Our digital editor Louise was invited to Queenstown to report back on the exclusive Champagne Parlour experience on offer at QT Hotel. The flights were booked and the itinerary was set. All she had to do was arrive.
Read on for her 24-hour turned 48-hour escape to Queenstown.
Arrival: 2:15 pm at Queenstown Airport
It’s raining in Queenstown when I land and yet I’m feeling particularly upbeat about my home for the next 24 hours (and no, that’s not a typo). I’m headed for The Champagne Parlour at QT with minimal expectations other than there being champagne on the agenda. I’m greeted by the director of champagne (DOC) clad in a pink suit with red piping who escorts me to the QT Range Rover. I’ve barely retracted my umbrella and popped my seatbelt on before being handed a glass of Mumm Grand Cordon Rosé. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. And pleasantly so. We pull out of the park and make our way to the hotel.
3:30pm – Check-in to The Champagne Parlour at QT Queenstown
The DOC accompanies me to my room with my suitcase in tow. We’re on the ninth floor and as we close in on my room – number 910 – there’s a rose-tinted light creating an ambient halo around the door. The door is pink. This is the only room with a pink door. Is this all for me? I wonder.
Inside, I’m immediately overwhelmed by the tasteful amount of blushing shades of peach and pink, the Glasshouse scent, and the outlook of Lake Wakatipu from my balcony. There’s a neon champagne bottle on the wall, a bottle of Mumm Grand Cordon Rosé in an ice bucket sitting next to two Mumm macarons, and a mirrored niche brimming with champagne and Mumm glasses. The DOC departs and I spend approximately 30 more minutes taking in the view (and I’m not referring to the one from my balcony). There’s a bubble sofa (cute touch), rosy-hued cushions, and two bespoke artworks by Lyttelton-based artist Alexandra Weston above the bed. While the salmon shaggy rug might be a questionable interior design choice outside of these four walls, in here it transforms the room into a cosy oasis. In the bathroom there’s a rose-tinted mirror, Aceology frosé facemasks, a rose bath bomb, and pink Kevin Murphy products.
4:00pm – Champagne Hour
A mysterious clue in my room leads me to where it all began. The DOC is in the foyer serving up complimentary champagne to guests. I stopped counting at eight (guests that is) and not one turned it down.
5:00pm – A spot of shopping in Queenstown
The DOC drops me into town outside the new T Galleria By DFS. I jaunt across the road avoiding the puddles and retreat to the beauty department. I figured I may as well top up on a few things while I’m here. I track down my favourite Georgio Armani foundation, sample a Gucci fragrance and browse the new arrivals in Moncler and Loewe before braving the great outdoors once more. I’m seeking out one of my favourite boutiques: Seletti Concept Store. I fall in love with a pair of Frankie Shop cargo jeans before deciding to walk back to QT (it’s just a flat 10-minute walk) to give my bank account a brief break.
6:00pm – Power hour
I return to my room, don my new jeans and make dinner reservations at Reds Bar within the hotel. I have 90 minutes to kill so I open my laptop and continue working with a glass of Mumm Grand Cordon Rosé within arms-reach.
7:30pm – Dinner at Reds Bar
I take the lift down to Reds Bar and take up residence at the corner table overlooking the sunset on Lake Wakatipu with a breathtaking backdrop of mountains. I’m treated to a Bellini made with Mumm of course before placing my dinner order. This view, this meal, this cocktail is absolutely world class.
8:45pm – Self-care Monday
Now, I could have chalked the day up to being pretty exceptional by this point, but little did I know just how relaxing it was going to get. I drew a bath, dissolved the rose bath bomb, applied my Aceology frosé facemask, connected my phone up to the Bose speaker and let the day/week/month’s stressors evaporate. I was in pure bliss. And, I didn’t need rose-tinted glasses to view it that way. The room’s appointments did that for me. After a decent soak, I pull on my peach Mumm robe and hop into bed to watch an episode of The O.C.
6:45am – Breakfast in bed
I wake up and start on some emails. It’s still dark outside. I have a shower and indulge in the suite of Dyson tools before reaching for the phone to order breakfast in bed. Now, at the QT it’s not unusual to see buttons read ‘Feed Me’ or the like, but I notice a new button. It’s a ‘Call for Champagne’ button. I order breakfast and within twenty minutes, my order is delivered with a mimosa. I could get used to this.
8:00am – Head start
I get dressed and opt for my heavier blazer today. According to the forecast it’s unimaginably cold outside. I’m eager to get to the airport in good time and squeeze in an hour or two of work before I board. Plus, anyone who knows me knows I like to be really really early at airports. Even domestic ones.
From my balcony, there’s barely any visibility and a lot of cloud cover. I’m not too worried. The view in my room is more optimistic than I could have imagined. I pack my bags and just as I make my way to the door, I get a notification from Air New Zealand: my flight has been cancelled. Queenstown had its first snow of the season and the next flight available was midday the following day.
Fortunately, the team at QT were very accommodating and I was able to stay in The Champagne Parlour for another night. A real tragedy, I know. So, I set up camp in my room, unpacked (again), and fashioned a workstation in bed. As the afternoon rolled around the cloud lifted and I got to admire the beautiful dusting of snow on the mountains. It was remarkable. No pun intended.
12:00pm – City break
I’m in need of a break so I take the lift down to the ground floor and walk into town at pace to keep warm. I order lunch at Yonder, and nurse a large oat flat white to defrost my hands. I take the scenic route back to the hotel and continue working from my gorgeous room. Even after 24 hours, it still feels a little surreal.
5:00pm – Room service
The ‘Feed Me’ button on my room phone comes in handy. In a bid to maintain momentum with my work and not eat in the restaurant alone (again), I order dinner to my room – which was fabulous – and turn in early.
8:00 am – Check-out
Even though my flight isn’t for another four hours, the time has come to leave, like ~ actually leave ~ and while I can’t wait to get back into my routine, I’m feeling a little bit deflated to leave. This was a beautiful gift of time to myself. I could imagine all of the ways it would have been all the more exciting with a plus one to enjoy it with me. My sister, my best friend, a partner. And while I never envisaged ever saying this, much less endorsing it, but if you’re going to drink alone, The Champagne Parlour at QT sure makes a compelling case for it.
So, if you need some escapism this month – solo or otherwise – I couldn’t prescribe a night or two at The Champagne Parlour at QT more.
The Champagne Parlour is $599 per night and bookable from 20th March – 30th April.