First published on 28 Mar 2011. Updated on 18 Feb 2014.
Alla Wolf-Tasker’s Lake House in the heart of spa country in Daylesford is regional Victoria’s most awarded boutique hotel for good reason: the accommodation, food, wine and spa treatments on offer exceed expectations. In fact, given the Order of Australia medallists’ list of personal and property commendations across food and accommodation, there’s enough reason to visit the Lake House for its food as much as its quaint guestrooms. If you book in early, line-up a treatment in the property’s Salus Spa, also a winner of numerous Awards and always stay for at least two nights, because one is just never enough.
Peppers Moonah Links is a resort that makes for an ideal stay, even if you’re not into golf - although the course at the property was designed by five-time British Open Champion, Peter Thomson. This 5-star resort is the best property on the Mornington Peninsula and commands a dominating position among the dunes and near rugged ocean cliffs. The property's suites have a stunning overlook the course and gardens, and the food at Pebbles Restaurant is up there with the region's best. Peppers are well known for their attention to detail nationally (and in NZ) this property is one of the best examples of what you can expect from the brand. As expected, weekends can get expensive - thanks to a lack of luxury accommodation on the Peninsula - but you can be sure to bag a good mid-week deal for a naughty escape.
In the Australian high country, the village of Falls Creek alone stands out for its range of high-end lodges, resorts and apartments, from both a design and service perspective. Featuring a spread of rooms – from studios to a split-level four-bedroom penthouse – Huski offers the most unique digs in the village, with 14 different lodgings, all light-filled and offering views over the valley. Resembling a snowflake from the air, Huski’s award-winning design stands out – Awards say it is literally the finest in the skifields – and with the quality of finishings in the rooms, you could be mistaken for thinking you’re bedding down at one of Melbourne’s top hotels.
Okay, so Werribee might technically still be part of greater Melbourne, but from a visitors’ perspective, it’s out of town. The grand old Mansion, formerly flagged under the Sofitel banner, boasts not just spacious, contemporary rooms, but an award-winning spa, some visually spectacular gardens to stroll around and a zoo next door. Polo’s played out here quite regularly, so if you time it right, you might catch a game that’s as grand in play as the hotel itself.
The Yarra Valley is only a 45-minute drive from Melbourne, so if you’re planning more than two nights in the Victorian capital, then take the time to escape the vines for a vintage wine and golfing escape. The best place for just that is The Sebel Yarra Valley Resort & Spa. Okay, not everyone will want to play a round on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course, but nearby to the resort is a plethora of great wineries, including Coldstream Hills, Chandon and Yering Station amongst others. Make sure you book in for a day spa treatment and save enough room for dinner at Bella restaurant.