Imperium Collection

Imperium Collection - Media Releases

Queenstown’s preeminent Eichardt’s unlocks sweeping Lake Wakatipu penthouse

Located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, the incomparable Eichardt’s Private Hotel will in late 2016 open its floor to ceiling curtains to a 180 view of Lake Wakatipu thanks to a stunning penthouse extension.

The penthouse, with rates of up to $10,000 NZD per night, will join an award-winning assortment of offers from the hotelier including Eichardt’s Lakefront Apartments, Eichardt’s Private Hotel, the Eichardt’s Residence, Eichardt’s Bar and The Parlour that each exemplify the beauty of the area combined with an unrivalled hotel experience.

Guests of the penthouse, occupying one of the most highly valued pieces of real estate on Queenstown’s waterfront, can enjoy an immersive luxury offer that includes Krug Champagne refreshed daily, a Land Rover and driver on call throughout the visit, pre-dinner cocktail amenity complete with whiskey bar, private dining options and a hosted afterhours one on one Louis Vuitton shopping experience in the label’s store just downstairs.

The expansion takes the luxury hotel’s capacity to 7 suites, in addition to the 240sqm penthouse suite (plus 100sqm rooftop terrace) featuring a commercial grade kitchen primed for private chef usage, a sauna, spa and even a powder room with uninhibited views across the picture-perfect lake.

The new accommodation interiors perfectly meld the old world the site is known for with the modern edge of the expansion featuring an exterior of local Oamaru stone and exposed steel.

Linking internally with the original Eichardt’s, guests will be able to discreetly enter the famous Bar and private Parlour area that each serve as a lush window to while away an afternoon après ski or post hike.

At the Bar, guests are invited to sip the area’s finest pinot noir or expand their cocktail horizons courtesy of the extensive wait staff, all the while drinking in the snowy peaks and nature beyond. Enjoying the locally foraged and sourced tastes of New Zealand on the tapas menu of executive chef Will Eaglesfield is likewise a rite of passage. Visitors are well versed to try the chowder we hear.

Eichardt’s Private Hotel accommodation rates start from $1,250 per night. Eichardt’s Penthouse rates are POA.

About Eichardt’s
Eichardt’s is the most awarded private hotel in New Zealand.

Having received many global awards for excellence in the luxury travel and hospitality industry, the hotel has been named one of the top eight ‘forever fabulous hotels in the world’ by Tatler Magazine and the Bar one of the ‘Top 10 bars with a view’ by the Times of London.

Recent accolades for the offer include the title of New Zealand’s Best Ski Boutique Hotel for the third year running at the World Ski Awards held in Kitzbuhel, Austria (sister organisation of the World Travel Awards).

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Imperium Collection - News & Events

Three times a charm at World Ski Awards

It was once, twice, three times a winner as Eichardt’s Private Hotel took out the distinguished title of New Zealand’s Best Ski Boutique Hotel at the annual World Ski Awards for the third consecutive year.

Acknowledging exceptional success in the ski tourism industry, the luxury Queenstown hotel was presented the award at a glamourous black tie Gala Ceremony held last night (November 21) in Kitzbühel, Austria.

The event was attended by ski tourism figureheads and market leaders from North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Australasia and took into account votes from thousands of ski tourism professionals and members of the public to determine the best of the best across the globe.

Eichardt’s Private Hotel owner Andrew Cox praises his team for their unwavering commitment to excellence across all levels of the hotel proposition.

“Queenstown is known as the skiing capital of the Southern Hemisphere so to be awarded three years consecutively as the best choice for premium accommodation is certainly a proud moment.

“Our team works hard to go above and beyond to identify the best in skiing experiences to our guests.  This can mean anything from private boot and board/ski fittings in their suite to heli-skiing on untouched powder, so it’s great to see their diligence recognised on the world stage.”

World Ski Awards Managing Director Sion Rapson launched the World Ski Awards in 2013 with the aim to drive up standards within the ski industry and reward the organisations that are leaders in their field.

“Each winner can take enormous pride – they have been voted the finest in class against stiff competition,” Rapson said.

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Imperium Collection - Media Releases

The Spire Named Top in Class at World Luxury Hotel Awards

The Spire Hotel has once again proved itself to be top of the list from the bottom of the world by winning Australia and Oceania’s Best Luxury Suite Hotel at a gala dinner held on the 24th of October for the 2015 World Luxury Hotel Awards.

Each year the awards are voted on by hotel guests from around the world, meeting strict criteria on all levels of service, location and amenity against hotels both multi-national and boutique.

Hotel owner Andrew Cox is thrilled that the team can celebrate the service improvements they have employed since his Imperium Group took over ownership in 2014.

“The staff have worked to appeal to discerning travellers looking for expert advice, as well as hosting the best in couples retreats, group stays and conferences,” Cox says.

“Of late, our offer has been geared to appeal to the next generation of travellers who flock to Queenstown for both the thrill in the surrounding snowy peaks and the area’s renowned ‘Southern’ hospitality scene.  These people are increasing in numbers every year and the fact that The Spire and our onsite bar and food offer No5 Church Lane stand out in this crowded industry is a testament to their hard work and perseverance.”

The hotel is part of the Imperium Collection, a collective of accommodation and dining offers including Eichardt’s Private Hotel, Eichardt’s Bar, Eichardt’s Lakefront Apartments, Eichardt’s Residence and No5 Church Lane Restaurant and Bar.

The World Luxury Hotel Awards was established in 2006.  Previous award winners have included some of the great names in luxury accommodation including Swissôtel, InterContinental, Hilton, Kempinski, Anantara & Mövenpick Hotels, which compete annually to receive top honours.

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Imperium Collection - Media Releases

Imperium collection appoints royal tour guide

The Imperium Collection has appointed Tom Macaulay as its General Manager of food and beverage as it undertakes further expansion plans that cater to the increased high net worth demand in New Zealand’s premier alpine town.

Tom has most recently spent eight years as the operations and bistro manager of award-winning Amisfield Winery Bistro in Queenstown, where he notably escorted the visiting Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – Prince William and his wife Catherine – on their 2014 tour downunder.

The collective of luxury Queenstown accommodation and dining offers, that includes Eichardt’s Private Hotel, Eichardt’s Bar, Eichardt’s Lakefront Apartments, Eichardt’s Residence and No5 Church Lane Restaurant and Bar, has most recently announced a $10,000 per night Eichardt’s Penthouse with sweeping lake views currently under construction in the $6 million development next to the property.

The Eichardt’s Penthouse will also have a balcony space available for private functions that utilise its commercial kitchen and unrivalled vista across Lake Wakatipu to the snow-capped Remarkables beyond.

No stranger to the pursuit of excellence, during Tom’s time at Amisfield Bistro the restaurant won Cuisine Magazine’s Winery Restaurant of the Year three times and was awarded two chef’s hats.  He will be using his many years of experience to oversee the function opportunities for the current and new offers, streamline the group’s food and beverage operations as well as develop a new hospitality venture to be announced later this year.

Imperium Collection owner Andrew Cox is impressed with Tom’s credentials, noting he believes Tom brings a wealth of best business practice and top-end service nous to the table.

“When planning our expansion of the Eichardt’s Hotel footprint and the upcoming hospitality addition, we identified that Tom had the local know-how and the international attention to detail that our guests expect, so we are thrilled that he has joined the fold.”

Tom is likewise well-prepped for the discerning clientele, noting “the sector of travellers and diners that the Imperium Collection cater to know what they want. These people choose Queenstown because it offers a unique experience to share with their networks.

“I’m looking forward to enhancing an offer that melds understated luxury, safety, food, wine and activities which no other destination in the world can compete with.”

Source: National Business Review

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Imperium Collection - Media Releases

Luxury Queenstown development boasts country’s most expensive room

One of the most highly valued pieces of real estate on Queenstown’s waterfront will be home to the country’s most expensive hotel suite, commanding up to $10,000 per night for sweeping views of Lake Wakatipu and surrounding peaks.

Skyline Enterprises has begun work on the $6 million, 781m2 high-end premium site in the heart of the resort town’s CBD, with neighbouring Eichardt’s Private Hotel announced as tenants for a penthouse apartment and two further Lakefront suites to meet ultra-high net worth visitor demand.

The expansion takes the luxury hotel’s capacity to 7 suites, with the 240sqm penthouse suite (plus 100sqm balcony) featuring a commercial grade kitchen primed for private chef usage, two suites each with ensuites, a sauna, spa and even a powder room with uninhibited views across the picture-perfect lake.

Eichardt’s Private Hotel is part of the Imperium Collection of luxury boutique hotels, owned by Christchurch-born, Melbourne-based businessman Andrew Cox.

Cox was quick to recognise that Queenstown is seen as a key New Zealand gateway to premium visitors, and most recently purchased nearby New York style boutique property The Spire Hotel to add to his mix of exclusive, small and luxurious hotels, apartments, a private residence and restaurants within the group.

“Obviously we are talking to a very small yet powerful group of guests. These people value privacy however they want to be in the thick of the action and with all the amenity of home.

“They choose Queenstown because it offers them what money can’t buy – a unique experience to share with their networks that melds understated luxury, safety, food, wine and activities that no other destination in the world can compete with,” says Cox.

The hotel has seen its capacity consistently stretched as the ultra-rich – and their gatekeepers – have made Queenstown a must-visit destination on their travels, where families often travel for months at a time by private plane or super-yacht.

Last May a private jet terminal was opened in Queenstown to cope with the large volume of private planes frequenting the alpine town, primarily transporting occupants from Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas.

“Our guests want to fly in and out with relative anonymity. It’s important that our packages can be tailored to meet the whole group’s varying needs whether that be heli-skiing on untouched powder to the latest beauty treatment taken in their private quarters.

“When they go home, word spreads fast of the level of comfort in these circles, and it made sense to add a new dimension to Eichardt’s to meet demand,” Cox adds.

Skyline Enterprises CEO Jeff Staniland says the location and opportunity of the development is unmatched providing a ringside seat at the best view in town.

“Queenstown is known for its forward-thinking and considered hospitality, and we have been careful to reflect the history of Eichardt’s in our modern design. It is exciting that this world-class hotel is a key part of our development, and we look forward to announcing our retail partners in due course.”

The new accommodation interiors will likewise mirror the expert eye of Virginia Fisher seen at the current hotel however will integrate well with the modern edge of the expansion. This is in keeping with the Michael Wyatt-designed exterior of the new build which shows a façade clad primarily in Oamaru stone, while further along Church Street it will feature weathered and exposed steel.

The building design includes decks and terraces at the upper levels, with the deck at the upper floor level enabling that part of the building to be set back from Marine Parade so it does not dominate the street.

The foyer entrance melds the old with the new and will be modified to provide a central and private gateway between the new build and the hotel’s well-known Bar and private guest Parlour.

“It’s about offering the next level of comfort seen at Eichardt’s currently with even more options to customise the experience. Privacy is key to the design and will offer a safe and very secure accommodation offer with unsurpassable views, the best of Queenstown literally below the doorstep and memories ready to be forged,” says Cox.

Tourism NZ focusses mirror the developer and hotelier’s vision, with $20 million of its budget tagged for the premium sector over the next four years.

Completion is expected in early 2016, with the hotel already having a booking for the New Year’s period that December through its luxury affiliate network. Rates for the penthouse suites are $10,000 per night, with the two additional Lakefront Suites available for $1950 per night.

The ground floor retail space of approximately 700sqm has been set aside for a cluster of high-end retail stores, the first floor for either premium office space or more retail.

In addition to the new accommodation options, Eichardt’s will also open a bistro restaurant at ground level of the new development to complement its world-famous Bar and cocktail list.

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Imperium Collection - Media Releases

Eichardt’s Private Hotel crowned New Zealand’s best

Queenstown’s iconic luxury boutique hotel – Eichardt’s Private Hotel – has been crowned New Zealand’s best hotel at the HM Awards, the annual industry awards recognising excellence in hospitality and hotel management across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.

Presented in front of 400 senior industry professionals at Friday’s gala dinner in Sydney, the award joins other accolades for the hotel including Tatler’s Magazine’s ‘forever fabulous hotels in the world’ which named Eichardt’s Private Hotel as one of the top 8 in the world and ‘Best Luxury Ski Resort Hotel for 2013’ at the World Luxury Hotel Awards among others.

With strong competition against New Zealand’s best hotels, owner Andrew Cox believes that it is the property’s focus on individuality and bespoke service that set it apart.

“Our custom offer and passion for excellence to deliver a truly unique experience to every guest has enabled the whole Eichardt’s team to achieve industry recognition for the amazing job they do. We strive to be one of the great hotels in the world and it’s a proud moment to have the team recognised for their commitment to excellence across all aspects of our offer,” says Cox.

Suites at Eichardt’s Private Hotel start from $1,250. The property sits within owner Andrew Cox’ Imperium Collection, a collective of premier accommodation and hospitality offerings.

Other finalists in the ‘Best New Zealand Hotel’ category were:
Crowne Plaza Auckland
Crowne Plaza Queenstown
Hilton Auckland
Hilton Queenstown
Hotel St Moritz, Queenstown
Novotel Auckland Airport
Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
Sofitel Queenstown Hotel and Spa
The George, Christchurch
The Langham, Auckland
The Rees Hotel and Luxury Apartments, Queenstown

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Acquisition - Imperium Collection - Media Releases

The Imperium Group acquires The Spire Hotel

Imperium Group, owned by Melbourne-based New Zealander Andrew Cox, has acquired the leasehold rights to boutique property The Spire Hotel in Queenstown to expand its hotel interests and take advantage of the global travel market’s growing appetite for luxury boutique accommodation.

The Spire Hotel is located in central Queenstown’s Church Lane and boasts 10 luxury rooms overlooking St Patricks Church with views to Lake Wakatipu. It has an in-house bar and restaurant known as No.5 Church Lane, and Boardroom conferencing facilities.

Imperium owner Andrew Cox says, “The Spire Hotel acquisition is a strategic opportunity to expand the product range of the Imperium Collection in Queenstown.

“The Imperium Collection offers travellers to Queenstown the choice of boutique city style accommodation at The Spire, a traditional luxury experience at Eichardt’s Private Hotel or the exclusivity of the separate Private Residence and Lake Front Apartments all tailored to the high-end luxury traveller. The Imperium Collection now encompasses twenty luxury suites catering to a broad range of tourism and business traveller needs.”

Cox is the owner and operator of the nearby Eichardt’s Private Hotel on the Wakatipu shoreline, and operates a diversified investment group of businesses across Australasia including the Australia and New Zealand TGI Friday’s master franchise, GarageSmart and Wardrobe World home storage solutions, and Australian Graphic Supplies (one of Australia’s largest import distributor of visual and signage graphics consumables and equipment).

The company revealed earlier this year that it is also assessing sites to expand its TGI Friday’s restaurant business into New Zealand, of which there are currently ten in Australia with one under construction.

The acquisition comes at a time of major expansion for the Imperium Group, which has plans to open a luxury boutique hotel similar to the Eichardt’s experience in the tightly held Auckland waterfront area.

“In the North Island we are in discussions with Auckland developers to establish an equally premium and exclusive hotel property on the Auckland Waterfront – a location that is certainly calling out for high end, design-focussed lodging with an emphasis on personalised service,” says Cox.

The recent announcement by Skyline Enterprises of an intended $6 million retail and mixed use development at the existing Eichardt’s Private Hotel signals potential further opportunity for the Imperium Group to expand its hotel operations with the tourism leader. It has been revealed a luxury penthouse apartment with extensive balconies is planned for the top floor of the development.

“It is exciting to see this level of invigoration and activity in New Zealand once again. We are very confident in the New Zealand tourism market and our hotel interests both in Queenstown and Auckland are geared for a long term focus of attracting discerning visitors who demand a premium product,” says Cox.

Suites at The Spire Hotel start from $550 per night, with rates at Eichardt’s Private Hotel starting from $1,250.

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Dishing up great views

The stunning landscapes and impressive accommodation of Queenstown are matched by its superb cuisine, writes Andrew Taylor.

In the adventure capital of New Zealand, it’s no surprise to discover the food dished up in Queenstown’s finest eateries has had its own wild ride to your plate.

Take the venison that Jonathan Rogers, the head chef at Matakauri Lodge, serves in front of a roaring fire in the lodge perched on the edge of Lake Wakatipu

A jigsaw of clouds floats in the sky while across the water lay the stunning Remarkables and the Cecil and Walter Peak mountain ranges, but the stories inside Rogers’ kitchen are just as dramatic.

Roaming the rugged terrain of New Zealand’s Fiordland, the wild venison is hunted from helicopters and brought fresh to Rogers’ kitchen.

“Yeah, it’s all pretty extreme around here,” says Rogers.

He’s not exaggerating. A five-star boutique hotel seven minutes’ drive from Queenstown, Matakauri Lodge’s inventive cuisine is matched by lovely accommodation, with eight cottages, three suites and the newly opened Owner’s Cottage offering an impressive, unfussy level of luxury.

The heated marble floor in the spacious bathroom wins my vote for comfort, while the deep bath with panoramic views of the lake and snow-capped mountains is also a highlight.

There’s also a spa, fitness centre, outdoor infinity swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi and walking trails should the view and all those creature comforts ever get tiresome.

Matakauri achieves a good balance between privacy and conviviality. The communal areas inside the lodge invite conversation, especially with the young, friendly staff, but guests dine separately and it’s easy to hide away if solitude is preferred.

But admiring Rogers’ culinary chops turns into the perfect icebreaker when it comes to meeting other guests.

A champion of local and seasonal ingredients, Rogers changes the menu every day according to what he can hunt and gather from his army of suppliers.

An organic farm near Cromwell provides him with figs and berries, a wide variety of tomatoes, “beautiful” artichokes and “the best asparagus I’ve ever seen”.

He also singles out a merino producer in Cardrona Valley for supplying some of the best lamb he has cooked with.

Central Otago is renowned for its game, and Rogers’ menus also feature hare, rabbit, tahr, quails and pheasants.

“The diet’s different; the lambs are eating more tussocks and grasses and getting more exercise,” Rogers says. ‘The muscles are more developed, so the texture is different and the flavour better.

“I think as you mature as a chef you get more comfortable and you don’t need to show off with pointless garnishes,” he says.

Rogers’ canapes are true to his word, with watermelon tartare, kingfish with rice wafers and avocado puree and fried chicken an ideal way to begin dinner.

The mountains surrounding Queenstown are a magnet for thrillseekers, sightseers and filmmakers, but the stunning landscape also provides a rich bounty for the country’s top chefs, including two judges on MasterChef New Zealand.

A similar philosophy of using local and seasonal produce guides the menu at Rata (43 Ballarat Street;, a stylish diner nestled next to the historic 1878 courthouse that is widely regarded as one of Queenstown’s best restaurants.

A forest photographed by owner Fleur Caulton’s husband spans one wall of the restaurant, which is decked out in polished stone and wood to reflect the surrounding Otago scenery.

The open kitchen provides glimpses of Josh Emett, the only Michelin-starred chef in New Zealand, who is a picture of concentration as a steady stream of delicacies are dished up to diners fresh off the ski slopes and the end of bungy ropes.

Rata’s menu changes daily according to what is in season, and even utilises what Caulton’s friends grow in their gardens.

“We get boxes of produce brought in daily by them. I’ve got three friends who grow Jerusalem artichokes, and they’ve got so many of them they could never eat them in a million years.”

Caulton and her staff are avid foragers, and the fruits of their labours can be seen in the jars of preserves lining shelves, the herbs that flavour dishes and the rocks that hold salt on each table.

Caulton and Emmett’s passion for food is matched by their love of the region, which is also shown by their support for Project Crimson, a charity that seeks to protect the endangered rata tree.

We graze happily on Stewart Island hapuka and Cloudy Bay clams, Otago wild rabbit terrine, merino lamb rump and smoked eel washed down with local wines.

Fortune favours the brave, and going off-piste with crispy duck tongues served with nectarine, edamame and radish also proves a tasty success.

“A few challenges are thrown out there,” Caulton says. “But we’re not trying to be cute or clever. We’re just saying these things can be eaten and are quite delicious.”

The mountain of black angus sirloin that confronts us the next evening at Jervois Steak House (Brecon Street, Lower Steps; sets a culinary challenge of a different kind.

The saloon-style restaurant also boasts a judge of MasterChef New Zealand, Simon Gault, at its helm – a sign of Queenstown’s strength as a food destination – and bills itself as “the steak house to end all arguments”.

Conversation at our table certainly stops as we attack the very generous serves of tender beef. Farmed from around New Zealand, the menu features a range of cuts, from South Island rumps and eye fillets to T-bones from Turihaua Angus, near Gisborne. To accompany, there is an eye-watering range of sauce suggestions – gorgonzola mascarpone, brandy and green peppercorn, syrah and truffle jus, to name a few.

Many of Queenstown’s best eateries are also blessed with its finest views.

Perched on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, Eichardt’s Private Hotel (2 Marine Parade; is worth a visit for the views over Queenstown Bay and the Remarkables mountain range, and the historic building, let alone its culinary offerings.

Eichardt’s tapas menu by chef Will Eaglesfield again favours local produce – a highlight is the charcuterie board with wild boar ham and tahr salami, Fiordland wild hare and harissa-marinated Cardrona merino lamb ribs.

Offering boutique accommodation, the hotel also holds regular winemaker dinners, with its next five-course degustation dinner on March 21 hosted by Brian Dennis and Amisfield Estate Winery. A classy wine menu spruiks tipples from New Zealand’s wine-growing regions, plus a couple of Dom Perignon bubblies – $1195 for the 1988 vintage and $2750 for the 1976 bottle if you really want to celebrate.

Or test the barman’s mixing skills with one of the locally named concoctions from the cocktail menu. Eichardt’s mule and bloody mary are a local twist on familiar brews, while the Pimms lassi – Pimms, yoghurt, marmalade, pineapple juice and Tuaca vanilla liqueur – is a sweet surprise.

The writer was a guest of Matakauri Lodge.

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