The Weekend Australian - Travel - - DESTINATION TRAVEL - Chris­tine McCabe

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: jack­alope­ho­

ALSO TRY: Ho­tel Ho­tel, Can­berra; Como The Trea­sury Perth; Sin­gleThread, Sonoma County, Cal­i­for­nia.

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