The Hermitage Hotel in the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is not an easy place to get to. It lies at the end of a very long road almost at the base of Mount Cook on the South Island of New Zealand.
Having undertaken what seems like the a journey to the end of the universe, the rewards are out of this world.
Some rooms have magnificent views straight on to the 12,500 feet of rock and snow which is Mount Cook. Nearby mountains have shelves of 'hanging glaciers' tumbling down like melted icing on a wedding cake.
Nearby, Lake Tasman offers zip boat rides around it's chilly perimeter, travelling up to the imposing ice shelf of the Tasman Glacier, still bright blue as it edges forward into the lake. The freshly broken off icebergs which were present in the lake when I was there, offer navigational challenges and you can get close enough to them to reach out and touch them.
The inky black skies and myriad stars can be observed with the naked eye, though an organised astronomy evening from the hotel brings it to life.
The Sir Edmund Hilary exhibition within the hotel is also a 'must see' experience.
But, of the hotel itself, this imposing 162 bedroom palace also offers the traveller choices. Dining is a la carte, casual or buffet style, each of them high standard in their own right.
The rooms are smart, clean and spacious with all the modern conveniences one would expect. Staff are friendly and eager to please.
It is not cheap, but then the location and quality of the hotel dictates this.
For a once in a lifetime trip, this is one of the best. and you will never forget your stay here.