Finding that perfect romantic getaway is a balancing act between location, price, quality and your partner’s expectations. Our recent trip to Spicers Vineyards Estate Hotel in the Hunter Valley 2 hours north of Sydney completely took our hearts. It’s the perfect mix of luxe living and romantic seclusion to make a special occasion even more memorable.
For years, we’ve had mixed feelings about the Hunter Valley – New South Wales’ premier wine region. It’s only a couple of hours north from our doorstep, but we never used to go up there all that often.
To some extent where we’ve stayed has had a lot to do with that. They’ve been hit-and-miss.
However, our stay in Spicers Vineyards Estate has changed our perspective of what the Hunter Valley has to offer. This boutique retreat and connecting restaurant is owned and run by husband-and-wife team Belinda and Mark Stapleton, and the attention to detail and that personal touch is what makes this place.
Belinda’s efforts have piqued the interest of several awards in the hospitality industry and it’s clear to see why. From the moment you step through the doors of this country estate to the point when you drive out through the gates after checkout, the care, attention and comfort you experience here is amazing.
There are only 12 rooms in this hotel, which meant we really noticed the high level of service a lot more. From the complimentary cocktail they brought to our room at sunset to coming home to find someone had built and lit the fire in our fireplace, we felt so well cared for.
There are two types of room at this Spicers: King Spa Rooms and Luxury Spa Suites. The difference is size (of course) with a separate living space and huge bathroom in the suites. But you also get a full bluestone fireplace in the suite and an amazing rain shower.
Both room types are beautiful though.
There’s an option to be in a ground or first floor room here. The 1st floor rooms have balconies overlooking the vines and hills of Australia’s oldest wine region. Sounds pretty good right?
However, the ground floor has a large private veranda at the back and a front porch through oversize French doors perfect for a sundowner or morning cup of coffee. And no stairs. We had a ground floor room – which of course was the better option!
The grounds themselves are full of touches of detail too, like outdoor lounges and hanging chairs in the common spaces. The property sports a pretty bloody cool swimming pool if you’re in the mood for a dip, a day spa, a small vineyard that the Stapletons make their own micro-vintage from… and then there’s the restaurant.
Mark Stapleton – Belinda’s husband – is the executive chef of Restaurant Botanica and produces some amazing dishes using locally sourced ingredients. He’s developed his own kitchen garden at the back of the restaurant where he grows and harvests an amazing wealth of herbs, veggies and leaves that add such freshness to the menu.
Much like the hotel, the restaurant’s décor is full of beautiful little touches that make you feel totally at ease when you walk in. And the staff here are incredibly attentive and friendly too.
For more detail on what the restaurant has to offer, check out our review of the Restaurant Botanica here.
Spicers Vineyards Estate and Restaurant Botanica are located in the heart of the Lower Hunter Valley, tucked away off the Hermitage Road. Somewhere between Pokolbin and Branxton, the hotel’s in the midst of some great options for wine tasting.
If you’re not sure which winery to visit first while you’re there, here’s our local’s guide to which wineries are worth visiting. The Scarborough family helped us put this list together, so there are some gems here only locals would know about.
Spicers Vineyards Estate Hotel
555 Hermitage Rd
Pokolbin NSW 2320
Where do you stay when you’re on an overnight visit to the Hunter Valley? Have you ever spent a night in wine country anywhere else? Tell us in the comments!