Need to know
27 at Royal Mail Hotel; six one-bedroom, and two two-bedroom cottages and a homestead (for up to 12 guests) at Mt Sturgeon, 3km away.
Check-out 11am. Check-in, 3pm. Both flexible subject to availability; a further charge may apply.
Double rooms from $213.95 (AU$286), excluding tax at 10 per cent.
Rates include daily à la carte cooked breakfast; for guests staying at Mt Sturgeon Cottages or Mt Sturgeon Homestead, a breakfast hamper with fresh eggs, smoked bacon, pancake mix, Grampian's sheeps' milk yoghurt, home-made bread and muesli, and juice.
Only three kilometres from Dunkeld, the Mount Sturgeon homestead presides over a 1,000 bale-a-year superfine merino wool working sheep station, and can cater for up to 12 Smiths and their friends in a graceful and expansive historic home. So why not arrive by helicopter, play lord and lady of the manor for the weekend, and enjoy free transfers to the restaurant each night for dinner?
At the hotel
Gardens, outdoor pool. Mt Sturgeon's cottages have gardens, walking trails, barbecues and parking. The Homestead has a vegetable garden, croquet and bocce facilities and a library. In rooms: flatscreen TV, balcony; in cottages: kitchen, microwave, bar fridge, dining table, fireplace, stereo.
Our favourite rooms
If you're staying within Royal Mail Hotel, don’t settle for anything less than the aptly named Mountain View Rooms, where floor-to-ceiling, glass sliding doors frame postcard-perfect aspects of Mount Sturgeon and the Southern Grampian Ranges. The recently refreshed Deluxe Mountain View Rooms are the standouts, with clean-lined and contemporary interiors, king-size beds, sleek bathrooms and private decks, which are ideal for sipping a glass of wine and soaking up the view. Ask for the more private room furthest from the restaurant and bar. At Mt Sturgeon, 3km away, we love the one-bedroom bluestone cottages, which come with a queen-size bed, wooden side tables with lamps, a suitcase stand and a timber clothes rail (there’s no wardrobe). Beautifully framed photos of local wildlife liven up the textured white walls. In the two-bedroom cottages, one bedroom sports a queen-size bed, the other two single beds, with similarly rustic decor.
There is a small outdoor pool. Get there early or take a towel to lie on as loungers are in high demand.
Hiking kit for midday ambles, a wine guide for getting the low down on the local shiraz and loose-fitting garb for that multi-course meal.
Maps for eight marked walking trails are provided in all rooms. Walk off lunch with a stroll to Arboretum or the Chinese Wall – you can take a Hiker's Hamper in case you get gourmet withdrawal. Or relax with an in-room massage.
Welcome; but book a local nanny for dinnertime. The kids might get fidgety during the four-hour tasting menu. If you're staying in one of the cottages, extra beds are AU$45.
Welcome; but you've come for the food, so book a local nanny for dinnertime. The kids might get fidgety during the four-hour tasting menu.
The restaurant can offer a children's menu.
Can be arranged with a local nanny, but you'll need to request a babysitter when you book your room. Price on application.
No need to pack
Baby cots, but the hotel can't provide extra beds for older children.
With over 150 varieties of heirloom vegetables and herbs sourced from the hotel’s own extensive kitchen gardens, cuisine here is hyper-local and organic.