The lap of luxury: FQ reviews their stay at The Lindis

19 July 2023
By Fashion Quarterly

The FQ team discovers a place in the middle of nowhere that’s everything, everywhere, all at once.

We’re about two-and-a-half hours out of Queenstown when we turned off the highway onto a gravel road framed by hills and tussock-y grass. Our destination was The Lindis, and a short while later, we barely noticed we’d arrived. The lodge is set so discreetly into the Ahuriri Valley, Canterbury landscape, it almost looks as if it’s just another hill. It looks as if it’s been there forever.

That was the idea, says The Lindis Group managing director William Hudson. “It’s accessible remoteness.” He’s right. I felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, but 24 hours later, I understood that The Lindis has everything you can possibly want or need.

Opened in 2018, the high-end lodge is incredibly private, with just eight bedrooms — two master suites, three lodge suites and three glass pods. The FQ team was there for a fashion shoot and generously invited to stay. Moving through the entryway lined with black Barbour gumboots in every size, we were greeted with champagne in the dining room — a sunlit space that showcases the lodge’s incredible mountain view.

Next, we were led to our luxurious rooms. Mine, the master suite, didn’t disappoint. How could it? Everything in it has been purposefully positioned to face that expansive panorama; it almost felt holy. Keen to see more of the property, I asked lodge manager Jonathan Mazzucco to take me for a ride.

As we drove along the dusty roads dotted with native matagouri trees, hawks and falcons swooped overhead. Jonathan pointed out the mountains looming ahead of us by name — Mt St Mary and further up Mt Barth, the biggest and snowyest of them all. He told me that if we kept driving, we’d eventually find the Spade Line, the meeting point between Canterbury and Otago.

We stopped at a tiny woolshed, where once inside I happily inhaled the lanolin that has seeped into the old wooden floorboards after more than a century of farming; sheep from neighbouring farms are still shorn here today. The woolshed’s timber beams are branded with the year 1890, but funnily enough, it’s from here the lodge’s wifi is beamed.

That night, we dined like queens on dishes including crispy duck and the lightest white-chocolate soufflé imaginable, all paired with wine that we chased with a before-bed port. The service at The Lindis is unparalleled; the staff seem almost invisible — until you need something, and then they magically appear. Had I thought ahead, I’d have booked a soak in the outdoor hot tub, in which you can relax while marvelling at the Milky Way unfettered by city lights, but with a 5am call time for our shoot the next morning, early to bed was the order of the day.

Rising before dawn, we criss-crossed the property from 6am till 4pm, every location more breathtaking than the last. Despite being away from the lodge, the staff hadn’t forgotten us, either. Breakfast was prepared, packed and delivered, as were hot beverages for morning tea. We kept in contact via radio, so when it was time for lunch, we headed back to the sun-drenched dining room and were completely cared for.

Given all the activities The Lindis offers and can customise for its guests as part of The Lindis Experience, I wished I had more time there. Their Canyon Creek hike is hugely popular, as are the e-bike rides, horse riding, fly fishing on the Ahuriri River and premium picnics. There’s something for every personality; thrill-seekers can helicopter to the top of a mountain to go skiing, if they’re that way inclined. Instead, we headed back out to finish shooting — this time with two incredible horses joining our beautiful model.

Before we departed, William told me that at one point last winter, the snow was so deep The Lindis guests had to bunker down and stay an extra night or two until the roads were cleared. I silently prayed for snow, but got the impression that if The Lindis could conjure it up for us on request, they would.

Words: Sarah Murray
Photography: Benn Jae


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Fashion Quarterly Winter 2023 Cover
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