Lon Retreat and Spa.
A new retreat makes the case for Victoria’s “other” peninsula. MICHAEL HARDEN
“We want people to reconnect with the beauty of doing nothing,” says Claire Gemes. Hence the private courtyards furnished with hammocks and outdoor showers, and “spa bars” in each suite at Lon, her new retreat and spa on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula.
The 80-hectare property has been owned and farmed by Gemes’ family since the 19th century. The sandstone farmhouse, previously the family home and a B&B run by her parents, has been renovated so each of the seven suites has views of Bass Strait, Lake Victoria and the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse.
With the number of guests capped at 16, an adults-only policy, an honesty bar and a minimum two-night stay, Lon is geared for winding down and switching off. “Sometimes a walk to the beach is all you’ll do all day,” Gemes says of the short stroll to Point Lonsdale’s back beach.
The day spa’s three rooms are positioned so guests can watch ships sail past their massage tables, and the heated hydrotherapy pool is fed by a spring that filters through caves beneath the property.
Each suite has a barbecue and access to a pantry of local produce so guests can DIY, while destination restaurants include Oakdene Vineyards and Geelong’s Igni.
While much of the new investment in tourism has funded projects on the Mornington Peninsula, the Bellarine Peninsula – just across the heads of Port Phillip Bay – is catching up. Campbell Point House, on Lake Connewarre, opened in October with eight luxury suites, and artisan brewers and distillers, such as Bellarine Distillery in Drysdale, are moving into the wine-growing region. Lon Retreat and Spa, 25 Gill Rd, Point Lonsdale, Vic, (03) 5258 2990, lonretreat.com.au
Right: Lon Resort and Spa’s main foyer. Below, from top: the Alto suite; Point Lonsdale’s back beach; The Cumulus suite’s bathroom.