Pride of place: The most luxurious places to stay for the Lions 2017 tour of New Zealand
Portfolio's pick of the best resorts, lodges and hotels for rugby fans to enjoy the tournament in comfort
The British and Irish Lions are shortly heading south on a tour of rugby-mad New Zealand. Behind them all the way will be their legion of devoted supporters, keen to couple a glorious festival of rugby with a trip to one of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes on Earth.
The Lions have not won a series against the mighty All Blacks since 1971 and to do so this time they will have to become the first team to beat New Zealand in Auckland for 23 years.
The task is daunting, but with England currently on an exceptional run and poised to break New Zealand's record of 18 consecutive wins, there are reasons to believe this year's vintage – representing the cream of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales – may be able to do it.
So where should you stay while you are on tour? Here is Portfolio's pick of some of the best resorts, lodges and hotels New Zealand has to offer, all near the stadiums the Lions will be visiting.
Near AMI Stadium
Hapuku Lodge and Treehouses, Kaikoura, South Island
Treehouses reach new heights of luxury at Hapuku Lodge, where every detail has been lovingly considered. In a canopy of manuka trees 32ft above the ground, guests emerge to breathtaking views of Kaikoura's dramatic mountains and Pacific coastline.
Clad in native woods and copper shingles, the treehouses give visitors the feeling they're sleeping in the treetops, nestled into the environment. A trip to the nearby coast offers encounters with dusky dolphins, albatrosses and whales.
Hapuku Lodge is a 2hr 40min drive from AMI Stadium.
How: A one-bedroom treehouse starts from £586 per night based on two people sharing and includes a three-course dinner and breakfast. For more information, visit hapukulodge.com
Seascape, Annandale Luxury Villas, Banks Peninsula, South Island
Nestled between the rolling hills of the Banks Peninsula and the sparkling water of the Pacific, Seascape offers romantic luxury in a private picturesque bay. The ultra-modern retreat is designed with a turf roof, stone walls and glass facade, while inside lies a king-size bed, living area and fireplace – and an amazing sea view, letting guests sit and watch dolphins and seals frolicking in the glistening water.
The secluded retreat can be accessed by helicopter or a 40-minute transfer across clifftop farm tracks.
Seascape is a 1hr 30min drive from AMI Stadium.
How: Seascape starts from £1,658 per night based on two people sharing. For more information, visit www.annandale.com
Near Toll Stadium
Eagles Nest, Russell, Bay of Islands
Awarded an accolade for one of the World's best cliff-edge pools, Rahimoana Villa at Eagles Nest offers an 82ft horizon-edge pool. From its hilltop perch, guests can take in 320-degree views of the beautiful Bay of Islands.
The villa epitomises modern elegance with soft shades of pale grey and white throughout, while the floor-to-ceiling windows offer spectacular views for guests to enjoy throughout the day and into the evening.
Daybeds located on the terrace are also the perfect spot for relaxation while sunbathing and listening to the sea.
Eagles Nest is a 1hr 35min drive from Toll Stadium.
How: Rahimoana Villa costs from £7,400 per night. For more information, visit www.eaglesnest.co.nz
Near Eden Park
Bushland Park Lodge & Retreat, Whangamata
Set in five acres of gardens, Bushland Park Lodge & Retreat sits above the white sandy beaches of Whangamata in the Coromandel Peninsula, a verdant jewel surrounded by forest, native ferns and rolling hills.
It can accommodate up to three couples at a time and each suite is spacious, with an en-suite bathroom, separate luggage and wardrobe areas and ample sleeping and living space in the main area. Sophisticated menus prepared by a private chef are also available.
Bushland Park & Lodge is a 2hr 10min drive from Eden Park.
How: Bushland Park Lodge & Retreat costs from NZD$750 (£424) per night on a bed & breakfast basis. For more information, visit www.bushlandparklodge.co.nz
Near Rotorua International Stadium
Peppers on the Point, Rotorua
Peppers on the Point is a sumptuous nine-suite luxury lodge in Rotorua, offering panoramic lake views, spacious suites and fine wine and dining experiences.
A relaxed atmosphere reflects the calming lake upon which the lodge sits and allows guests to unwind in comfort.
The former 1930s mansion has plenty of charm, with each suite offering an inviting lounge area, en-suite bathroom and spa bath with communal lounge with an open fireplace.
Peppers on the Point is a 10min drive from the Rotorua Stadium.
How: Peppers on the Point costs from $600 NZD (£340) per night. For more information, visit www.peppers.co.nz