Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles sat down with Jacqui Spice of Touch of Spice to discuss her favorite must-do activities in New Zealand and more.
AA: You’re regarded as one of the best curators for New Zealand events and experiences. Can you give us a brief introduction to Touch of Spice?
JS: Touch of Spice craft and curate experiences for discerning clients traveling to and from New Zealand. For 10 years we have been putting together innovative & luxurious family holidays, creating & organizing personal celebrations, and curating once in a lifetime events & immersive New Zealand experiences. We have an “anything is possible, never say no attitude” and are well recognized around the world as the go-to-company in New Zealand for luxury events and experiences.
AA: With so many economic advances around the globe, are there requests you’re seeing recently that were completely unheard of just a few years ago?
JS: Health and wellbeing are becoming increasingly popular within society and as a result wellness retreats are being incorporated into luxury itineraries more regularly. In addition, now that we live in a digital age, our clients are looking for an experience where they can completely “unplug”. This has meant the likes of luxury glamping in remote locations have becoming a real favourite. Still having the luxuries of modern life such as a private chef, warm bath and comfortable bed, all while being immersed in some of New Zealand’s most beautiful native bush.
AA: How do you define the ultimate luxury and comfort in travel?
JS: Having someone do the planning, the research and the booking for you, so all you have to do is arrive. The ultimate holidays are the ones which combine complete indulgence and relaxation, along with exquisite food, wine and surroundings all the while enjoyed with friends and family.
AA: If a first-time visitor could only see five of the many wonders in New Zealand, what should they be?
- This is definitely a hard one to answer! In summer the Bay of Islands is a must do experience; beautiful white sandy beaches, delicious fresh seafood and the most amazing sunsets! In particular Cape Reinga, which is the northern most point of New Zealand and is a very special place in Maori culture.
- Rotorua has something to offer all year round and is also the heartland for Maori culture, making it a very historical location. Taking a helicopter trip to White Island is a stunning experience, being one of the only active volcanos you can fly to and land on and the views are absolutely breath-taking. Mountain Biking is also big in Rotorua and there are some amazing trails through the forests.
- Not only is it country’s capital Wellington is also the culture capital of New Zealand. It’s the number one destination for amazing food, coffee and art! It is the home of the world famous Weta Workshop and Te Papa museum, making Wellington a must see location for the lover of all things creative.
- For anyone with an ounce of adventure, Queenstown is not to be missed. Known as the adrenalin capital of New Zealand, it has a wealth of activities right on its doorstep. All while not forgetting its majestic lakes and alpine beauty, cosmopolitan shopping, award winning food and wine, buzzing nightlife and friendly hospitality.
- To experience a world like no other a helicopter trip to Milford Sound is an absolute must see. Milford is truly an untouched world of pure beauty, worlds honestly can’t describe it!
AA: You’ve recently got engaged – What are your top 5 tips for making your wedding a day to remember? And for all the right reasons!
- The people – inviting great people you really like and love engaging with, not distant cousins and relatives you never see or talk to!
- The environment – try to not get too caught up in the details and too stressed out at the small stuff, focus on staying relaxed and enjoying the day.
- The dress – take your time picking a beautiful dress that suits you, after all you want to feel amazing on the day.
- The food & wine – feeding people amazing food is really important and of course plenty of wine to go around, don’t scrimp on this part!
- The photographer – one of the most important parts and another area I wouldn’t scrimp on, you really want to keep those memories forever and after the big day they are what you have to remember it by.
AA: Touch of Spice focuses on creating bespoke events for their clients. What’s the most outlandish event you’ve ever curated for a client?
JS: We have had a number of outlandish requests at Touch of Spice but in regards to events it was converting a concrete-industrial-type space into a beautiful breath-taking wedding venue. It took us 3 days to complete and the the transformation was incredible. We had nothing but grey to deal with and a lot of creativity was required to turn it into what most people thought was some sort of elegant tent. We covered the ceiling in soft fabric, the walls in velvet, and the concrete floors in soft baby blue carpet to give it a really lush feel. We hung chandeliers from the roof and used handmade table linen to soften the whole space. We created a stage for the bride and groom to sit on in “King and Queen” chairs and sourced exquisite furniture to create spaces and had mirrors hung around the structure to give that allure of a huge elegant dining room. It was incredible and blew everyone away.
AA: Where do you go to recharge after a large event?
JS: That’s simple, I usually head to the spa for some well-deserved R&R and disconnect off for a day!