A NIGHT AT...
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.