Mornington Peninsula , Australia

Jackalope

Rates from (ex tax)$446.43

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (AUD650.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Artistic alchemist

Setting

Toast of town

The chemistry’s just right at this alchemist of a hotel, which delights in the blending the strange with the surreal. Even its name, Jackalope, riffs on the theme: referring to a mythical, made-up creature with the face of a jackrabbit and the horns of an antelope. Indeed, everything at this Mornington Peninsula address shouldn’t work but definitely does, from its fiercely modern, jet-black exterior, set amid rolling vines; to its contrasting art-filled public spaces and minimalist, colour-sapped rooms. Two farm-to-fork restaurants proffer fare from the surrounding peninsula and a club-like bar stands within an old Edwardian homestead. Whatever the formula, they’ve got it just right.

Smith Extra

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A bottle of Rare Hare sparkling wine

Facilities

Photos Jackalope facilities

Need to know

Rooms

44, including two suites.

Check–Out

11am. Check-in: 3pm. Both are flexible and the hotel offers luggage storage and access to hotel facilities on request.

Rates

Double rooms from $446.43 (AU$591), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (AUD590.91), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include an à la carte breakfast in Doot Doot Doot. There’s milk from Melbourne’s Saint David micro-dairy, brews from Mornington’s Commonfolk Coffee Company, and dishes such as spanner-crab omelette and black-rice porridge on the menu.

Also

Jackalope hosts regular wine events to highlight its Willow Creek Vineyard, including multi-course wine dinners paired with special vintages and terrace tastings to showcase very limited ‘museum wines’.

Hotel closed

The hotel opens year round.

At the hotel

Spa treatments, custom-designed furniture, one-off art, vineyards, free WiFi. In rooms: a free minibar, Zuster furniture, flatscreen TV, Samsung tablet, Bose speakers, Japanese bath tub, Hunter LAB toiletries, robes.

Our favourite rooms

Colour-sapped walls, polished concrete and minimal furnishings pervade throughout the restrained rooms, but we love the Vineyard rooms for their contrasting, green views over the surrounding Willow Creek Vineyard – especially good at sunset, with a glass of pinot noir in hand. Upgrade to champagne by choosing the Lair rooms, with their penthouse-like dimensions, private terrace, indoor-outdoor fireplace and six-seater dining table. There’s even a personal wine cellar, so your glass will never run dry.

Poolside

Overlooking the Mornington Peninsula’s vine-tangled countryside, the 30m infinity pool stands on a raised deck, surrounded by jet-black parasols and ashen sunbeds. At one end, an angular, zinc-clad building rises like a fragment of volcanic rock. Appropriately named the Geode, it’s used for private events and spa treatments.

Spa

A compact treatment menu at the Geode includes pregnancy massages and Jackalope’s signature oil-based massage, which blends Swedish and deep-tissue techniques. Plant-based Edible Beauty Australia products, featuring botanicals and wildflowers from Australia’s remote hinterland, are used in facials.

Packing tips

Stand-out against the monochrome backdrop in a red, ruffle dress by Australian clothing brand C/MEO Collective and pattern-free Her Line swimsuits for the pool. For men, bring pared-back Feit accessories and an electric bottle-opener to enhance the oenological experience.

Also

Custom-made Hunter LAB toiletries, from Melbourne’s natural skincare brand, use crushed grape skins from the hotel’s Willow Creek Vineyard, which are recycled and reused after the wine has been made.

Children

Jackalope is best suited to adults. However, all ages are welcome. In Doot Doot Doot, there’s a kids’ dégustation menu (with matching juices) and high chairs. In Rare Hare, colouring books are provided. Extra cots can be added to rooms on request.

Food and Drink

Photos Jackalope food and drink

Top Table

Grab one of the jet-black, high-back sofas at Doot Doot Doot and a window seat for vineyard views at Rare Hare.

Dress Code

Looking for an opportunity to dress up? You can do so at Doot Doot Doot. Go for a full-length, crushed-velvet Winona dress by Australian designer Isabelle Quinn or a jacquard blazer from Calibre for men. At Rare Hare, smart-casual is fine.

Hotel restaurant

The first thing that strikes you about the Doot Doot Doot restaurant is the 10,000-lamp chandelier, created by Melbourne-based light designer Jan Flook to resemble wine bubbles during the fermentation process. Like all the artworks at Jackalope, it’s a striking feat that draws the eye. But that’s before chef Guy Stanaway has clicked his fingers in your direction with a five-course set menu, highlighting the region’s artisans and producers: from beef with black sesame to lamb sweetbreads with shiitake mushrooms. For a more relaxed bite, head to Rare Hare – a ‘wine and food store’, which serves rustic shared plates cooked in a wood-fired oven. Views of the vine-clad countryside are as impressive as the menu: chargrilled squid with romesco sauce, venison with kohlrabi remoulade and market fish with smoked mussel butter.

Hotel bar

Encased within a 19th-century Edwardian homestead at the end of Jackalope’s drive, you’ll find the seriously cool, club-like Flaggerdoot bar. Stylish strip-lighting runs along the ceiling, illuminating an otherwise all-black space of inky walls and ashen floors. Gold-clad Leather Works chairs by Edra are as mad-cap as Andrew Hazewinkel’s surreal, faceless head sculptures, which stare out into the darkness. A marble bar, lined with round-bottom chemistry flasks, lines up to offer a 30-strong list of speciality cocktails. Try the Butter Bee with lavender, honey and brown-butter gin, or the Dirty Matador with guava, chipotle and tequila. There’s a choice selection of chardonnay and pinot noir wines from the surrounding Willow Creek estate and a long list of botanical gins, whiskies and unusual spirits. Work your way through the list, but grab a bite to eat first: try the truffle mac ‘n’ cheese, or maybe a salumi selection.

Last orders

The main Doot Doot Doot restaurant serves breakfast from 7am-11am; lunch 12pm-3pm; dinner 6pm-9pm. Rare Hare is open for a leisurely lunch (11am-5pm) and dinner (5pm-9pm; Friday-Sunday only). Flaggerdoot bar serves from 11am-midnight.

Room service

An extensive in-room menu of cheese and salumi plates, pasta, fish, steak, burgers, club sandwiches and salads is available from 11am-11pm, with a reduced selection between 11pm-7am.

Location

Photos Jackalope location
Address
Jackalope
166 Balnarring Rd
Merricks
3926
Australia

Planes

The nearest international hub is Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport, a 90-minute drive away. A second option awaits at Tyabb Airport, a 20-minute drive away, which serves as a base for helicopter transfers; the hotel can arrange transfers for guests.

Trains

From Melbourne’s Flinders Street Railway Station, Metro Trains run services to Frankston Railway at the north end of the Mornington Peninsula, from where you can catch onwards Metro Bus services to destinations further south.

Automobiles

You can rent wheels from Melbourne city centre or on the peninsula itself – Mornington has several outposts. Once at the hotel, there’s free valet parking.

Worth getting out of bed for

Melbourne’s weekend playground entices city types with its soothing mix of wine bars and spas. The peninsula’s laidback, left-field vibe also means art galleries abound: try the Nook, in one of Mornington’s converted factories or the artist-led Cook Street Collective in Flinders. Jackalope’s location on a vineyard also hints at another local obsession: wine. Over 50 cellar doors populate the surrounding hillsides, with Crittenden EstateTuck’s Ridge and Montalto among the nearby favourites. There are gardens to explore at Ashcombe Maze, fine beaches along Port Phillip Bay and some of Australia’s best links courses at Mornington Golf CourseThe Dunes and Portsea. But don’t leave without taking a dip in the area’s natural hot springs: Peninsula Hot Springs is one of the best.

Local restaurants

The abundance of farms and vineyards on the Mornington Peninsula means there’s a rich harvest of places to eat and drink. In the Red Hill wine-making region, Polperro Bistro sits in a 25-acre plot, shaded by myrtle trees. Grab a spot on the wooden deck to make the most of the vineyard views and opts for refreshing dishes of cured scallops with watermelon or king prawns with kimchi butter. Also worth visiting are the three nearby vineyards, collectively known as Ten Minutes by Tractor. Chef Stuart Bell works the kitchen, mixing heirloom vegetables, foraged herbs and edible flowers with mains of whole-roasted Tasmanian quail and beetroot gnocchi. If you can’t decide, the eight-course dégustation menu does the job for you. For a taste of something different, French restaurant Le Bouchon offers a prix-fixe lunch and dinner menu, of seared scallops with pea purée, duck casserole and more, all washed down with the same impressive wine list from France and the surrounding terroir.

Local bars

With so many tasting rooms, it's best to refine your palette by downloading a trail map or organising a tour. One the best pit-stops is Port Phillip Estate, which has a cellar door, fine-dining restaurant and wine list that highlights the region’s prized pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. Like Jackalope, its modern architecture is worth the visit alone. Another laidback place is Foxeys Hangout, which has a deck and sloped lawn, where crowds gather for single-vineyard pinot noirs, estate wines and sparkling varieties – you can even make your own. At Green Olive, they serve a broad range of grape blends by the glass (or bottle), paired with a farm-style tapas of braised lamb tacos, pumpkin bruschetta and beetroot dip. For an Italian take on the region’s eating and drinking traditions, T’Gallant specialises in pinot gris and pinot grigio grapes, along with spuntino (sharing plates) and wood-fired pizza.

Reviews

Photos Jackalope reviews

Anonymous review

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 Jackalope hotel on the Mornington Peninsula and uncorked their single-vineyard pinot noir, a full account of their Australian break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Jackalope hotel in Australia…

A three-tier, neon-lit sign marks your arrival at Jac-Kal-Ope. Conceived by Melbourne-based Fabio Ongarato design studio, it’s just the start of an impressive roll-call of collaborations with Australian artists. From Andrew Hazewinkel’s faceless head sculptures to fashion designer Rick Owens’ antler-topped Stag Bench, this is a hotel that wears its art on its sleeve. Melbourne’s Carr Design Studio is behind the zinc-clad, inky-black exterior, which cuts a dramatic figure against the rolling vines of the Mornington Peninsula – Melbourne’s go-to wine-making region. Another key piece, which serves as a centrepiece to the eccentric Flaggerdoot bar, is Rolf Sachs’ illuminated chemistry set, which touches on the hotel’s central theme of alchemy. Even the name, Jackalope nods to a mythical creature – half-jackrabbit, half-antelope – which merges two incongruous elements. But there’s substance behind the style, too: muted grey-and-white rooms provide a serene space to sleep, and two restaurants, Doot Doot Doot and Rare Hare, offer contemporary interpretations on the region’s farm-to-fork cuisine. The sleepy Mornington Peninsula will never be quite the same.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Jackalope’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The funky vibe; the degustation dinner at doot doot doot with unexpected/brilliant wine pairings; perfect (in our view) location, snugly within the quieter, more discreet southeast flank of the Peninsula, very close to great food and wine, yet also within driving distance of more populated spots; warm, lovely service. 

Don’t expect

A sense that you are the only guests in a secluded hideaway. The property is buzzy throughout the day and evening. The rooms are in a two-storey building, laid out in a straight line on both sides of a somewhat utilitarian corridor. Definitely no private nooks and crannies here. Secure a vineyard-facing room at all costs; the euphemistically-named 'terrace' rooms look out onto the car park.

Rating

Stayed on 27 Apr 2018

We loved

The service was excellent. Every single person was super professional yet friendly and polished. The rooms overlooking the pool vines are the ones to go for. Loved the art installations in forms of furniture sculpture. Relaxed environment and unhurried.

Don’t expect

Flashy surroundings. It's laid-back but elegant and classy.

Rating

Stayed on 13 Apr 2018

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