The Story Of Whare Kea
A spirit of adventure and love of the Wanaka region lie at the heart of Whare Kea
Whare Kea is located on the shores of Lake Wanaka. The fourth largest lake in New Zealand, it is a vast mirror of clear blue waters reflecting the Southern Alps just beyond, home of globally recognised ski fields and the dramatic Mount Aspiring National Park.
Owners Martyn and Louise Myer, of the prominent Myer Melbourne retail family, first enjoyed the beauty of Wanaka while taking breaks here amidst the scenery, which changes through the seasons, as a contrast to their city lifestyle in Melbourne.
Set in a stand of silver birch, larch, Douglas fir, chestnut, oak and poplars, Whare Kea is situated on land that was part of a dairy farm settled by the Norman family in the 1850s, and straightaway immerses you in the peace of its surrounds. Many trips to Japan have led Martyn Myer to especially admire Japanese architecture, and the building reflects this with simple lines and floor-to-ceiling glass rooms looking outwards to the landscape. The villa also harmonises with local farm buildings, as creating a mood of authenticity was also important.
Even before the villa was completed, the Myers decided they would like to share Whare Kea with like-minded travellers. Over the last two decades they have successfully operated the lodge both as a family holiday escape and as a boutique hotel – 12 of those years as part of Relais & Chateaux, the European association of hotels and restaurants.
During this time, Whare Kea has been acknowledged with awards and accolades that most hoteliers would dream of. In 2004, the lodge received Relais & Chateaux’s Environment Design Award for Excellence, as a result of the Myers’ commitment to environmental sustainability. In 2012, Louise Myer’s book, WANAKA: Earth to Heaven at Whare Kea, with more than 40 recipes by James Stapley, was the winner for New Zealand of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, achieving fourth place worldwide. In 2013, Louise Myer was acknowledged as Relais & Chateaux “Woman of the Year”, due to her passion for regional cuisine and appreciation of Wanaka reflected in the book. Most recently, in 2014, HM Magazine named Whare Kea, “New Zealand Lodge of the Year.”
In 2015, the Myers have decided to return Whare Kea to its original roots offering it for the exclusive use of groups only, whether families or groups of friends wishing to soak up the splendour of the location. Guests staying at Whare Kea will be able to self cater, or choose to enjoy innovative dining as leading Wanaka based chefs will be on hand to create superb meals for guests, on request.
Additional services to compliment your stay are extensive & unlimited, making Whare Kea the perfect destination for those, like the Myer’s, desiring adventure with a deluxe twist.