down on the excellent room service in a formal dining setting (as we, ahem also did a couple of times in the evenings). The master bedroom featured a slumber loving King sized bed and another 40” screen on the wall, with an abundance of wardrobes and cupboards for all of our winter gear and a sizeable desk to work on if you needed to including fast and free wifi. And lake views like this… That’s the Remarkable ski fields in the distance. Remarkable indeed (Dad joke). Lake View Room views The second bedroom was a smaller, comfortable twin that proved the perfect hideaway for two rambunctious young boys to get stuck into some Lego downtime and much-needed shuteye after big days on the slopes. The Twin Room The room had reverse cycle air conditioning so we could fire up the heat in the morning and the evening and then shut it off when we went to bed for a sound nights sleep. Oh, and did I mention the views? I’ve been taking a break with my family in Queenstown for the last few days and we’ve had an absolute blast. We’ve been staying at the lakeside @heritage_queenstown which is a stunning Alpine styled Lodge and only minutes away from all the action of Queenstown. 👉🏼 Crafted from local stone and cedar, the hotel looks out over Lake Wakatipu and both @theremarkables and @coronetpeak and is a fantastic base to explore the spectacular region. Our fave bits.. Relaxing hot tubs and sauna’s after days 🏂 on the mountains, a roaring fire in our massive two bedroom apartment and the comfiest beds to recharge for tomorrow’s adventures.👌We will be back! #queenstown #queenstownlife A post shared by Matt Leedham (@worldofleedham) on Jun 25, 2018 at 3:07am PDT The Lake View Rooms and Suites have the pick of the incredible views with the Forest/Alpine view Rooms and Suites coming a close second, looking up and out to the snow-capped peaks beyond though to Coronet Peak and the Remarkables. For us Aussies used to seeing big hills at best, these are the instaworthy snowcapped views that we all dream of eyeballing for ourselves. FOOD AND DRINKS Mackenzies Restaurant There’s no better way to start any ski day than with a hearty buffet breakfast, and the hotel restaurant, ‘Mackenzie’s’ delivers on all culinary fronts. For me, it was the traditional hot breakfast with locally sourced trimmings like field mushrooms and double smoked bacon. For my two sons meanwhile, it was more of a pancake, pastry and sweet treat affair (Much to their mum’s eye-rolling). For mum, it was all about the organic stuff such as coconut yoghurt, raw date and chocolate bites, gluten-free bread and cacao toppings. As a family of four with varying tastes, we put the menu to the test throughout our stay, and all came away happy and ready to burn those calories up on the mountains. Two happy young diners The Mackenzies bar and restaurant features a roaring open fire which makes for a great place to reflect and enjoy a famous Central Otago Pinot Noir after an invigorating day outdoors. There’s a fine selection of local premium wines on the menu and at reasonable prices too so there’s really no excuse not to try a few in the name of ‘research’. Mackenzies is also open for lunch (12 pm – 6 pm) and dinner (6 pm – 10 pm) and while we were out and about in the daytimes, we did enjoy a beautiful evening meal of the same highest standard and love that Brazilian Executive Chef Sandro Lobao and his talented team consistently delivered during our entire stay. There’s a good range of kids options on the menu too and best of all, children under 12 years dine free per paying adult which is another budget saving point to note. FACILITIES AND SERVICES The heated indoor/outdoor swimming pool, hot tub and sauna became our daily early evening ritual after returning home from the mountain. There’s no better way to take time out and reflect on a fantastic day of adventure than letting the bubbling hot spring water soothe your aching muscles while you enjoy some great conversation and a few laughs together in the hot tub. There’s a fully equipped gym too if you want to warm yourself up or down and a variety of walks and cycle rides on the doorstep if you’re going to stretch your legs a little further and take in the clean, green lakeside air. THE VERDICT We loved our time here. The alpine feel in the design and the authentic hospitality along with the quality of the rooms and the spa made it a memorable stay for all of us. The hotel is the perfect base for a ski break and exploring all that Queenstown and its surrounds have to offer. As a family holiday, having the option to cook our own meals and stretch out in a bigger space was also a big money saving and practical bonus. We will be back. SNOW TIP: If you’re going skiing and aren’t taking your own gear, Snopro will deliver and collect your equipment from the comfort of your private room at The Heritage Queenstown. You may end up paying a little more for your rentals, but this will save you a load of hassle versus waiting around in a busy shop in town, especially if you have kids with you. GETTING THERE Rates: Room rates start at NZ$220 per night for a Deluxe Room and NZ$590 per night for a two-bedroom Lake View Suite sleeping four. Access: The Heritage Queenstown is a 3-minute drive into town and only a 30-minute easy drive to Coronet Peak Ski fields For more information go to: www.heritagehotels.co.nz/Queenstown Matt and his family stayed as guests of Heritage Queenstown. Have you stayed at the Heritage Queenstown before? Share your experience below. Other stories you may like ‘SWEET AS’ SOUTH: Uncover hidden gems on a South Island exploration GREEN FLYING: Air New Zealand to replace plastic cups, lids & cheese plates CHOICE BRO! Agents can WIN 1 of 50 return flights for two to NZ OR lounge passes!