New Zealand’s Huka Lodge at Taupō is set to lead a new era of luxury travel with plans for a significant renovation by new owners Baillie Lodges now revealed.
To accommodate the substantial redesign and build, Huka Lodge will close its doors to guests on 30 April 2024, reopening on 1 December 2024.
James Baillie, Founder of Baillie Lodges will lead the project, partnering with interior designer Virginia Fisher, first appointed by Huka Lodge’s previous, long-term owner Alex van Heeren in 1984 to direct the lodge’s look and feel. Another key member of the team is Auckland-based architect Christian Anderson who has previously worked with Fisher on the design of the Alan Pye Cottage, one of the two ultra-premium owner’s style residences at Huka Lodge.
Enhancements will include a new entrance, reception and an adjoining boutique. Inside, the main lodge will undergo a transformation to open its interior spaces while floor-to-ceiling windows and wide doors will make the most of the lodge’s riverside setting. The newly spacious River Room features a double-sided fireplace and traditional luxury furnishings.
The Dining Room will be extended to offer more amenity, with a step down along the slope of the lawns creating a new light-filled dining area with high ceilings and windows welcoming in views of the river and gardens. Designs for the dining space combine a more contemporary feel while retaining its original heritage elements.
The north-facing outdoor terrace will be substantially expanded in a stylish integration between the indoors and out. The addition of a feature outdoor fireplace and contemporary glass-roofed pergolas will create more outdoor lounging and dining space for guests.
Huka Lodge’s 20 generously proportioned luxury guest suites and two owners’ residences – the Alex van Heeren and Alan Pye Cottages – will also undergo a refurbishment.
The Huka Spa Huts are another addition to the guest offering, taking design inspiration from the traditional Kiwi bach or holiday shack. The new wellness grounds will include a series of huts that house the gym along with two spa treatment rooms, a sauna, iced dump shower and a steaming plunge pool tucked into an intimate forest locale.
Baillie Lodges founder James said it was an honour in his career in luxury lodging to lead the evolution of Huka Lodge.
“We’re very pleased to have worked on plans in such a way to embrace the heritage of the iconic luxury lodge while taking her carefully into the future,” Baillie said.
Designer Virginia Fisher said she was delighted to be continuing her close association with Huka Lodge. “This is a real opportunity for us all to act as custodians of the Huka legacy while taking the opportunity to enhance the intimate luxury and further embrace the riverside setting,” Fisher said.
Huka Lodge legacy owner Alex van Heeren said he was pleased to know the foundations of the world-class luxury lodge he’d worked to create would be upheld and enhanced as part of the planned Baillie Lodges redesign in 2024.
“As Huka Lodge enters her centenary year, it’s timely to have our much-loved grand dame readied for the next generation of global luxury traveller,” Van Heeren said.