- Style Updated Australiana
- Setting A place of grape beauty
A fine example of Antipodean shabby chic, Tonic, in the Australian wine lovers’ paradise of the Hunter Valley, offers the kind of laid-back living that wannabe jackaroos go to bed dreaming about. Made up of four separate iron, timber and glass buildings, set in gardens that are filled with native grasses and plants, the hotel overlooks a series of creeks and dams, while the Brokenback mountain range lines the horizon. Sunsets are predictably jaw-dropping.
Need to know
- Rooms Eight, including two rooms in a separate apartment.
- Rates Double rooms from $219.05 (AU$245), excluding tax at 10 per cent.
- More details Rates include Continental breakfast.
- Facilities Pool, CD/DVD library, laundry services and massages on request. In rooms: king-size beds, private balcony, 15-metre lap pool, air-conditioning, broadband, flatscreen TV, DVD player, hifi, iPod and dock, Aesop toiletries and kitchenette.
- Poolside Those floating in the pool get a lovely view out over the valley and the Brokenback mountain range.
- Check–out Midday; earliest check-in, 2pm.
Children Under-15s are not allowed at Tonic.
- Also The hotel has a minimum two-night-stay policy at weekends, and it only allows one ‘small’ dog at a time.
In the know
- Our favourite rooms All rooms in the main hotel come with white ceilings and walls, and polished concrete floors – a lovely, cooling touch that’s the ideal counterpoint to New South Wales’ hot summers. We particularly love the two-bedroom apartment, though, which has a red room (complete with a battered old Coke sign and colourful children’s art) and a green room, filled with seriously cool vases and quirky floral cushions in luscious lime tones. Even the digital displays on the Grundig CD players match the relevant colour schemes.
- Packing tips Make sure you take a comprehensive wine guide, and maybe some strong plastic bags in case any of those bottles you’ll buy smash in your suitcase.
- Also The Tonic Concierge service – free for guests – is always on hand to answer queries and make bookings for you.
Food and drink at Tonic
- Hotel restaurant There is no restaurant at Tonic, but the Tonic Lounge, housed in a separate building, comes with a chunky wooden dining table and a fully equipped kitchen, complete with condiments, tea, coffee and maxi bar. Your personal fridge is stocked with plenty of do-it-yourself breakfast provisions, including muesli, bread, croissants, jam and butter. Eggs and bacon are for sale in the Tonic Lounge.
- Dress code This place is so laid-back that you could go and fetch a drink in your pyjamas, and no one would bat an eyelid.
- Top table Take your drinks out onto the large deck outside the Tonic Lounge, and sip them while enjoying stunning views over the surrounding countryside.
- Last orders There’s no cut-off point here.
- Room service There’s no room service at Tonic.
- Hotel bar The cool, chic Tonic lounge has polished concrete floors, an open fire and comfy chocolate-brown couches. Don’t expect to while away the hours chatting to the bartender, though; in here, you just help yourself from the honesty bar.