A boutique couples retreat with vineyard views from every room
People wanted a view of the vineyard so that’s how we designed the suites, to maximise the view.See our handpicked guides to the HunterValley
BY KACEY JOHNSTON
Who doesn’t love a little weekend escape? Somewhere that’s charming and pretty and has all you need to unwind and play. It just so happens we’ve got a great getaway spot that ticks all the boxes. It’s called Hermitage Lodge. A gem of a boutique accommodation venue located in Hunter wine country that’s big on service and providing memorable holiday experiences for every guest.
Hermitage Lodge is not your average accommodation experience. That’s certainly the feeling you get right from the moment you pull up and check-in. You won’t receive the key and an obscure map to your lodgings. Refreshingly, the friendly staff actually meet you at your room and if you like, will happily show you around the property and give you some tips on where to taste wine and the like. A gesture that’s particularly helpful if you’re visiting the Valley for the first time. More than that though, the welcome you get here is genuine and it sets the tone for a chilled and most pleasant weekend ahead.
Being a first-time stay for me, I’m chuffed to see that my room and in fact all rooms, have a fantastic view. Hermitage Lodge have 20 boutique rooms each with their own private deck or access to the common verandah that faces the Shiraz vineyard, the focal point of this surprisingly rural property. I say this because, Hermitage Lodge is really close to the hub of Pokolbin (walking distance to many cellar doors) and yet, you can easily feel a million miles away, sitting on your deck enjoying a glass of wine and pizza.
The pizza from Il Cacciatore, the property's onsite Italian restaurant, is very tasty and can be conveniently enjoyed in your room. The perfect relaxed start to the weekend after the Friday afternoon commute. Just check-in, pour yourself a glass, kick back with a slice and watch the sky change colour.
From maintaining the lovely gardens and vineyard to building new premium lodgings, Owners and Managers Mark and Noreen Gottaas, have gone to great lengths since coming on board in 2002 to create a little haven for the perfect weekend escape.
“We’ve got the basic concept right but we’re always looking for ways to improve and change things, to make it more interesting for our guests, especially those returning for another stay” comments Noreen.
The two-story Premier Suites which the couple built in 2006 are a testament to that and the ultimate romantic getaway, offering guests all the trimmings – automatic coffee machine, gas fireplace for those cooler nights and two luxuriously appointed bathrooms (upstairs and downstairs).
Noreen continues, “Prior to building the suites we asked people ‘what do you want in your room’. The feedback we got was not so much about what was in the room, but what was outside. People wanted a view of the vineyard so that’s how we designed the suites, to maximise the view.”
That’s certainly what you get with the two Premier Suites. Each has two private decks overlooking the vineyards. The master-suite upstairs even has a gorgeous outdoor spa for two on the deck so you can take in the gorgeous views while having a much-needed soak.
All the rooms, and there are seven styles, ranging in budget from the Lodge Rooms to the Premier Suites are lovely. The Lodges at the front of the property, all named after local wineries, are simply charming. Despite being “entry-level” they are spacious, tastefully decorated and have a King bed and double sofa bed. And the best part, just open the back door for your very own vineyard views. The Lodges are a good option if you’re travelling with a few couples. They give you privacy without being too far away from each other. Just ask at reception to book your rooms together.
If you’re keen for some relaxation, the Deluxe Spa Room or Loft might be the way to go. Better yet, the Vineyard Spa Suite has a full-size oval Spa tub, plus a lot of other little luxuries that you’ll be sure to enjoy during your stay, including a complimentary in-room continental breakfast. Just another example of the personal service you get here.
I mentioned Il Cacciatore before. I really like that this place has its own restaurant which is just a hop, skip and a jump from any of the rooms. Il Cacciatore offers Northern-Italian inspired cuisine and it’s won several, national-level awards. A lot of the locals come here. Like the accommodation, the restaurant is all about providing guests with an unpretentious but enjoyable dining experience. Dinner here really is a great option after a busy day’s wine and produce tasting and seeing the sights. There’s no fuss. Just good wholesome food and great service.
With the weather warming up, it’s good to know that Hermitage Lodge has a salt-water pool too. Lovely for an afternoon dip. The property also has a complimentary guest laundry which is great if you’re lucky enough to stay for more than just the weekend.
The icing on the cake though? Book a two night stay directly with Hermitage Lodge by 31 March 2020, and you’ll get a free cheese plate on arrival. You’ll also get a chance to win a $1,000 gift voucher for use at Hermitage Lodge and Il Cacciatore. Sound good?
Give Hermitage Lodge a call on the number below to organise your next summer escape or click here for more information.