Blanket Bay adding on a luxury villa

An upmarket lodge near Glenorchy is adding a four-bedroom villa.

Blanket Bay is one of the world's best-regarded small luxury hotels.

A consent application to the Queenstown Lakes District Council reveals the upmarket 13-room lodge wants to build a 505sq m complex, which will be for hire for about $15,000 a night.

It will include a large communal living and dining area called the State Room, extra bedroom space for those travelling with guests like security staff, a nanny or a pilot, and a shared kitchen facility that a private chef could use.

Blanket Bay has hosted the likes of late Hollywood actor Robin Williams and English actor Sir Ian McKellen, who called it "possibly the best in the world''.

United States-based founding owner Tom Tusher said the extension was principally to cope with demand.

"We have had to turn away bookings over the past couple of years.''

New manager Tom Butler said it was also catering for "a niche that's expecting a little bit more or wanting a different experience as well''.

That included more privacy.

"We're doing it in such a way that if people want to stay there and not come down [to the nearby main lodge], that's fine.''

The design, by Dunedin-based Mason & Wales, will include stone, cedar weatherboards and prominent timber trusses, in common with the main North American-designed lodge, which was built in 1999.

Mr Butler: "At the same time, it's going to be a lot lighter - there's more glass - and it will be more contemporary than the current lodge.''

The building contract has been let to Queenstown's Triple Star Management, which recently won a commercial property award for constructing the nearby $25million Aro Ha Wellness Retreat.

Site works commence this month.

The villa complex is due to open in December next year.

Blanket Bay is also building a four-bedroom staff house in Glenorchy.

At peak season, the Blanket Bay employs about 40 staff.

- Philip Chandler 

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