The Spa at Kauri Cliffs
139 Tepene Tablelands Rd., Northland
It’s unlikely that you’d fly to New Zealand for the Healing Manuka-Honey Facial at The Spa at Kauri Cliff, but if you make it there, go for the 90-minute version, which is a fantasia of local Manuka honey, Rotorua thermal mud, and crushed paua shells from nearby Pink Beach, not to mention an incredible back massage. The spa itself, set amid fern glens and bubbling streams at the edge of the Totara forest, is pure Middle Earth. If you can, have your treatments done outside with birds singing all around you—heaven.
Wharf Rd., Pigeon Bay
The Banks Peninsula (which is made up of two former volcanoes that have since eroded into a series of bays and harbors) has the advantage of feeling exceedingly remote, though it's just a short drive—and even shorter helicopter trip—from the Christchurch.
446 Clifton Rd., Te Awanga, Hawke's Bay
This Relaix & Chateaux-managed property is located in Hawke's Bay, deep in the heart of New Zealand's rich wine country—which, geographically speaking, looks as if one took the rolling hills of the Napa Valley and set them down on the edge of a dramatic seaside cliff. The internationally known golf course (which meanders its way along the aforesaid cliffs) is part of the draw here, but guests also spend their time exploring the 6,000 acres of pasture—The Farm is actually a working sheep and beef operation, and touring around by foot or on a four-wheeler, to see the full acreage and get a glimpse of the sheepdogs at work, is highly recommended. The architecture features worn wood panels on the inland side and glass, view-facing windows on the other, achieving a barn-like effect that's tempered by modern features like a sleek infinity pool. Interiors echo the modern farmhouse vibe, with cozy wooden fireplaces in every room, rustic beams crossing the vaulted ceilings, and curtains done in soft blue French ticking. The owners have two other properties in New Zealand (Matakauri, a lakeside retreat a short drive from Queenstown, and…
569 Glenorchy Rd., Queenstown
Sitting in what is known as the Southern Alps, this New Zealand resort truly makes you feel like you've reached the edge of the earth. While you could sit and stare at the view all day, Queenstown adventures beckon, making this a really good choice if you have teens. You can take heli tours of the glaciers, bungee jump, mountain bike, or hike—and then round out your busy days with delicious meals by the fire.
139 Tepene Tablelands Rd., Matauri Bay
This is the perfect place to decamp with a group of friends: The spa is fantastic (treatments involve local and endemic ingredients), the food is even better, and the scene—the northern edge of New Zealand—couldn't really be more spectacular. A lot of golfers stay here, though there's plenty to do that doesn't involve a set of clubs: Horseback riding, surfing, fishing, and mountain biking are all easily accessible (though it's also the kind of resort where they make wishes into realities, so if there's something you're dying to do, just ask). And starting in November, you can book your own private four-bedroom enclave.