YOU’LL BE WON OVER BY THE CHARM OF A MOTEL IN PENOLA, WRITES ANDREW FENTON
23 Church St, Penola, ph 1800 217 011 alexandercameronmotel.com.au
a population of little more than 1300, Penola isn’t a particularly large regional centre nor does it offer a wide range of accommodation or attractions. Unless, of course, you’re super excited about Mary Mackillop’s journey from teacher to saint – which I must confess I’m not.
However, Penola is a very charming and pleasant town in which to base yourself for a weekend’s exploration of the Coonawarra. With Wynns, Hollick and Rymill wineries less than 20 minutes drive away this is a great area for serious wine buffs, or even part-time binge connoisseurs like me.
Harnessing the powers of the internet, I found a super special rate for the Alexander Cameron Motel on Wotif – which as it happens turned out to be exactly the same price I could have got at reception. Either way it’s a bargain, as this is easily some of the nicest motel accommodation you’re likely to get anywhere in the state for $130.
Built in 2004, the complex is modern, quiet and spacious. We’d arranged for some relatives to give us a lift on a tour of the wineries, and the owner kindly let us check in at the absurdly early time of 11.30am.
The room itself was cavernous, with a queen bed, comfy two-seater couch and an “80cm flat-screen”, which is a slightly more impressive way of saying a 32-inch telly. Tasteful, abstract modern art on the wall is of the type guaranteed to be considered inoffensive by pretty much everyone.
The bathroom was also very large – I’ve stayed in smaller hotel rooms overseas. Sadly, the shower featured one of those soap/shampoo dispenser units, which I found rather disappointing as I like to fill up my toiletries bag with those little bottles of body wash and shampoo.
Considering it was a motel room and not an apartment it boasted more facilities than standard, including a microwave, toaster, kettle and an ironing board.
We had a lovely meal at a restaurant in the main street, which is just a couple of minutes walk away. For those wishing to save a few dollars, Australia’s best IGA is next door (according to the shop window it won an award and everything).
To sum up, a great value modern hotel in a charming town that’s well worth a visit. Reviews are unannounced and paid for by SA Weekend.