Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

MAY-JUN 2019

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If we're lucky, our lives are sprinkled with "pinch me" moments, those blissful instances when life almost seems too good to be true. During my five divine days at Helena Bay Lodge in New Zealand, these enchanted occasions occurred in symphonic succession; the cadence of each day an undulating arc of crescendos interluded with moments of quiet contemplation. Arriving via the resort's own Westland AW109S Grand helicopter was an overture to our adventure; the 40-minute flight from Auckland allowed us to ogle the North Island's spindly spines of verdant peaks that settle into rolling farmland before dissolving into white-sand beaches. We were greeted at the landing pad by a bevy of staff members, among them affable general manager and Scotsman Neil McFarlane. Prior to assuming the top spot at Helena Bay, McFarlane spent more than a decade working as a yacht captain for Helena Bay's owner. Other staff members were also plucked from the world of luxury yachting, so service is always shipshape. Boasting two miles of pristine coastline as part of its 800 acres, Helena Bay opened in November 2016, following six years of construction. Devised to host no more than five couples (or a private group) in spacious villa suites, the property is operated like a private residence. e architecture doesn't try to fit within a prescribed theme, although inspiration was culled locally from early 19th century buildings, such as Pompallier House in Russell and e Treaty House in Waitangi. From the moment of arrival, you are aware that this is a highly personal endeavor, and nothing is a result of happenstance. For instance, a walkway leading to the pier appears to be carved into the craggy coastline; it wasn't until someone pointed out that it is molded and colored concrete made to the owner's specifications, that I was able to discern the doppelgänger. IN PER FECT HAR MONY A well-orchestrated experience awaits at Helena Bay Lodge Written by Bridget Williams Helena Bay Lodge offers luxury villa accomodations for a maximum of five couples at a time. 42 slmag.net

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