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Australia – Romantic stays for Valentine's Day

Great places for a little romance any time of the year

By Winsor Dobbin
MONA Pavilions at Moorilla in Tasmania

MONA Pavilions at Moorilla in Tasmania [©Moorilla]

Kudos at the Vines on the Mornington Peninsula
Seppeltsfield Vineyard Cottage in the Barossa Valley
Casa Luna, King Valley, Victoria
Cape Lodge, Margaret River, Western Australia

 

Thinking of romance this Valentine's Day? Or just a romantic escape for any time of the year? There is something special about waking up to the sight of grape vines from your bedroom window. Wine and travel writer Winsor Dobbin reveals some of his favourite places to stay in vineyards; ranging from self-catering cottages to luxury resorts.

Seppeltsfield Vineyard Cottage – Barossa Valley

A luxuriously appointed heritage cottage in the heart of the Barossa vines. Owners Peter Milhinch and Sharyn Rogers, who make wines under the Milhinch Wines label, offer a personalised service and the cottage has an appealing rustic chic ambience. There are also modern luxuries on hand, including a Bose entertainment system, iPod docking station, king bed with white linen, espresso machine and a lovely modern bathroom with double shower, underfloor heating, deep rainwater bath and French doors which open to vineyard views. The cottage even has its own wine cellar while the excellent Appellation at The Louise, one of regional Australia’s best restaurants, is just a couple of minutes away. It pays to book well in advance here.

Phone: (08) 8563 4059

 

Kudos at the Vines – Mornington Peninsula

A sexy new retreat designed for couples that was only opened in August 2010, Kudos overlooks the vines at Red Hill and is a perfect base for exploring the many nearby cellar doors. Set on 20 acres with more than six acres of pinot gris, chardonnay, pinot noir and gewürztraminer vines, Kudos offers four luxury studio apartments: Kudos Devine, Kudos Tonic, Kudos Essence and Kudos Sparkling. Spa baths, iPod docks and big-screen TVs highlight the luxury element but it is also relaxing to sit on the deck and take in the views. The furnishings are stylish and it is tempting to open a bottle while relaxing in the love seat. A massage therapist is on hand to add to the indulgence. Everything needed for self-catering is provided, but the routinely excellent The Long Table restaurant is just a two-minute drive away.

Phone: 1300 579 933

 

Cape Lodge – Margaret River

Known as the best boutique hotel in the region, Cape Lodge sits on its own vineyard within 20 hectares of manicured grounds on the edge of a small forest. There are 22 luxurious suites, a two-bedroom self-contained cottage and a private residence. The spa suites, overlooking a small lake, are furnished with all life’s little luxuries and the on-site restaurant, which is open for breakfast and lunch, is top-notch (non residents are welcome if the restaurant is not fully booked). There’s a 14,000 bottle cellar. The original homestead contains the lobby, a guest drawing room, gift shop, an executive boardroom and the luxury Lodge Suite while all rooms feature private en suites, air-conditioning, TV, DVD, alarm clocks and CD players.

Phone: (08) 9755 6311

 

Little Orchard Cottage – Hunter Valley

The original homestead of the Tallavera Grove property in Mount View has been transformed into a stylish guest cottage by Sally Molines, wife of renowned Hunter restaurateur Robert Molines. The two bedroom/two bathroom, self-contained cottage overlooks rolling hills and vines but has all the comforts of home. Bacon, eggs from the family’s chickens, fresh local breads, juices and fruit from the little orchard (hence the name!) are provided for a leisurely self-cooked breakfast. Bistro Molines and the Tallavera Grove cellar door are just a short stroll away and, as an added luxury, Robert can provide picnic baskets or light suppers for in-house dinners by the cosy wood fire.

Phone (02) 4990 9553

 

Burnbrae Cottage – Mudgee

The perfect choice for wine lovers who really like to get away from it all. Located eight kilometres out of Mudgee on Hill End Road in the Erudgere Valley, Burnbrae Cottage is within spitting distance of three wineries with the Burnbrae cellar door right next door and Thistle Hill just across the road. The two-bedroom cottage is rustic and quite basic, but also charming and comfortable. There’s a well-equipped kitchen, an open fire in winter and veranda for the summer months. Country breakfast provisions are provided. Sit on the deck and enjoy a late afternoon drink while watching the wildlife.

Phone: (02) 6373 3504

 

MONA Pavilions – Tasmania

Just 20 minutes outside of Hobart, overlooking the Derwent River and surrounded on three sides by the Moorilla Estate vines, MONA’s eight accommodation pavilions all feature artworks from the collection of owner David Walsh and are named after prominent 20th-century architects and painters. The pavilions are ultra high-tech with wireless touch panels that control everything from room temperature to audiovisual systems. All pavilions offer 24/7 concierge services, spa baths, king-size beds with pure cotton bedding, individual wine cellars, iPod docks, Wi-Fi, Blu-ray disc players and satellite TV, along with access to the sauna, gymnasium and pool. The recently opened MONA Museum and The Source restaurant share the same site, along with the Moorilla Estate cellar door and wine bar and the Moo Brew micro brewery.

Phone: (03) 6277 9900

 

Belgravia Cottage – Orange

The perfect choice for wine lovers who enjoy solitude but want to be close to Orange’s many cellar doors and restaurants. Surrounded by farmland and the Belgravia vineyards (it is in the middle of the shiraz block), it’s 23 kilometres out of town, off the road to Forbes, and caters for anywhere from a couple to a family of six in a queen room, twin room and bunk room. There’s a TV, VCR and DVD player but you are more likely to spend time on the verandah taking in the views. There’s an open fire for the cooler winter months. Breakfast provisions include home-made bread and jams, and farm eggs.

Phone: (02) 6365 0663

 

Mercure Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort and Spa – Yarra Valley

Ideal for those who want to be onsite at a working/winery and cellar door, this is one of the most popular weekend destinations in the Yarra. A small resort with just 65 rooms and suites, the Mercure Yarra Valley Balgownie features stylish vineyard accommodation along with the Natskin day spa, pool, fitness centre, Rae’s Restaurant and a tasting facility. All the big names of the valley are within a short drive.

Phone: (03) 9730 0700

 

Casa Luna – North-East Victoria

Milawa and the King Valley offer a treasure trove of wine and food discoveries, and there is no better base from which to explore the region than Casa Luna at Myrrhee. With views over the Symphonia vineyards, this stylish and elegant mini guesthouse is the perfect base for exploration of the local vineyards and cellar doors. There are just two architect-designed suites and host Gwenda Canty serves sumptuous three-course dinners on request. A tranquil retreat in the foothills of Victoria’s High Country.

Phone(03) 5729 7650

 

The Vineyard Cottage – Adelaide Hills

Part of the Chain of Ponds winery complex outside Gumeracha, this historic 1880s stone cottage retains its old-world charm while offering modern comforts and is surrounded by vines and gum trees. It has four double bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and a spa along with barbecue facilities, a fully equipped kitchen, dining room, open fireplace, TV, video and stereo. Prices include breakfast provisions and a bottle of wine.

Phone: (08) 8389 1415

 

 
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