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We have all heard of Cloudy Bay (and probably tasted it chilled to perfection), but what aboutBlanketBay?

As a New Zealand Tour Operator we are constantly on the lookout for new properties, guiding and anything else that takes our discerning clients off the beaten track. We do this by getting feedback from people on the ground, recommendations from friends, special mentions in travel magazines and based on awards given out.

In this case we have a property that has been around for a while, but in my mind, something that is off the mainstream radar and a fantastic experience inNew Zealand.

Earlier this month Blanket Bay, a luxury lodge located about 35-45 minutes outside of Queenstown on the shores oflakeWakatipu, was awarded with the prestigiousNew Zealand’s Best Lodge Hotel Managements Award for 2011.

While this may not sound as sexy as, “Top 10 Beaches” award or “Hot List” award, this is something more of a pragmatic award. While new properties are always nice whether they have been built from the ground up or refurbished and rebranded, it’s your actual experience there that makes it memorable.

For people who travel, we’ve all shared that same experience where you get to a hotel somewhere and there is a disinterested receptionist who just sees you as someone else between them and a coffee break. You feel like a number rather than an honored guest.

Hopefully, as travelers, we have also experienced something on the other end of the scale. A place that didn’t have to be so grandiose, but it was the warmth and genuine feeling of being welcome where you are the most important person in the world. Those are the special places we remember and recommend to our friends and people who ask.

The award was recently awarded to Philip Jenkins,BlanketBay’s General Manager.

SpanningAustralia,New Zealand and the Pacific Islands the Hotel Management Awards are this region’s only independent benchmark for excellence in hospitality management, voted on by a panel of judges consisting of leading travel writers, hoteliers and travel industry professionals.

Philip was delighted with this further accolade and says that the Award illustrates the staff’s consistently high service standards.

He goes on to say, “New Zealandis widely acknowledged as having a collection of outstanding lodges, a concept which has also been adopted inAustraliaandSouthern Africa. It is gratifying to see the recognition that luxury lodge accommodation is now achieving worldwide. The success of Blanket Bay is based upon this significant growth in demand for small luxury hotels that offer truly intimate hospitality and local flavor in stunning destinations”, states Philip.

BlanketBayregularly features amongst the world’s best. Along with last Friday night’s HM Award win, Conde Naste Traveler’s 2010 Gold List rankedBlanketBayas the second-highest scoring property in the world and the top-scoring hotel in Asia,Australiaand Pacific nations. Also last year the discerning readers of the prestigious Andrew Harpers Hideaway Report votedBlanketBay6th in the Top 20 Hideaways in the world, and the best inNew Zealand. In 2009 Blanket Bay also won the HM Award for “New Zealand’s Best Regional Property”.

If you are looking for a unique stay in a gorgeous setting where you can do spectacular tours from to the Milford Sound or horseback riding, this is the perfect place to end yourNew Zealand journey. Our consultants can customize any program based on two people to offer unique and special trips for intrepid traveler who is seeking more than just the “typical tour”.

Congrats to Peter Jenkins and the staff atBlanketBayfor continuously keeping the bar set high.

Safe travels,