Mr and Mrs Smith’s Ten Best Winter Warmer Retreats in Australia and NZ
The boutique hotel experts have some special offers to help you make the most of winter.
July 13, 2014
Cosy up by the fire sipping Margaret River cabernet at Empire Retreat and Spa or embrace Sydney’s industrial past at 1888 Hotel. Either way, you’ll be chasing away winter blues and indulging at each of these top ten Mr & Mrs Smith hotels in Australia and New Zealand. Stay three nights (or more) to save 30 percent on stays until the end of September — but get in quick; these exclusive offers must be booked by July 31.
Overlooking Lake Burley Griffin in the cultural heart of Canberra, Hotel Hotel is the designer pad you’ve always wanted — on a greater scale. Out of the 68 individually styled rooms, the Meandering Rooms are by far the biggest and best, with a tub for two and double rain showers. Housed in the Nishi Building in NewActon, the hotel is part of a new development that combines contemporary art, landscaped gardens and the bespoke modern living that’s becoming popular in Australia. The courtyard cinema is closed in winter, but don’t fret: you can still get your arthouse cinematic fix at Palace Electric, just downstairs.
A tapestry of vines and veggie patches surrounds this handsome hotel in the Hunter Valley. Spicers Vineyards Estate is just two hours from Sydney and draws on its location to provide you with a romantic, culinary-themed getaway. Here, fresh regional produce teamed with the latest vintages (featuring grapes harvested from the estate’s vines) will have you mellow in no time. An added bonus is Spa Anise, where you can replenish mind, body and soul with organic honey-and-cocoa treatments or hot-stone massages. Ground-floor King Spa Rooms open onto an inviting verandah: first-floor rooms will earn you views all the way to the Brokenback Mountain Range. For cosy nights by the fire, opt for a Luxury Spa Suite.
Bright pops of colour and retro furniture complete the Miami-esque feel at QT Gold Coast. Just a stone’s throw away from Surfers Paradise beach, you can soak up some sun and set yourself free from the weight of those winter woollies. Sample international cuisine at Bazaar, the hotel’s restaurant, styled with a bustling marketplace in mind. All rooms are fun and flirty with bonus DIY lemonade kits, but the QT King Ocean View rooms take the cake with seascape vistas and surfer-spotting potential. The Gold Coast is known for being a party playground, so join in the fun at the hotel’s bar, Stingray, where cocktails flow in an industrial-chic setting. Eveningwear is a must when the sun goes down: no board shorts allowed.
Situated in the vibrant St Kilda precinct in Melbourne, The Prince Hotel is an edgy designer’s dream. Its modern, contemporary rooms feature timber floors, artfully placed throws and stand-alone bath tubs for peaceful soaks. You’ll get 30 percent off the Boutique and Deluxe rooms here, so take those savings and sample some of the fantastic restaurants that St Kilda has to offer. Stroll past nearby Acland Street for delectable treats at Monarch Cakes or sample the menu at the hotel’s restaurant, Circa, which champions seasonal eating using the freshest produce from Victorian and Australian farmers. If you fall in love with any of the artworks adorning the walls, you might be able to take them home (for a price, of course). The walls, curated by Utopian Slumps’ Melissa Loughnan, allow art to be seen in a more social, everyday environment.
A mountain retreat on the Scenic Rim of Queensland, Spicers Peak Lodge is a place where you can surround yourself in nature without sacrificing luxurious comforts. Set on a 9000-acre cattle station, the hotel has bushwalking and mountain bike trails for adventurous types and gourmet picnics on offer too. Five of the seven luxury lodge suites have warming stone fireplaces, perfect to snuggle by on a winter’s eve. The earthy, natural tones are calming and fuss-free, drawing you outwards to the natural beauty of the area. Dining at the lodge is a must. The cuisine highlights seasonal and organic produce, including honey, which stars in delicacies such as the chocolate, caramel popcorn and honeycomb dessert.
A relaxing oasis among the southern wilderness of Western Australia, Empire Retreat and Spa combines a level of luxury and seclusion among the gum trees. The retreat’s villas and suites are set in and around a restored farmhouse — once the owner’s family home. Both rustic and modern interiors work well with timber and natural stone accents that celebrate the beauty of the surrounding native bushland. The main house has an open fireplace, timber decking and a secluded Jacuzzi and sauna for extra entertainment. Some of the nation’s best cabernets and pristine beaches can be found in this pocket of the west, so it’s well worth hiring a car to explore.
The Spire is an urban hideaway in the midst of Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand's South Island. Interiors of dark wood and rich, candy-apple red highlight create rooms that are inviting sanctuaries away from wintry winds. Room six has an exclusive view of the spire that the hotel is named after, but all have stone-clad fireplaces and private balconies. Sip a cocktail while enjoying some Mediterranean- and European Alps-inspired tapas at No5 Church Lane, the hotel’s laidback lounge bar, or venture to the waterfront for some of the freshest seafood Queenstown has to offer. The hotel is more than happy to arrange some adrenaline-pumping activities such as bungee-jumping or jet-boating, but a simple hike and picnic lunch is also on the menu.
Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand is a pristine natural wonder. Rolling green hills stretch from The Farm at Cape Kidnappers all the way to the churning water’s edge. A par-71 golf course is on hand, along with 180-degree views of the spectacular Pacific Ocean. A luxurious barn-like conversion worthy of a Grand Designs feature, the Owner’s Cottage has added seclusion away from the main lodge, a large stone fireplace and an open kitchen for entertaining. Tawny interiors throughout add to the farmhouse style, and invoke a homey, welcoming environment. The lodge even has its own winery located in the Gimblett Gravels region, with regular wine tastings. There’s an onsite pastry chef and a new vegetable garden that provides head chef James Honore with fresh produce to accompany the locally sourced meats and seafood.
An eclectic industrial conversion, 1888 Hotel turns Sydney’s past into a stylish inner-city hangout. In a prime location for visiting Sydney’s famous harbour and the captivating Powerhouse Museum, this historic wool store offers a vibrant resting place that moulds together the best of days gone by and modern Australian design. Three-metre-high ceilings and original wooden beams are featured throughout rooms, and the Attic room has a sun-kissed patio and sociable lounge for entertaining. A philosophy of simplicity encompasses the menu at 1888 Eatery & Bar, where meals celebrate wholesome and sustainably sourced ingredients. There’s also a monthly photography competition for all you avid Instagrammers, so don’t forget to tag the hotel in any snaps as it could win you a free night’s stay.
A Regency house situated just outside of Hobart in Tasmania, Islington Hotel sports views of Mount Wellington and hosts manicured gardens. A sustainability motto that will knock your socks off, paired with an 80 percent organic decree, sets this hotel above the rest with its eco-friendly practices. The moreish dishes at the hotel’s restaurant — such as maple-and-whisky-glazed pork loin and Tasmanian wallaby shank — are definitely set to spoil. Rooms in the old house are generous and elegant with bespoke bedding and contemporary artworks from the owner’s worldwide travels adorning walls. This is the perfect getaway for curling up by the outdoor open fire and settling in with a good book while sipping on some of the hotel’s swill-worthy wines.
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