A NIGHT AT...

GQ (Australia) - - TASTE + TRAVEL - JACKALOPEHOTEL

Win­ery ho­tels. His­tor­i­cally they’re the re­serve of frisky new(ish) cou­ples or pro­fes­sional al­co­holics. Yet an hour (and a bit) south of Mel­bourne, on the Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula, sits a vine­yard prop­erty that’s quickly rewrit­ing things. The 46-room Jack­a­lope Ho­tel is on the grounds of Wil­low Creek Vine­yard, and while it only opened its burnt-black cedar doors in April, al­ready it’s be­come a place syn­ony­mous with ar­chi­tec­tural beauty and lux­u­ri­ous week­ends away. Framed by plush coun­try­side, the wind­ing drive­way opens out to a cir­cu­lar court­yard show­cas­ing an im­pres­sive seven-me­tre-tall sculp­ture, from Mel­bourne artist Emily Floyd, of a jack­a­lope – an antlered jackrab­bit crea­ture plucked from North Amer­i­can mythol­ogy. The brain­child of 28-year-old Louis Li, the ho­tel’s vi­sion com­bines per­sonal pas­sions for art and food with de­sign and folk­lore. The per­fectly man­i­cured grounds ap­pear more printed than grown while the black 30-me­tre in­fin­ity pool adds to the sheer class of the place. It’s not sim­ply the ho­tel’s looks, and damn does she look fine, that marks this place as a must – the menus add to the im­pres­sive lev­els of luxe. The flag­ship restau­rant, Doot Doot Doot (re­ally), helmed by chef Guy Stan­away, of­fers a four-course à la carte menu or an eight-course dé­gus­ta­tion sit­ting – all built on var­i­ous sea­sonal of­fer­ings (think oys­ters, veni­son, beef cheeks and beyond). All this served un­der the most dra­matic restau­rant chan­de­lier in Aus­tralia, which hov­ers across the ceil­ing and is made up of 10,000 lamps. Rare Hare, the cel­lar door ad­ja­cent to the main ho­tel, of­fers a more re­laxed foodie out­ing along­side a fan­tas­tic se­lec­tion of Wil­low Creek wines. It’s enough to prompt a lie-down – rooms spa­cious and sleek, with bal­conies, im­pres­sive views and a fur­ther play on dark­ened woods and sharp shapes. Li hasn’t let any­thing on dis­play – or be­ing eaten – pass his gaze. From the hand-crafted black and gold cut­lery in the main restau­rant to the stone crock­ery and crys­tal glasses that look like they were hacked from the sur­round­ing hills – he’s across every el­e­ment of Jack­a­lope, a prop­erty de­serv­ing of the nu­mer­ous awards its al­ready bagged. So, if you want to im­press your sig­nif­i­cant other, or fancy your­self a pa­tron of the Aus­tralian arts, Jack­a­lope will see your belly, and brain, suit­ably sated. FROM AP­PROX. $590 PER NIGHT; JACKALOPEHOTELS.COM

FROM TOP Emily Floyd’s im­pres­sive Jack­a­lope sculp­ture at the en­trance to the ho­tel; room with a view of the vine­yard; strik­ing fur­ni­ture pieces, like this couch and side ta­ble by Zuster, fea­ture heav­ily through­out the ho­tel.

FROM TOP Pool deck at sun­set over­look­ing the Wil­low Creek Vine­yard; Li en­listed the likes of Ebra to pro­vide one-off pieces of fur­ni­ture, like this gold Leather­works chair; the Jack­a­lope in­te­rior en­trance, dark and con­tem­po­rary, sets the tone for the ho­tel aes­thetic.

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