At boutique stay Big Blue Backyard in Australia’s Mornington Peninsula, you’ll breakfast in bed, take secluded soaks in your alfresco spa bath and unwind on your private deck with the bounty of the neighboring vineyards. Each of the three suites has a private deck with a bush kitchen – for leisurely breakfasts and lingering evening meals – and an alfresco lantern-lit spa tub – for soaks under the stars. Breakfast provisions are delivered to your hideaway each day – along with a supply of soft drinks, cafetiere coffee, teas and homemade biscuits, whenever you need them – and a path leads directly from your deck to the shoreline.
11am; check-in is at 3pm, but you'll get a text if your room is available earlier. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from $551.60 (AU$814), excluding tax at 10 per cent.
Rates include breakfast provisions, home-made treats, soft drinks and cafetiere coffee – all replenished daily. Rates exclude a 1.43 per cent surcharge on Visa and Mastercard credit card payments.
Owner Lisa has expert, nimble-handed massage therapists (each has their own practice on the peninsula) on speed-dial, each one ready and waiting to knead away knots in the privacy of your hideaway, where the soothing sounds and scents of the ocean and forest act as all-natural aromatherapy. Book ahead for guaranteed pampering.
At the hotel
Rugged beach, stash of CDs and DVDs, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock, minibar, CD player, DVD player, Olieve & Olie bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Each of the secluded hideaways has a direct path through a bush track to the shoreline and a private deck with an alfresco spa tub, so you really can’t go wrong. The Beach, a serene blue-and-white suite with driftwood furniture (designed by owner Paul) and jars of sea glass, holds a special place in our sea-loving hearts.
There’s no pool, but each suite has a two-person spa bath on its private deck, so you can soak away happily outside, whatever the season. You’re just steps away from St Andrews beach, too.
The peninsula’s national park is on your doorstep, so bring your sturdy footwear, an eco-friendly water bottle and a sense of adventure to explore.
At Big Blue Backyard, you check yourself in. Directions and access details will be sent to you via text when your room is ready. Smoking is permitted on your suite's private deck.
This secluded retreat is best enjoyed à deux.
The hotel’s 30 solar panels generate all daytime power, greywater is treated and reused in the gardens, and all cleaning products used in the hotel are natural and biodegradable.
Meals are set in your suite, so take breakfast in bed or go for the alfresco option. In the evening, set flickering candles around the deck and the tea trees.
Scandalously small pyjamas for breakfast (your hideaway is free from prying eyes); and whatever you like for dinner.
There's no formal restaurant; instead it’s secluded feasting. Breakfast is a selection of gourmet goodies laid out in your hideaway, including home-made granola, locally baked ciabatta, Greek yoghurt, fresh fruit and a basket of organic eggs, Italian sausages and bacon. Take your cafetiere of coffee out onto your private deck and wake slowly to the sound of the waves, then nibble on fresh fruit and grains, or cook a full fry up in your alfresco bush kitchen. Your daily provisions will also include an endless supply of coffee and Twinings teas, home-baked biscuits, fresh flowers and candles. At additional cost, a grazing platter or barbecue fixings can be tucked into your hideaway for you to enjoy at whatever time you like.
Just ask and a bottle (or two) or your favourite local varietal can be added to your provisions basket – the owners enjoy a particularly crisp white. Explore the wineries of the Mornington Peninsula, sampling in their cellars until you find the perfect bottle to smuggle away to your seaside snug.
Breakfast is available at any time – just help yourself to the delicious bits and bobs in your hideaway and minibar.
All provisions are tucked into your room’s mini fridge between noon and 2pm each day, when your hideaway is refreshed. Just remember: if you want something special for your stay, arrange with the hotel before arrival.
Big Blue Backyard is steps from Mornington Peninsula’s St Andrews beach and just an hour’s drive from Melbourne.
Fly into Melbourne's international airport, north-west of the city at Tullamarine. From here, you can pick up a hire car for the drive to the Mornington Peninsula. Our Smith24 team can arrange your flights and car hire.
It’s best to have your own set of wheels, so you can explore the gorgeous Mornington Peninsula at your own pace. Each hideaway has a secure parking spot for one car. If you’re making your way from Melbourne (just 40 miles away), keep an eye out for the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ‘Big Blue Backyard’ sign on a quiet residential street.
Worth getting out of bed for
Follow the stones on the sand path marked with blue arrows, which lead directly down to the beach, through the Mornington Peninsula National Park (if you need beach towels, grab some from the basket on the deck by the main house). For the chance to spot bottlenose dolphins and Australian fur seals, head to Port Phillip Bay and book a session with eco-conscious outfit Polperro Dolphin Swims. Golf more your bag? Tee off at The Dunes, an 18-hole sprawl of green coastal fairways in The Cups region of the Mornington Peninsula. Afterwards, book your muscle-easing bathing session at the Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs. Spend a day galloping (or trotting) through the national park’s coastal bush on horseback and top off the adventure with tasting sessions at some of the area’s many cellar doors with Horseback Winery Tours. Walk around the historic Port Nepean National Park, right at the tip of the Mornington Peninsula, with sweeping views of Port Phillip Bay and Bass Strait.
For leisurely lunches, make your way to Monalto, a family-run vineyard and restaurant in Red Hill. Indulge in wine and olive oil tastings while you’re here, then go for a ramble in the gardens, where the annual sculpture competition, featuring sculptors from all over the world, is held. In nearby Rye, feast on oysters and Asian-inspired tapas at laid-back restaurant Steam. Craving tacos, guacamole and excellent margaritas? Stop at Pay Baha – right down the road from Stream; if you’re lucky, your meal will be accompanied by live music. For traditional Italian fare, head to Del Posto, with its locally influenced dishes, including Hervey Bay scallops, homemade potato gnocchi, and squid ink lasagna with blue swimmer crab and ricotta.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this boutique hotel in Australia and unpacked their local bottle of pinot noir, a full account of their secluded beachside break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Big Blue Backyard in Mornington Peninsula…
This secluded three-suite stay is tucked away just off the south-west coast of Australia’s dramatically beautiful Mornington Peninsula. So all-encompassing is the combination of bush and beach, that you’d be forgiven for forgetting this is all just an hour away from metropolitan Melbourne. But here, buzzing city streets are eschewed in favour of long bush walks and vineyard visits.
Settle into your very own hideaway, which comes complete with an alfresco barbecue-style kitchen, soaking tub for two and direct path to the seaside. A basket brimming with breakfast goodies will be delivered to your suite each day, so you can enjoy leisurely breakfasts in bed, or on your private deck, whenever you’d like. Provisions for evening meals – barbecues in your bush kitchen – can also be provided, and owners Lisa and Paul know their way around the local vineyards – just ask if you need a recommendation of what pairs best with sea breezes and alfresco soaks under the stars.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Big Blue Backyard’s Guestbook below.
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