Spending a holiday inside, sick, clutching at tissues and awaiting a COVID-19 test result is hardly the picture of carefree travel; but doing it at the Tin Tub Luxury Lodge in Wanaka is about as good as you could hope for.
I arrived at the property, which sits on a ridge overlooking the region's stunning mountain ranges, in a flurry of sneezes and curses, despairing that my much-anticipated South Island sojourn was getting stuffed up - as was I.
My partner, asymptomatic and increasingly unsympathetic due to my demeanour, was already surveying his next hiking spot and barely disguising his relief upon spotting the huge Californian king bed, delighting in the distance it would provide from my snoring and snuffling.
Having sorted myself a COVID-19 test as soon as I realised a scratchy throat and throbbing sinuses were gatecrashing our getaway, I was looking down the barrel of at least two days of self-isolation while I waited for all the all clear.
All plans of vineyard visits, fine dining and trail-blazing were cancelled and to say I was unhappy was an understatement. Very quickly, however, I realised the four walls I was trapped in were an absolute haven for restoration and relaxation.
Two utterly guilt-free days of lazing, bathing and snoozing looked pretty good at the Tin Tub - where our private lodge called Kārearea (Falcon) offered complete, luxurious solitude, which suited me, AKA the Creature from the Black Lagoon, just fine.
I had my choice of three - yes three - different baths. The name Tin Tub might be a hint that soaking away your troubles is a focus at this accommodation, but it sounds substantially more humble than the facilities actually are.
Outside, there were twin baths perfectly positioned for star-gazing, which we did, on a night so clear we saw a shooting star. Yes, it was about 3C outside and I complained about the cold the whole time, but it was also magical.
Inside, the 'Sok' bath was somewhat space-age. It had a perpetual cascade of water over its sides into special reservoirs, in an infinity-pool-kind-of-way. It had a spa bath option and was plumbed in to fill up from the roof rather than via traditional taps. The owner Baz said he didn't want them getting in the way of the view, obviously.
There was a lovely big shower, and even a heated toilet seat. This is the kind of comfort that truly means something to a sick person, but forgoing the cold sting of porcelain in the middle of the night is something anyone can appreciate.
The luxury of Tin Tub is balanced really nicely with homely touches. One of the owners Trish had baked fresh chocolate chip cookies, which I devoured on the hour, and there was also the offer of a cup of home-made soup. Trish and Baz cook made-to-order breakfast for guests in their own home on the property every morning, but I had mine in bed. A bowl of stewed apples a day keeps the doctor away, right? Along with fresh eggs provided by the lodge's chooks, bacon, and all the other trimmings, of course.
The property is just a few minutes drive out of Wanaka, but feels remote and quiet. If you do get tired of staring at the gorgeous view all day - which I didn't despite it being my constant backdrop for 48 hours - there's a sauna, tennis court, gym and even a swimming pool for the warmer months. The lodge is perfectly positioned as a base for skiing, hiking and exploring, which my partner unsurprisingly took advantage of for as many hours of the day as he could.
My only gripe was the small television and lack of streaming apps like Netflix and Neon - something that most modern travellers have come to expect, but that you miss even more when you're stuck in your room.
My negative COVID-19 test results came through the morning we were due to leave Tin Tub, such is life. Still, I was departing in a much better state than I arrived and any resentment I felt about getting sick on holiday had melted away at my personal alpine hideaway.
Monika and her partner received two complimentary nights at Tin Tub for this review.