Lilypad mark II: Pittwater, Sydney, floating holiday house rebuilt after fire

Having eight years of passionate work literally go up in smoke might defeat the most tenacious of dreamers.

But for the couple who opened Lilypad, a floating luxury villa moored in Pittwater off glamorous Palm Beach in Sydney's Northern Beaches, in 2018, the fire that destroyed it in 2020 just made them dream stronger.

"It took us all those years of hard work, designing, securing the site, meeting all the required engineering specs, etc, so we could have a registered commercial charter vessel. To lose it was devastating," says Lilypad co-owner Chuck Anderson who, along with his wife, Ashlea Watkins, had already been making plans to do more floating accommodation.

So when they had to face starting again, they "knew we wanted to come back, but we didn't want to come back to where we were. We wanted to come back with something bigger and better".

The result is Lilypad mark two, moored in the same location, but amped up on its predecessor on every front. Think a cross between a superyacht and a tiny house – though not so tiny. It has a loft bedroom - as is the tiny house standard - but the kitchen, for instance, is bigger than many an apartment's and comes with a Vintec wine fridge.

The bathroom isn't your average boat or tiny-home latrine either, and there's an infrared sauna as well as an outdoor shower and private diving and mooring platform.

The foundation of Lilypad is a pontoon base with catamaran-style below-water mechanisms for stability and strength. Anderson's inspirations come from a marine engineering background, as well as a childhood peppered with family boating holidays spent tootling around Pittwater.

The pitch-roofed, sustainable stay has a Mediterranean-meets-Pueblo aesthetic, and comes with an glam inclusions and billable add-ons. There are gourmet meals and a bottle of champagne provided, but you can, for instance, have a chef come on board as well as a masseuse. For extra swish, tick the box for a seaplane arrival.

Lilypad sleeps two – and it's already seen a marriage proposal or two – but it's also capable of hosting 12 people for a sit-down meal or 18 for a standing function.

Anderson says there's a booking for an "elopement wedding" on the books. Pity those who miss out on that guest list.