If I had to think of just one word to describe our stay at Spicers Hidden Vale it would be “restorative”. We spent just one night at this gorgeous rural property but when we began the short drive back to Brisbane less than 24 hours later, we felt as though we’d been away for a week.
Offering a luxury country Australian experience, Spicers Hidden Vale sits on a 12,000 acre working farm near Grandchester in the Lockyer Valley, an hour’s drive from Brisbane. It consists of 29 rooms in beautifully restored cottages spaced out around an historic homestead and barn.
We had dined in its impressive Homage Restaurant on a previous visit but had never stayed. Then we got an invitation to preview the upcoming Flavours of Summer Gourmet Festival, which we’ve covered in a separate blog post. If our 24-hour taste extravaganza is anything to go by, this is going to be a pretty special event so mark it in your diary now.
We were given the keys to Highland Cottage, literally across the driveway from the main homestead. The cottage dates from just after 1900 when it was a hay storage shed located next to the manager’s residence in the valley below the homestead. It once had big swinging doors but these have been replaced by windows covered with blinds in a lovely blue and white toile.
The French provincial look extends to the rest of the décor too, including a couple of comfy armchairs, vintage wooden furnishings, claw foot bath and antique-style bathroom vanity. It’s completely restful and I happily curled up with a couple of the books that were provided for our reading leisure – Matt Moran’s Kitchen Garden Cookbook, country décor books, all the sort of stuff that has me dreaming and planning.
The cottage has an upstairs loft bedroom but as the bathroom is downstairs we only went up for a peek, opting instead for the equally plush king bed downstairs. Everything about it is 5-star, from the heating in the bathroom and the heated towel rail, to the slippers and bathrobes, dual rain showers, Appelles toiletries, and flat screen TV.
A veranda runs along one side of the cottage, providing a great spot to relax overlooking the kitchen garden. The garden is chef Ash Martin’s pride and joy, and the source of much beautiful produce that he uses in the homestead’s outstanding Homage restaurant. The homestead was once a family home and still has a family feel, with its welcoming fireplaces and comfy lounges. Breakfast is taken on the deck of the homestead, overlooking the Little Liverpool Ranges in the distance. I absolutely adored my breakfast of scrambled eggs with a roasted onion and tomato tart – so light and delicious.
The property has two pools, an infinity rock pool in front of the homestead and a heated lap pool with spa. There’s also a tennis court, petanque court, games room and pool table, walking trails for those who are energetic, and a day spa for those who are not. If you want to explore further afield, there are markets, wineries and other attractions.
At night, you can pick up some hot chocolate and marshmallows, and head up to the campfire where you can toast your marshmallows and gaze up at the stars. Could there be anything more tranquil?
If you go:
Spicers Hidden Vale
617 Grandchester Mount Mort Road
Tel: 1300 179 340