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Mr and Mrs Smith’s Ten Best Long Weekend Stays

Get outta town while there's a day to spare.

By Mr & Mrs Smith
September 24, 2014
By Mr & Mrs Smith
September 24, 2014

Take advantage of the Labour Day holiday and get out of town. Dance the night away and recover in style at Establishment Hotel, indulge in award-winning food at Lake House or sample the best wine the Margaret River has to offer at Empire Retreat and Spa. Whether you go bush at Arkaba Station, swim with the manta rays at Pinctada Cable Beach or pamper yourself at Lyall Hotel and Spa, it will be a weekend well spent.

Establishment Hotel, Sydney

The building that holds the decadent Establishment Hotel is an all-in-one affair, with a two-hatted restaurant, nightclub, speakeasy and exclusive cocktail bar at your fingertips. For the ultimate opulent experience, book the top-floor Loft Penthouse or huge two-level Duplex Penthouse. Either way, you’ll want a room on the higher levels; the all-inclusive set-up means noise from the revellers downstairs is unavoidable. Head to .est on level one for a fine dining experience like no other, and continue the party with drinks at Hemmesphere, the luxurious cocktail lounge on level four. When the music calls, venture downstairs to Establishment Main Bar to dance until the early hours. Step outside the door to be in the heart of the city — the Harbour Bridge and Opera House are literally a hop, skip and a jump away.

Smith Extra: VIP access to Establishment’s lounge bar Hemmesphere, nightclub Ivy and Pool Club, and a bottle of sparkling wine.

QT Port Douglas, Qld

Soak up the spring sun at QT Port Douglas, the tropical getaway tucked away from the bustle of the main town. Lounge by the lagoon-shaped pool with a good book; the island deck will ensure you’re the centre of attention. Use the free guest bikes to explore the town or take the path down to Four Mile Beach for a leisurely ocean swim. Recover with a luxurious treatment at spaQ before spying on the shenanigans by the pool’s swim-up bar from the balcony of your One-Bedroom Pool View Villa. In winter and spring, QT also hosts Moonlight Cinema — enjoy a delicious snack while watching a classic or latest release on a state-of-the-art outdoor screen. Indulge with a meal at Bazaar, the resort’s main restaurant. The glass fridges hold fabulous produce that the chefs cook to order. Start with salad and seafood, before moving onto dishes from around the world (just make sure to leave room for dessert).

Smith Extra: A bottle of bubbly plus late check-out (12 noon).

Arkaba Station and Walk, Flinders Ranges

Find your inner farmer at Arkaba Station and Walk, a 60,000-acre homestead and sheep station. Nature is king here; watch for kangaroos and emus or listen for the pink-hued galahs flocking the trees around the property. The exclusive homestead has five rooms, meaning you can bring friends along for an adventure. Each room brings a little of the outdoors inside, with cowhide rugs and wool-sack-wrapped bedside tables. Escape the spring heat with a dip in the outdoor pool, admiring the view of Arkaba Creek, hills and bush. The more adventurous can book a three-night guided walk, sleeping in comfy campsite swag beds for two nights before a night at the station. Eat food made over the fire, have an alfresco bush shower and fall asleep with a sheepskin hot-water bottle keeping you warm.

Smith Extra: An assortment of Australian bush spices.

Pinctada Cable Beach, Broome

Perched between one of Australia’s most iconic beaches and the vast Kimberley, Pinctada Cable Beach delivers both beachside relaxation and rugged desert adventures. Rooms reference the town’s Asian heritage: the Honjin (meaning ‘most honoured guest’ in Japanese) Courtyard Suites share a serene courtyard and a plunge pool between four. Ocean adventurers can go swimming with manta rays on Cable Beach or take a camel ride along the white sand. Meanwhile, guests in search of rejuvenation can be pampered with an Aboriginal-influenced treatment at Pinctada Spa, which champions Li’Tya products and local plants and spices. Finish the day at Selene Brassiere, where the menu blends North African, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours with a taste of the Kimberley. Pair your meal with an excellent selection of Australian wines.

Smith Extra: A bottle of wine and canapes.

Lake House, Daylesford

The runner-up for Best Hotel Restaurant in the Smith Hotel Awards 2013, Lake House boasts an award-winning restaurant, rural lodge and a state-of-the-art spa just outside the rustic town of Daylesford. Indulge in a signature Salus Bliss treatment at the Salus Spa, or unwind in the hot mineral-water tubs looking over the lake. For a private experience, try the Spa Villa, which boasts a courtyard with a sunken hot tub and direct access to the lake. Sample the local produce at chef Alla Wolf-Tasker’s destination restaurant — almost everything on the menu is grown in the kitchen garden or in the region. Alla’s husband Allan is responsible for the paintings that adorn the interiors, adding a splash of exuberance to an otherwise tranquil space.

Smith Extra: Elemis spa products presented in a satin travel pouch.

Lyall Hotel and Spa, Melbourne

For a stylish mini-break with designer shopping on your doorstep, look no further than Lyall Hotel and Spa. The spacious one-bedroom suites are a sleek affair, resembling deluxe city apartments. For extra room, try the Platinum Suite — it comes with a living room, ensuite bathroom, double spa bath and full kitchen. You’ll find the space filling up after an afternoon in the boutiques of South Yarra; the credit card — and your legs — will be given a proper workout. Comfort your weary pins with a signature treatment at the hotel’s destination day spa, a three-storey space perfumed with mandarin and ylang-ylang. Unwind in one of two steam rooms or just relax in the indoor-outdoor area. Wear your latest purchase to the sexy Lyall Champagne Bar, an intimate space with a soundtrack of easy listening tunes. Choose between an apple crumble martini and a selection of champagne by the glass.

Smith Extra: A bottle of Chandon NV on arrival.

Empire Retreat and Spa, Margaret River

While the weekend away at the slick Empire Retreat and Spa, smack-bang in the centre of Margaret River wine country. Tour the onsite vineyard and sample the estate’s chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, the region’s dominant varieties. Sip a glass in front of the open fireplace in a Luxury Villa or have a shower in your private courtyard. There’s no pool, but a secluded Jacuzzi should satisfy your watery whims. Achieve full relaxation with a treatment at Empire Spa — the three-hour Opulence session lives up to its name with an exfoliation, wrap, massage, bath and facial. There’s no restaurant, but the communal kitchen in the heart of the property is open to guests, meaning you can whip up a meal to match your wine. You can find excellent examples of the local offerings at Moss Wood, Cullen Wines and Leeuwin Estate.

Smith Extra: A bottle of Empire Estate wine and a cheese plate.

Saffire, Tas

Just minutes from the azure water and white sand of Wineglass Bay, Saffire goes back to nature with a blend of stone and timber, beach views and locally sourced food and wine. For the ultimate in private comfort, book one of four Private Pavilions — they each have their own courtyard plunge pool, spacious living and bedroom areas, a front deck and a kitchen where a hotel chef can rustle something up for you. Room rates also include a treatment at Spa Saffire, so you’d be silly not to visit. The facials in the Jewel Collection are particularly special — all of the therapists have been trained by celebrity facialist Marionne De Candia. Other free activities include exploring the secret life of oysters at Freycinet Marine Farm, learning about the local produce with the hotel’s award-winning chef or quad biking around the wetlands.

Smith Extra: A bottle of champagne.

The Australasian Circa 1858, Fleurieu Peninsula

With the facade of a heritage pub and graced with light, Asian-inspired interiors, The Australasian Circa 1858 offers the weariest of weekenders an intimate and stylish retreat from reality. The Parlour Room whispers extravagance with a huge tub in a step-up area of the bedroom, perfect for a spot of reading and relaxing. This adults-only sanctuary specialises in fine dining, with co-owner and head chef Juliet Mitchell preparing meals with an Asian theme. The restaurant is only open to guests (except Saturday night), but for extra privacy, dine in your room. The hotel is only open from Wednesday to Sunday each week, but its location makes it a perfect stopover before continuing onto Kangaroo Island — only a 45-minute ferry ride away.

Smith Extra: A tasting selection of ales from the Steam Exchange Brewery at Goolwa Wharf

Kingsford Homestead, Barossa Valley, SA

Put your station-owner hat on at Kingsford Homestead, an historic estate with an impressive cellar in the Barossa Valley. The rooms are named after the former owners of the property — the Kerry Packer suite catches the afternoon sunshine and has a gorgeous claw-foot bath tub, and the Stephen King suite (named after the founder, not the famous author) is perfect for families as it connects to the John Angas Suite. There’s no pool, but the alfresco bush bath, located in a secluded corner of the grounds, is big enough for two. Follow up with an in-room massage or facial — but be sure to book in advance. Local produce dominates the menu here; chef Stuart Oldfield has developed strong relationships with local farmers. The menu changes by the season, but the wine will always be Barossa. Enjoy drinks and canapes on the veranda while watching the resident kangaroos have their dinner.

Smith Extra: A picnic hamper.

Browse other long weekend stays, or contact Smith’s expert Travel Team on 1300 896 627.

Published on September 24, 2014 by Mr & Mrs Smith
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