- Style Restrained rural retreat
- Setting Serene lake shores
RUNNER-UP: BEST HOTEL RESTAURANT – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2013
When you want to explore the produce and wine of rural Victoria, and your partner feels like recharging their batteries, Lake House hotel in Daylesford is the ideal furlough. Fans travel for miles to indulge at chef Alla Wolf-Tasker’s multi-award-winning restaurant overlooking a tranquil lagoon. For the past 25 years, she’s built around its success to create a 35-room rural lodge and state-of-the-art spa, complete with treetop hot tubs and Hydrostorm shower. That it’s set on the edge of this unique spa country town makes it all the more seductive.
Need to know
- Rooms 35, including 12 suites and two villas.
- Rates Double rooms from $467.67 (AU$514), excluding tax at 10 per cent.
- More details Room rates include full country-style buffet breakfast, WiFi, car parking and daily newspaper. Packages that include a la carte dinner are also available.
- Facilities Salus Spa, gardens (including kitchen garden), tennis court, DVD library, private cellar and tasting room, guest lounge with billiard table and fireplace, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD/CD player, iPod dock, minibar.
- Check–out 11am, check-in, 3pm, but flexible, subject to availability.
Children Kids are welcome. Extra beds cost AU$185 a child a night, including breakfast, available in suites only. Baby cots are AU$20 and babysitting can be arranged.
- Eco‐friendly The Lake House kitchen reduces food miles by growing produce on site and developing personal relationships with small regional suppliers, using seasonal, organic food where possible. Stationery is made from recycled paper.
- Also Co-owner Allan Wolf-Tasker’s talent is in the artist's studio – which is nestled on site with views over the cool fern gully. Featuring the kitchen and restaurant, his works can be seen throughout the hotel.
In the know
- Our favourite rooms The latest addition to the Lake House village, the Retreat features two luxe abodes, the Atrium Villa and the Spa Villa, with direct access to the lake. Each offers sumptuous lounge and dining areas kitted out with chic Olly of San Francisco furnishings, fireplaces, dressing rooms, and bathrooms with deep tubs and separate showers. The Spa Villa sports a courtyard with a sunken hot tub and the Atrium Villa includes a chill-beating fire pit.
- Packing tips Duck whistle, for making friends on the lake. A basket for stocking up on picnic supplies from the local farmers. A straw boater for rowing.
- Also The hotel's blond wood and Tiffany-blue Salus Spa, with nine treatment rooms, is inspired by Scandinavia and has hot mineral-water tubs overlooking the lake. Its signature treatment, the 75-minute Salus Bliss, will have you swooning with its smorgasbord of body exfoliation, massage, hot-stone and colour therapies, and upright Vichy shower in the Hydrostorm pod.
Food and drink at Lake House
- Hotel restaurant In 1984, chef Alla Wolf-Tasker opened a 40-seat, weekend-only destination restaurant called Lake House. In the past 25 years it’s evolved into a boutique hotel, but still it’s the food (and unbelievably sleek yet warm service) at this award-winning eatery that many people come for. Wolf-Tasker is a champion of local producers and almost everything on her modern Australian menu is grown in the region. The menu changes according to season, but expect house-made charcuterie, heritage vegetables and fruits, local trout, eel and cheeses, free-range pork and wagyu beef. For the full experience, order the tasting menu.
- Dress code This is a smart, rural restaurant where food is celebrated and devotees come for a special occasion. It’s about understated cool: Marni and Zimmermann for her; Lagerfeld or Saba for him.
- Top table Inside, there’s a long banquette with tables overlooking the lake. On a warm day, the veranda is the place to be. For something more intimate, private dinners can be arranged in the cellar.
- Last orders Lunch is served from 12pm–2.30pm, dinner from 6.30pm. The restaurant kitchen stays open until late to accommodate those languishing over the tasting menu, but you wouldn’t want to sit down much after 8pm.
- Room service A full bistro menu is available until 9pm. In-room minibars are also worth raiding, as they're well stocked with hand-made delicacies from the Lake House kitchen as well as local drops from boutique breweries and wineries.
- Hotel bar The main bar – a relaxed, quiet venue – sits adjacent to the dining room, but when the weather is mellow guests often migrate to the veranda, where grazing plates and tipples are served between 3pm and 6pm, with drinks at the bar until 11pm. Wing your way towards house cocktail the Flying Goose, a quirky mix of vodka and cherry brandy with a secret ingredient.