It’s the understatement of the century to say that luxury tourism has had a tough time of it lately. But for William Hudson, managing director of The Lindis Group, there have been a number of positives to emerge from the last couple of years — and for now, the future looks bright.
The Lindis Group is redefining luxury accommodation in New Zealand. From its exceptional service to its world class properties, which include The Lindis in South Canterbury’s Ahuriri Valley and Mt Isthmus in Lake Hāwea, The Lindis Group has made a swift and considerable impact in New Zealand’s tourism space, much of which can be attributed to its South Island presence.
Operating from a place of honouring the land, capitalising on natural wonders and keeping its footprint to a minimum, the group’s properties are designed to blend seamlessly into their surroundings. Similarly, its hospitality promises to connect guests to the sense of calm quietude that can be garnered from a return to nature — think locally-sourced, seasonal food and wines, breathtaking alfresco activities like hikes, fishing and horseback riding and rooms that open out onto impossibly beautiful landscapes. This extends to the highly-personalised service offered to every guest, which prides itself on curated experiences that can be tailored to suit individual needs.
This means, of course, that luxury remains at the heart of everything The Lindis Group does, which has seen it become hugely popular with local and international tourists alike. And when circumstances stopped the latter from crossing our borders, it was support from the former that the group’s Managing Director, William Hudson, says he was especially struck by.
“I like to dwell on the positives,” Hudson explains, “and it’s been quite incredible. Kiwis were able to reacquaint themselves with some of the world class options in their own backyard and I think there was a realisation of how lucky we are here.” For Hudson, the disruption to his industry offered a time to turn inward and examine how The Lindis Group could improve and evolve. “We had some critical people join the team and looking at where we are now from two years ago, there have been significant improvements to our service and to the scope of experience we can offer, which is fantastic.”
The group’s most recent opening is Mt Isthmus, a sole-use villa nestled on a narrow strip of land between Lake Wanaka and Lake Hāwea. Designed by Tony Butel to mimic the jagged mountains by which it sits, the property promises an unparalleled immersion into a part of the South Island that feels totally untouched. This focus on location is a huge part of why The Lindis Group’s particular brand of hospitality is so magical and is something that Hudson says has been crucial for a few upcoming projects that are still in early stages (watch this space). “We’re always looking for new opportunities,” he divulges, “but everything we do will always be focused on big views, incredible locations, unique design and obviously just really authentic hospitality.”
“One of the most important things we’ve realised over this time,” Hudson continues, “is that the most memorable experiences are sometimes the most simple, like a day spent fly-fishing followed by a simple picnic lunch overlooking the river and mountains… being outside and being able to take in the environment… that’s what most of our guests want.” Escaping the noise of the everyday to sit privately in nature has become the ultimate luxury, and The Lindis Group has positioned itself perfectly to offer just that.
As far as the future is concerned, Hudson is confident about what is to come. “I strongly believe that New Zealand offers the best value tourism in the world,” he says, “and we’ve noticed how clients are returning to us, even when they have the option of heading overseas again.” Now that borders are softening and airlines are reopening flights (including, we hope the much-anticipated New Zealand-to-New York direct route) The Lindis Group is in the strongest position it has ever been to welcome new guests. “We’re so committed to furthering this industry here in New Zealand,” Hudson explains, “and I’m just really looking forward to what’s next and to showing off what we think is the best destination in the world.”