You know that saying, “food tastes better when shared”? Since Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, here are some ideas for sharing the love in Rotorua.
Here’s a short, but certainly not exhaustive, list of places in Rotorua that have you sorted for a lovely dining experience, adventurous flight and picnic, or romantic overnight stay. There are also a few yummy gift ideas for the favourite people in your life like Mum and Dad, your bestie, or the neighbour who looks after your cat on holidays.
If you spot something below that sounds like you, please check with the proprietor whether pre-bookings are required.
Up high on a mountain
Support not one or two, but three local businesses at once.
Start with a romantic Skyline Rotorua Gondola ride up Mt Ngongotahā to Volcanic Hills Winery for a lovely wine tasting with one of the best views overlooking Rotorua. Vintner and wine tasting host Brent Park will add an extra tasting of VH’s own Blanc de Blanc bubbles.
If you’re short on time, call in to VH to pick up a Valentine’s gift pack that includes a bottle of Blanc de Blanc and a specially selected six-pack of Dangerous Chocolate truffles, handmade right here in Rotorua with local ingredients, including VH’s Blanc de Blanc in the Raspberry Champagne truffle.
From Volcanic Hills, simply walk next door to Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar for the best buffet dinner with the same amazing views (as at the top). You’ll be greeted with bubbles upon arrival, chocolates on your table, and Kelly Makiha performing live. Call ahead to book a guaranteed window seat.
Adventure’s in the air
If your Valentine loves adventure, but a beach-side getaway on a tropical deserted island can’t really be wrangled this time, Volcanic Air’s Lakeside Picnic Getaway Package is a great solution.
The 90-minute package begins with a scenic float plane tour over Lake Rotorua, Mokoia Island, and the beautiful crater lakes. Your pilot will deliver you to a beautiful, secluded beach on the northern edge of Lake Rotoiti for an hour of swimming and exploring, and enjoying the perfect catered picnic, including a free bottle of sparkling wine.
What a spectacular, romantic and unique way to experience the beauty of Rotorua and its surrounding lakes with someone special.
Try something new
ANI’s Gin Bar and Tapas Restaurant is Rotorua’s newest 100% Māori owned and operated business. Chef owner Lorisse says the kaupapa (purpose) of ANI’s is to give customers a nostalgic New Zealand dining experience through the dishes served in tapas style. Don’t, however, think “nostalgic” means old, stodgy comfort foods; far from it. ANI’s menu is anything but predictable, and that includes the refreshing and creative cocktails as well.
ANI’s is offering two Valentine’s specials that come with two drinks each and chocolate-dipped strawberries. Be sure to save room for the spectacular desserts (we highly recommend the panna cotta, whichever flavour it happens to be that night) because if you spend $45 or more, you get one dessert for half price. Reservations are highly recommended.
Marshmallow is another new business in the CBD and they’re baking the perfect Valentine’s treats for your sweets: giant cookies with your own personal message written on top! Plus, you can pick a flavour.
Strawberry and raspberry cupcakes will also be available and, at $5 per cupcake, you can easily splash out and get a couple for Mum, Aunty, your babysitter. Heck, why not show your hairdresser some love for the magic they work on your mane!
To order giant cookies, simply send a DM them with your selections and they'll let you know your pick-up time for Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday. The cupcakes will be available on Saturday, but if you want to collect them on Sunday or Monday, pre-ordering is necessary.
Be warned: Marshmallow makes the most amazing slices, too, and sells cookie-making kits, so walking into this adorable shop could lead to indulgence. Don’t be mad!
Wine, dine and stay the night
If old-world romance is what you’re after, the romantically historic Prince’s Gate Boutique Hotel (pictured above) and Duke’s Bar & Restaurant has put together a great package to make this Valentine’s Day one to remember.
A special four-course dinner menu has been created by award-winning head chef Digraj Singh showcasing New Zealand-grown meats and produce, and indigenous herbs and spices.
Following a wild mushroom bruschetta platter, your second course is seared tiger prawns and Marlborough scallops in herb butter on lobster bisque jus, and it just keeps getting better. Finish with one of two dessert options including blood orange, eucalyptus and liquorice root panna cotta with mulled pear and elderflower granite. Divine!
Add an overnight stay in conjunction with your dinner booking and get 20% off your accommodation.
On another part of the design spectrum you’ll find classic French sofas, chic black and white décor and an indoor/outdoor fireplace at The Regent Room.
The Regent is pulling out all the stops and not only offering an amazing overnight package, but they’ve also created three special dining offers.
The incredible six-course degustation menu gets started with a poached oyster amuse-bouche and winds up with a candied apple dessert to die for.
If you’re looking for something a little less extravagant, a two-course menu is available, as well as a main course only option.
Book into a Superior Room (pictured above) for one night on the 12th, 13th or 14th of this month and your six-course degustation dinner is included, kicking off with a glass of Cuvee upon arrival. You’ll also enjoy artisan chocolates from Dangerous Chocolate, a long-stem rose for the sweeter of you two, and breakfast the next morning.
Barrel & Co. Bar & Grill at the five-star Pullman Rotorua hotel is offering a luxury three-course featuring Clevedon oysters, roasted chateaubriand, and sweet success dessert plate. Splash out and add a bottle of Prosecco for just $20 more.