The 10 best winery hotels in Australia

A g’day and a damn good glass of wine awaits all travellers to Australia, wherever you might wish to stay. To make wine the central focus of your vacation, fix your sights on the south, where the nation’s three major wine regions converge – New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia – to provide plentiful pinot, shiraz and cabernet-coated adventures. To ensure your comfort and convenience while searching for the best red wine in Australia, check-in at one of the nation’s leading winery hotels, to discover Aussie R&R at its very best. Read on for some of Mr Hudson’s all-time favourites.

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Photo: Jackalope

1. The Empire Spa Retreat, Margaret River, Western Australia

Proving that you can go anywhere in Australia and find great grapes, The Empire Spa Retreat lies outside of the main congregation of wine valleys, 2.5 hours down the west coast from Perth in Western Australia. Bright and spacious throughout, on a vast bushland estate with 12 acres of vineyards, this Margaret River wine hotel really is a stunner, centred on a renovated timber and stone farmhouse, styled in minimal Eastern-influenced decor. Stay at one of just 10 high-end suites, making use of your own garden courtyard and outdoor shower, amongst farmland, vines and olive groves. While guests are free to nip to Dunsborough town for chocolate factory hijinks and views over Sugarloaf Rock, stay at the on-site spa for long pampering sessions, such as the three-hour Opulence massage.

2. Jackalope, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

Jutting out to sea from the city of Melbourne is Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, where Jackalope sits proudly amongst proceedings, close to beaches, golf courses and hiking trails galore. The estate itself takes up 28 acres within Willow Creek vineyards and each of the 45 modern suites comes designed with floor-to-ceiling windows and a secluded terrace, all the better to enjoy the pristine landscapes and David Lynch-inspired sculpture. Arguable the best winery Melbourne can call its own, Jackalope ensures guests need not leave the estate, offering two on-site restaurants, a cocktail bar and a 30-metre infinity pool for soaking up the views. Another neat attraction bordering on the surreal is the hotel’s interactive Rain Room, adding to the property’s already futuristic design and moodily-lit hallways, to create a wholly unique experience.

Photo: Jackalope

Photo: Jackalope

3. MONA Pavilions, Hobart, Tasmania

Sail south from Mornington Peninsula and you’ll eventually catch a glimpse of Tasmania, a devilishly beautiful island known for its cool-climate pinot noir and as the home of MONA Pavilions. The hotel’s acronym stands for the Museum of Old and New Art, pointing out that MONA is home to Australia’s largest private art collection. Besides art, the property comes close to both the world-class wines of the Moorilla Estate and Hobart town. All of the eight pavilions on the property come stylishly fitted with spa baths and elegant artworks, moments from the heated infinity pool. Sip fine local pinot from your balcony in view of the Derwent River, later trying The Source restaurant and Moo Brew Brewery when the mood strikes.

MONA Pavilions | Photo: Moorilla Gallery

MONA Pavilions | Photo: Moorilla Gallery

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After immersive hot-air balloon tours of the region and close encounters with kangaroos, return to The Louise for luxurious relaxation, wine tasting and award-winning meals at Appellation restaurant

4. The Louise, Barossa Valley

The Louise is the choice for all those visiting Adelaide in Southern Australia, a firm favourite among Barossa Valley wineries for its sweeping views over endless Australian Shiraz country. Barossa wineries come both new and old, some planted as early as the 19th century and others serving boutique, biodynamic tastes. The Louise lies close to many of them, allowing for day trips to try the century-old vintage wine of Seppeltsfield or to pet the sheep on Hutton Vale Farm, a sustainable winery and merino wool producer. After immersive hot-air balloon tours of the region and close encounters with kangaroos, return to The Louise for luxurious relaxation, wine tasting on the terrace in view of vineyard and bushland before award-winning meals at Appellation restaurant.

The Louise | Photo: John Montesi

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5. Port Phillip Estate, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

A worthy second choice on Mornington Peninsula is Port Phillip Estate, a one-hour scenic drive from Melbourne. At Port Phillip, the attention to detail is astounding; every step of the winemaking process is optimised to produce the best specialist chardonnay, pinot gris and pinot noir. The pristine property itself is similarly kept, within imposing limestone walls across all six sleek, modernist suites and dining room. Each room at the estate boasts vineyard and coastal views, from private terraces no less. After a day packed full of peninsular attractions, guests can unwind with a cheese and wine tasting, later donning Missoni bathrobes and running a bath to feel right at home.

Appellation Restaurant at The Louise | Photo: John Montesi

6. Mount Lofty House, Adelaide Hills, SA

Named after a majestic peak in Southern Australia’s Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty House is true to its name with glorious views of said mountains and the Piccadilly Valley, in easy reach of Adelaide city centre. Mount Lofty has hella’ heritage as one of the longest-running Adelaide Hills wineries, based in an elegant 1852 stone mansion with all the fittings you might expect; four-poster beds, plush furnishings and huge windows looking out over lush green gardens. Travellers embarking on wine tours Adelaide should certainly stop by this beauty, touring the vineyard grounds, playing racket sports and visiting the day spa before lingering dinners at Hardys Restaurant paired with the best Australian red wine.

For more great wine and accommodation Adelaide, alternatively consider heading north from the city to Clare Valley wineries, or south to Mclaren Vale wineries (see number 10) which lie close to the beaches of Moana and Port Noarlunga.

7. Mitchelton Estate, Nagambie Lakes, VIC

Set on the serpentine Goulburn River in Victoria’s Nagambie Lakes region, Mitchelton Estate will ensure your cup never runs dry as one of a handful of top wineries in the area. The Mitchelton property, designed by Hecker Guthrie, offers travellers a sleek stay with nature on all sides, no better than at sunset when the 1970s Ashton Tower becomes the place to mingle in the peachy light. At all other times, guests are free to enjoy the Aboriginal art gallery, tour the wine cellar and book in for as many spa treatments as needed. Otherwise, one can explore further out on the river trails or simply swim in the heated pool before a bliss breakfast, lunch or dinner at Muse Restaurant.

Photo: S. Hermann & F. Richter

Photo: Cottonbro

8. Lancemore Lindenderry Red Hill, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

Another fine choice on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula is Lancemore Lindenderry Red Hill, a restored country estate turned boutique hotel serving up modern European decadence over 30 acres. Roam the lakeside gardens and vineyards with ease, sampling an extensive range of local wines from the cellar, including those from Macedon Ranges and King Valley wineries. Cosy is the name of the game at Lancemore Lindenberry, where wood-fired pizza nights or gourmet picnics on the lawn come followed by fireplace lounging and sauna sessions. Additional facilities include the tennis courts, wellness centre and pool.

Lancemore Lindenderry Red Hill | Photo: Rhiannon Taylor

Lancemore Lindenderry Red Hill | Photo: Rhiannon Taylor

9. The Vineyard McLaren Vale, SA

Firmly among the best Australian wineries near Adelaide is The Vineyard McLaren Vale, hosting a 15-acre vineyard and several boutique accommodation choices, ranging from a series of luxurious vineyard cabins to additional village retreats in McLaren Flat. Wherever you pick, you’ll be within cycling distance of countless top McLaren Vale cellars and restaurants, centred on the main town of McLaren Vale. If cycling sounds like hard work, simply rest up in utmost seclusion on the deck of your French-Americana cabin, joining other guests around the outdoor fire pit or in the hot tub on cooler evenings. All cabins come fully equipped with a kitchen and fireplace, and one – The Ardmore – even has its own spa bath.

Photo: The Vineyard McLaren

10. Cape Lodge, Margaret River, Western Australia

Coming full circle back to Western Australia, we head this time into the heart of the Margaret River wine region to stay at Cape Lodge. This exclusive Cape Dutch-style country house brings the hinterlands in reach, while also maintaining the lavish environment we’re used to across its spa, fine French bistro and private suites. Being in Margaret River, there is of course much to try, across nearby estates such as Larry Cherubino’s winery in Cullen or even craft beers at Black Brewery. As for nature, it’s just 10 kilometres to Smiths Beach where whale watching tours and horseback riding can keep all amused, though Cape Lodge’s own 40 acres of lakeside gardens and manicured lawns backed by native bush trails is more than enough for many.

Photo: Cape Lodge

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This exclusive Cape Dutch-style country house brings the hinterlands in reach, while also maintaining the lavish environment we’re used to across its spa, fine French bistro and private suites

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Doot Doot Doot Restaurant | Photo: Jackalope

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