Luxury escapes around Australia offer privacy, exclusivity and personalised service. Imagine lazing in a fashionable designer pool lounge with a bottle of champagne chilling in a bucket next to you while your personal chef prepares your favourite meal and your personal host makes arrangements for a sail in a private yacht. More champagne? Right away sir. Caviar? Certainly madam.
Movie stars or moguls aren’t the only ones that have the chance to stay in luxury homes with a chef, housekeeper and personal host.
From tropical Darwin to rugged Kangaroo Island, the sparkling waters of Queensland’s Whitsundays to the vineyards of Mornington Peninsula, there are unique luxurious options to live it up in style while travelling with an entourage, an extended family or a group of friends. Here’s our pick:
Escape, unwind, indulge is the mantra at this Hamilton Island retreat. From poolside pampering to cruising in the resort’s private yacht, every whim is catered for by a personal host.
The luxurious five-bedroom private residence is architecturally designed using stone and timber.
The layout takes advantage of tranquil views of the Whitsundays from every room whether it’s from the living and dining areas, which open out onto a deck with an infinity pool and spa, or the Miele-equipped kitchen. The master bedroom, which occupies an entire floor, is its own private ocean view retreat.
Ala Moana, Hamilton Island, QLD, (03) 9387 9712.
2-Mandalay Luxury Stay
Northern chic meets colonial style at this three-bedroom stone house on Darwin’s waterfront. Mandalay is furnished with a tasteful collection of Chinese antiques, colonial knick knacks and local art. The eclectic style is a perfect match for Darwin multicultural scene.
Three upstairs bedrooms open onto a wraparound deck where you can sit back in tropical cane lounges and gaze at the sun setting over Darwin Harbour. Bedrooms have comfy Kim Snow Box king-size beds, Asian antiques, plasma televisions and DVD players. Luxury touches include Sanctum toiletries, quality linen, bathrobes and slippers.
Mandalay Luxury Stay, Darwin, NT, (08) 8942 3012.
The historic chateau Glynt Manor has all the ingredients of a superstar haunt: an Italian villa with views of Port Phillip Bay complete with the services of celebrity hair and makeup artists. Owners Lila and Demetri Sideropoulos have beautified and coiffured the likes of Pussy cat dolls, Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe.
Six individually themed suites offer luxury toiletries, fine linen, deluxe bathrobes, exotic candles and a personalised beverage menu. The ultimate is the Tower Suite with its glass roof and outdoor spa. The Grand Dining Room’s French and Italian-inspired decor with antiques and Venetian glass mirrors is perfect for those high society bashes.
Glynt Manor, Mt Martha, VIC, (03) 5974 8400.
4-Lifetime Private Retreats
A pre-stay interview enquiring about personal likes and dislikes leads to a customized and highly personalised guest experience. Don’t be surprised to find your favourite date scones baking in the oven or a CD of your singer crooning on the stereo.
The retreat’s three chic houses – Cliff House, Stone House and Sky House – are perched on a cliff on Kangaroo Island’s remote north coast. Cliff House is a Mediterranean-inspired, three-bedroom villa with a broad terrace overlooking the beach. Dining is all about a holistic creative experience that could find you eating in an old shearing shed decked out with chandeliers and antique silver or inside the natural canopy of a 150-year-old fig tree or in a beach hut.
Lifetime Private Retreats, Kangaroo Island, SA, (08) 8559 2248. Cliff House costs $950 a night (minimum three nights) or complete service from $1100 a night a person (minimum two nights).
1618 hectares of lush tropical rainforest, manicured gardens, waterfalls, a deep freshwater lake and picnic huts make up this private tropical paradise. Add a chef, housekeeper and activities manager and you have a private retreat fit for royalty, chief executives and celebrities (the Packers, Murdochs and King of Morocco have stayed here).
The main communal house and six private South Seas-style thatched cottages are decked out with original pieces including an antique Russian chest, African wall hangings and Tibetan temple doors. Some cottages have open-air garden bathrooms. The ultimate sleeping area is the Dream House with cool limestone floors and a raised king-size bed positioned for view gazing.
Woodwark Bay, QLD, (08) 8354 4405.
It’s hard to look past a designer home that has won two building industry awards, especially one in such a gorgeous tropical location. In 2008, Mali Mali was named the Master Builders Australia’s best house ($1 and $2 million category) and Queensland’s House of the Year. Facilities include a tennis court, media room, Miele kitchen, wet-edge pool and helicopter landing pad.
Surrounded by lush tropical gardens, the design is a nod to Bali’s airy pavilion-style living. Timber walkways meander past fountains and over fish ponds, connecting the main living pavilion with three sleeping pavilions. Each sleeping pavilion has an ensuite bathroom with L’Occitane toiletries and a large sunken bath. A private chef, housekeeping, spa services, yoga and in-house catering can be arranged.
Mali Mali, Mossman, QLD, (07) 4098 1418.
As luxury escapes go, Southerly Ashore is the perfect place in Eagle Bay to rub shoulders with Western Australia’s rich in affluent and to sample Margaret River’s top drops. The entrance makes an impression with a feature waterfall and outdoor stone spa constructed from 70 tonnes of Kimberley stone. Inside natural timbers compliment Kimberley colours; much of the furniture was specially designed by Jahroc furniture.
There are two king-sized bedrooms on the upper floor and two other rooms with twin singles. Every room has an LCD TV set and DVD player. Popular Executive Chef Saul Atkinson is available to cook on site.
Southerly Ashore, Eagle Bay, Western Australia. Chef, winery tours, yoga and surfing lessons are extra.