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Franz Josef Glacier Country Retreat

Franz Josef Glacier Country Retreat

Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand
Alpine lakes, soaring glaciers, and some of the finest food in the world. The Franz Josef Glacier Country Retreat brings true sophistication to the mountains.

first impressions
This idyllic hideaway in the heart of New Zealand's breathtaking glacier country is guaranteed to melt your heart. Nestled amongst 200 acres of family-run farmland in the foothills of the spectacular Franz Josef Glacier, this replica-Irish homestead is country living at its absolute best: cosy, gracious and inviting.

Overlooking picturesque Lake Mapourika on South Island's stunning West Coast, the Retreat was built in 2005 by owners Glenn and Marie Coburn, eighth-generation descendants of the region's first Irish settlers. And with no expense spared, this four-star-plus boutique B&B - just minutes from Franz Josef Village - is now the hotel of choice for the discerning traveller.

The Retreat's elegant guest quarters include 10, spacious en-suite bedrooms, and two plush honeymoon suites. Each has been named, and individually decorated, in honour of local pioneer families. Look out for the original, sepia photographs that adorn the walls. Rooms also boast French doors onto private balconies, with sweeping, unbeatable views of snow-capped peaks, rolling farmland, and Lake Mapourika.

All centrally-heated rooms come with SKY TV, state-of-the-art DVD player, well-stocked mini-bar, direct-dial telephones, and a selection of teas and coffees, as standard.

En-suite bathrooms feature deep tubs, power-showers, heated towel rails, and a range of complimentary toiletries.

Lake View and Mountain View rooms come with luxurious super king, or queen-sized, beds, and are outfitted with handmade bed linen and curtains.

Franz Josef Wallace Room

The grand, light-filled Johnny Schilling Room boasts a soft, super king-sized bed, designer leather sofa, and a sumptuous spa bath for two.

But for unrivalled romance, stay in the Wallace Room, where a hand-carved, queen-sized four-poster bed awaits. A favourite with honeymooners, it comes outfitted to the highest standard. Expect candles, high ceilings, thick carpets, handmade throws, pure white linen, and 180-degree vistas. Be sure to take a dip in the vintage, claw-foot bath that sits overlooking the balcony.

food and drink
Kick-start your day with the superb complimentary breakfast, served in the delightful in-house restaurant, Mapourika. Enjoy a mouthwatering 'starter' of Continental-style cereals, fruits and handmade breads, but do leave some room: guests are treated to a hearty 'main' of eggs, bacon, sausages and tomatoes, cooked to your liking by Devon, the highly-talented head chef.

Here's a little-known fact: Devon - who once worked alongside the British celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver - now bakes an extra batch of cakes for the owner's pet cow, Dexter. According to tradition, she receives a croissant from the hand of every new guest. (It's a real recipe for success - staff say Dexter is the most friendly cow in New Zealand).

No visit to the Retreat would be complete without sampling Devon's delicious dinners. Specialities include creamy pumpkin soup, rare lamb with roasted potatoes, and baked chocolate mousse.

Head to the dining room early for a pre-dinner selection of cheeses and award-winning wines in the company of your hosts and fellow guests.

service with a smile?
In this friendly, family-run hotel, you'll be made to feel like a long-lost relative returning to the roost. Expect a warm welcome - and brief history lesson - from owner Marie, whose Irish family was among the first to settle in the Franz Josef region. Her husband Glenn, who she describes as a "keen outdoors man", is responsible for the fine landscaping (and is currently drawing-up plans for a heated outdoor spa, and daffodil garden). Their nine-year-old daughter Sophie-Rose, and pet cat, Gingee, completes the fold.

The Retreat caters for guests with disabilities, including wheelchair access, and special needs are always met. Guests also receive a free activity booking service, complimentary broadband internet, and a well-stocked book and DVD library.

mountains near the Franz Josef Glacier Country Retreat

local attractions
New Zealand is blessed with every activity imaginable. But it's the magnificent glaciers that make the Franz Josef region so unique. If time allows, take a heli-hike onto the Franz Josef - or nearby Fox - glacier, for the chance to see the bottomless crevasses, towering seracs, and crystal-clear alpine springs. All equipment, clothing and tuition is provided.

The more adventurous might consider trekking from the Retreat to the glacier - a long but fulfilling walk in awe-inspiring surroundings.

Elsewhere there's skydiving near Mount Cook, scenic flights, bungee jumping, mountain biking, horse riding, or kayaking on Lake Mapourika. For a relaxing afternoon, visit the White Heron Sanctuary, where you can see these endangered birds in their natural habitat.

will it break the bank?
Splashing out on alpine luxury won't give you cold feet here: Lake and Mountain View rooms are NZ$325 per night; The Johnny Schilling is NZ$425; and the Wallace is NZ$525. All rates are based on two adults sharing. Complimentary breakfast included.

Several packages - including the 'Girls Weekend Pamper', 'Deluxe Honeymoon', and 'Kiwi Experience' - are also on offer. Contact the Retreat for rates and more information.

The Franz Josef Glacier Country Retreat
State Highway 6
Lake Mapourika
PO Box 11, Franz Josef Glacier
New Zealand

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