You’ll want to stay at this retreat for the $5K bathtub
A weekend getaway is great, but there's something exciting about a midweek escape. It feels somewhat rebellious as you play hooky from the usual Monday-Friday grind and the responsibilities that come with it.
Well, at least that's how it feels when we pull up on a Thursday night to Spicers Clovelly - the stunning retreat on 9ha in the Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Montville.
The property has just launched a new accommodation wing - Montville House - a charming, freestanding cottage with six suites all offering private bathrooms and top-of-the-line finishes, plus a communal kitchenette, living and dining room. The suites can be booked out individually or the entire home can be reserved for a girls' or guys' weekend away, family reunion or corporate team building.
As the Antarctic-like winds whip around us in the carpark, we retreat inside, greeted by a blazing fireplace in the lounge room; its warming flames beg us to curl up on the plush sofa in front of it, flicking through one of the many books on show.
But it's dinnertime and the retreat's award-winning restaurant The Long Apron and its intimate dining room in the main house await.
Chef Chris Hagan delivers a three-course, fine dining-style menu for $85 (an extra $45 for matched wines) employing classic French technique with the best of local ingredients in dishes such as double-baked shellfish souffle with poached yabbies and tarragon bisque, confit duck leg with roasted quince, and a beautifully delicate bruleed mandarin curd tart. A smartly composed wine list of highly drinkable local and international vino across vast price points provides the perfect nightcap before heading back to your room.
And it's here where the excitement of being away on a school night kicks in.
The new Montville House suites offer classic French provincial elegance with luxury, boutique accommodation touches. Think a 42" television, king-size bed, marble bathroom with heated floor and towel rack, bathrobes, slippers, an espresso machine and a terrific minibar stocked with Perrier-Jouët champagne, Cuvee chocolate from the Mornington Peninsula and salted maple peanuts roasted in duck fat.
Reverse cycle airconditioning, which has thoughtfully been turned on by staff ready for our arrival, ensures our spacious room with L-shaped daybed is warm and cosy.
While the soft-as-butter bed promises a sensational night's sleep, it's the bath tub that calls first. Worth around $5000, the freestanding Victoria + Albert bath is what interior design dreams are made of. It fits two adults comfortably if romance is on the cards and is just the place to pop that bottle of Perrier-Jouët and soak away the stresses.
The next morning, a complimentary breakfast is served along the sun-drenched veranda of the main property, with a trio of hot options to follow pastries and fruit. While sweet tooths may crave the brilliantly crisp Belgium waffle with caramelised banana, honey and yoghurt from nearby Kenilworth; the real star is the sweet potato hash - it's breadcrumbed exterior snapping like a candy shell revealing a fluffy potato centre, piled high with avocado, roasted corn and dukkah. It's simple yet terrific, and even better with a side of bacon.
For a low-impact but fun way to begin burning off all that food, guests can play croquet on the lawn. Or if you're feeling more adventurous, the property boasts a series of walking and mountain bike tracks, plus a swimming pool.
Or you can simply add to the food coma with a trip to Montville's famous main street littered with fudge shops and quaint cafes, or nearby Maleny's high street with its famous fromagerie and ice creamery. Relatively new and also worth investigating is the Maleny Chocolate Co, down an alley off Maple St.
With all the stresses that this year has brought, a weekday getaway seems like just what the doctor ordered. Our only regret is not being able to stay longer.
The writer was a guest of Spicers Clovelly
Originally published as You'll want to stay at this Sunshine Coast retreat for the $5000 bathtub alone