Getaway to Australia’s Hotel of the Year, Jackalope

Jackalope Pool Deck Sunset, by Sharyn Cairns

Jackalope Pool Deck Sunset, by Sharyn Cairns

A legend has spread to the far reaches of the Mornington Peninsula. Winemakers and restaurateurs whisper in wonder, hoping to hear tell of Jackalope – the area’s newest luxury hotel and winner of Gourmet Traveller’s 2017 Hotel of the Year.

A seven-metre-tall statue of a black jackalope – a mythical creature with the body of a jackrabbit and the antlers of an antelope – is the first thing we see on arriving on the estate.

Jackalope

Inside, all is sleek and intriguing. Glass doors from the lobby to the hotel bar, Flaggerdoot (yes, the collective noun for jackalopes), give glimpses of the whimsical space that lies beyond.

Our room is at the end of a long hallway lit with neon sculptures suspended from the ceiling. “It’s the future!” my husband says, as I whip out my phone to get some Insta-worthy pics.

View over Jackalope's infinity pool and vineyard. Photo: Supplied

View over Jackalope’s infinity pool and vineyard. Photo: Supplied

This becomes the theme of the weekend; every corner of Jackalope, from the bronze rain shower in our room to the view of the vineyard from the pool deck, is picture perfect.

The vision of owner and former filmmaker Louis Li for a space that tells a story has been precisely executed by architecture and design firm Carr Design Group. I’m constantly marvelling at the details, including sensor lighting in the bathrooms, a show-stopping black bathtub with integrated towel storage and a bedhead that doubles as desk and mini bar.

Next morning, at breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant, Doot Doot Doot, there are no bain maries. Instead, a la carte creations, including a chive waffle with cured ocean trout, await hungry travellers.

Doot, Doot, Doot restaurant at Jackalope. Photo: Supplied

Doot, Doot, Doot restaurant at Jackalope. Photo: Supplied

A day of wine tasting on the peninsula leads us back to Rare Hare, Jackalope’s winery and cellar door, which showcases wines from its Willow Creek vineyard. We enjoy a stellar drop while taking in the sunset over the vines.

Before dinner, there’s time for a quick cocktail at the artful Flaggerdoot, with its cobalt-blue pool table, gold leather chairs and shining marble bar. Then it’s on to the feasting at Doot Doot Doot.

Our table sits under a constellation of 10,000 golden light globes. A night of foodie theatre follows as we indulge in executive chef Guy Stanaway’s four-course menu with matched wines.

Another restful night, scrumptious breakfast and a walk around the striking property, and we’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and don’t want to go home. It is truly a land of wonder.

Jackalope hallway. Photo: Supplied

Jackalope hallway. Photo: Supplied

Jackalope entrance. Photo: Supplied

Jackalope entrance. Photo: Supplied

Wineries we love

Boutique

Panton Vineyard

Karen Panton’s picturesque property houses a rustic cellar door overlooking her vineyard. Karen will take your through her latest vintage – the 2016 sangiovese is a particular winner (the vineyard is the only producer of the Italian varietal in the region). Stay for a cheese platter and enjoy a glass or two.

Panton winery. Photo: Supplied

Panton winery. Photo: Supplied

Relaxed

Foxeys Hangout

You simply must visit this cosy little winery. Find a spot on the deck and pull up a little crate-like table to rest your glass and a couple of moreish tasting dishes, including tomato salad with mint and feta. In the cooler months the crew at Foxeys are ready with blankets so you can still sit outside and take in the views of their pretty vines.

Tomato salad at Foxey's Hangout. Photo: Supplied

Tomato salad at Foxey’s Hangout. Photo: Supplied

Luxe

Port Phillip Estate

The majestic stone walls of Port Phillip Estate mimic the rolling hills behind the estate. Inside, take a left to the elegant dining room, or turn right to find the cellar door and a more relaxed option for lunch. In both spaces, floor-to-ceiling windows show off vineyard views that will leave you breathless.

John Dory fillet at Port Phillip Estate. Photo: Supplied

John Dory fillet at Port Phillip Estate. Photo: Supplied

Revamped

Ten Minutes by Tractor

This much-loved restaurant and cellar door has recently been revamped to add a new tasting area and modern touches to the dining room. Pop in to taste recent vintages of consistently good chardonnay and pinot noir, and treat yourself to some special releases, including 2015 reserves of each.

Ten Minutes by Tractor dining room. Photo: Supplied

Ten Minutes by Tractor dining room. Photo: Supplied

 

 

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