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YOU’LL BE WON OVER BY THE CHARM OF A MO­TEL IN PENOLA, WRITES AN­DREW FEN­TON

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - ESCAPE - Alexan­der Cameron Mo­tel

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.

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