MORNINGTON PENINSULA: CHECK I T OUT
Australia’s ranks of tourism “big things” gets a boost this month with a 7m-tall, stylised rendering of the mythical jackalope, or jackrabbit with antlers, by Melbourne artist Emily Floyd greeting guests at one of the most hotly anticipated hotels to open this year.
Overlooking an established 11ha vineyard on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, Jackalope hotel has been developed by 29-year-old Melbourne-based entrepreneur Louis Li and is the first in a planned series of design-led boltholes; next cab off the rank is Melbourne’s Flinders Lane, scheduled to open in 2020.
Li studied filmmaking and this project has been put together with a distinctly filmic eye working with top-notch collaborators, including the Carr Design Group, Taylor Cullity Lethlean (landscaping), Fabio Ongarato Design (whose work can also be seen at QT Melbourne) and the Melbourne-based Zuster, which crafted most of the hotel’s furniture.
The 46 moody guestrooms feature floor-toceiling windows, private terraces, kingsize beds and luxury spa-style bathrooms with rain showers, double vanities and the option of a deep, black Japanese tub.
Bespoke unguents, including a pinot grapeskin bath soak and body scrub, have been concocted by Melbourne’s Hunter Lab using grapes from the hotel’s vineyard. The premium accommodation category, known as Lairs, features loft ceilings, double-sided indooroutdoor fireplaces and personal wine cellars.
The hotel’s avant-garde but elegant look is topped off by a black, 30m infinity pool with vineyard views; a poolside pavilion offers massages and private dining.
DON’T MISS: An experimental cocktail in the hotel bar, Flaggerdoot (collective noun for jackalopes, apparently), housed in the property’s 19th-century homestead.
DINING IN: Executive chef Guy Stanaway (exAman Resorts) has been busily fostering relationships with local growers and scouring the region’s markets (as well as growing his own veg) to develop the four and eight-course degustation menus for the hotel’s “destination” restaurant, Doot Doot Doot.
DINING OUT: There’s plenty to explore among Mornington’s 50 cellar doors and restaurants. Polperro does delightful picnics in its Red Hill vineyard; Le Bouchon in Balnarring is popular for late-night steak frites.
ASK THE CONCIERGE: Be sure to hop across to the hotel’s Willow Creek Vineyard winery, restaurant and produce store Rare Hare for a tutored tipple. Private tastings are available in the barrel hall with winemaker Geraldine McFaul, or take a seat in the wine bar where half glasses (as well as glasses and bottles) are available alongside salumi, oysters and other superior snacks.
CHECKING IN: From $650 a room including a glass of wine on arrival, a la carte breakfast, inroom minibar (excluding wine), Wi-Fi access and on-demand movies. More: jackalopehotels.com.
ALSO TRY: Hotel Hotel, Canberra; Como The Treasury Perth; SingleThread, Sonoma County, California.