Casual Luxury at Raetihi Lodge

Written by | Travel

There is an upside and a downside to staying at the Raetihi Lodge in South Island, New Zealand: Downside? It’s far from everything. Upside? It’s far from everything!

If you’re looking for a mega resort where you can go clubbing and shopping all day, look elsewhere. This is not that kind of place. This lodge, built in the 1930s on a private beach on the Kenepuru Sound, is ideal for those wanting to commune with nature or get into some outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, swimming, mountain biking and paddle boarding. I had my share of outdoor activities in the morning, had a lovely lunch at their elegant restaurant, and then had a nap before my massage appointment with one of their in-house masseuse! (A must! She has great hands!)

Since the 1930s, Raetihi Lodge has built a reputation as one of the most popular destinations in the Marlborough Sounds. The Lodge was extensively rebuilt in 2000, after a fire destroyed the buildings.

In April 2014, Alan and Liane Campbell took ownership of Raetihi Lodge and enlisted an interior designer and experienced builder to enhance the property with upgrades. The Lodge’s buildings, internal spaces, floating jetty, gardens, grounds and sports facilities were all upgraded, and a boat was purchased to facilitate guest transfers. Everything is casual yet very luxurious.

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I felt so at home here. It’s luxurious yet not pretentious. The rooms are warmly decorated and offer floor-to-ceiling windows, and balconies or patios. They also come with mini fridges and tea and coffee-making facilities. Rooms either have sea or garden views. (Try to get a seaview room!) Their guest lounge has a fireplace, a pool table and board games. There’s also a pier and a beach with a swimming area.

If you’re looking for a hotel that offer luxury and comfort amidst the serenity and nature of the Marlborough Sounds, look no further.

Want to make Raetihi Lodge part of a larger trip to South Island? Edwin wrote more extensively about “the other New Zealand” in our 2016 Travel Issue. Check out his tips on the best in South Island adventure, nature, great food and wine! And learn more about Raetihi Lodge at

Enjoy new highlights of travel photographer Edwin Santiago’s journeys each Tuesday and Thursday.

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Last modified: August 16, 2019