LimeTree Lodge: Luxury NZ Accommodation run by two women
Lisa Pollen writes in the The Travel Editor
Lime Tree Lodge, Wanaka, New Zealand
Lime Tree Lodge is as sweet as its name suggests. Located just outside the adventure paradise of Wanaka, in the South Island, it’s so incredibly pretty I feel as though I should be wearing my most summery, flowery sundress and have petals in my hair as I skip through the front door.
I’m already on top of the world after the most spectacular drive yet during my trip to New Zealand – and there’s stiff competition. The journey down the West Coast from the glaciers, then inland through the Haast Pass, Mount Aspiring National Park and down towards the Southern Alps encompassed four hours of thrilling alpine scenery and magnificent lakes, all sprinkled with a generous dose of sunshine. Lime Tree Lodge is the icing on the cake after our adventures, which took us through steep gorges and lush rainforest, past racing rivers and waterfalls. It could easily have taken twice as long had we have stopped at even a fraction of the photo-worthy opportunities.
But enough about the drive. Now we have reached our home for the next couple of nights, set in 10 acres of land just minutes outside the relaxed, lakeside resort of Wanaka. It was built as a lodge in 2002 and taken over by Sally Carwardine and Rebecca Butts in 2004, who are gracious, welcoming hosts. Our room is named the Linden Suite after the Linden, or lime tree. It is spacious and elegantly decorated with crisp linens, fresh flowers and billowing white curtains that beckon you through French doors onto a small private terrace. There’s a good bathroom stocked with delectable Linden Leaves toiletries and we find homebaked chocolate cookies and local cheese thoughtfully placed in our fridge. In the modern, large communal lounge there’s an open fire and shelves stacked with Home & Garden magazines, books, CDs and DVDs which you can take to your room.
The lodge wouldn’t be out of place in Provence, and that’s where I’m reminded of as I sip a glass of chardonnay on the terrace and admire neat rose and lavender scented gardens, where white butterflies flutter and bees rummage for pollen. Smartly trimmed hedges form a wall around a swimming pool and shaded hot tub. But the snow capped Alps in the distance assure me I’m in New Zealand’s South Island and haven’t been transported to the South of France. Sally and Rebecca makes guests feel at home and are only too happy to advise on local attractions and restaurants, but they are also discreet and leave us to our own devices, which we are grateful for. We take a dip in the pool and play at being Tiger Woods (minus the transgressions) on the lodge’s five-hole pitch-and-putt golf course. He’d be sure to appreciate the on-site helipad, too.
In the evening we meet the handful of other guests – there are only six rooms in all – over a complimentary aperitif before heading into town. Dinner at Missy’s Kitchen is excellent, and we happily tuck into seafood followed by sirloin steak and venison while ooh-ing and aah-ing at the breathtaking lake and mountain views. I can also recommend the Trout Bar for a tasty, informal lunch, and Botswana Butchery, where we dined on our second night. My whitebait to start, simply fried with garlic, chilli and lemon was superb, and eye fillet steak practically melted in the mouth. Exceptional ambience, flawless service; I was extremely impressed.
In the morning, our hosts back at the lodge serve us poached eggs – from their own hens, of course – and bacon outside on the sunny terrace, accompanied by Rebecca’s delicious homemade tomato chutney, and they direct us on a walk to Diamond Lake. It’s a 15-minute drive out of town and then a steep, challenging walk up to a lookout point, but it’s well worth the effort as we’re rewarded with such jaw-dropping scenery. The stuff dreams are made of, as is the entire experience of staying at Lime Tree Lodge.
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