Hiding the quiet hills of Queensland’s beautiful Hinterland, Spicers Clovelly Estate and its incredible hatted restaurant Long Apron offer a notion of French elegance in the lush sub-tropical countryside.
You might not think a five-star French-inspired luxury retreat would fit with the dense evergreen jungle and rugged terrain of southeastern Queensland. But after visiting Spicers Clovelly Estate, questions on whether France needs to rethink its landscaping begin to arise.
Nonchalantly scattered amongst the trees and lawns of this 22-acre property, the three main buildings of Clovelly Estate house the various rooms and suites, but also the reception, library, bar and this Spicers’ beautiful restaurant The Long Apron.
Via a little track there’s also a giant cabana for weddings and events, and the deck has astounding views out over Lake Baroon and the surrounding countryside.
Here’s our video walkthrough of Spicers Clovelly Estate.
Rooms at Spicers Clovelly Estate
With just 17 rooms spread across the property, it goes without saying this is an intimate, secluded place to stay.
Four of those bedrooms belong to the French Cottage—a self-contained two-level house with a full kitchen and private infinity plunge pool on the veranda. It’s the perfect option for bigger groups or multigenerational trip for the family.
There are a variety of suites in the Estate building, where you’ll also find the reception, day spa and The Long Apron. And in the newly-built Montville House, where our room is—a Montville Suite in fact.
Although this building has only been here since June 2020, Montville House has the feel of somewhere much more established.
Its white weatherboard walls and grey slate roof blend perfectly with the rest of the retreat’s aesthetic.
From the entrance, you pass through the communal living room and small library, replete with open fire, and comfy sofas and chairs. And books of course.
There’s also a dining room with a large table here. Imagine hiring out the whole of Montville House for a group of friends or a big family trip—that would be amazing.
Our room in Montville House
One of the largest rooms at Clovelly Estate, our Montville Suite has all the markings of a Spicers room; carefully considered decor, comfortable yet stylish furniture and plenty of luxury finishes.
The enormous kingsize bed greets you as you enter the room, backed by a beautiful headboard and feature wall.
This wall hides the bathroom sink and vanity, wet-room shower and voluptuous freestanding limestone bath.
But the most striking feature are the two doors open at either side of the suite. One door opens grandly onto a deck with views out over the lawns and trees of the estate.
The other lets you into a sunken courtyard. With its black wrought iron setting on checkerboard paving amongst the dappled light sparkling through the trees above, it’s a space that is wholly European.
The delight is in the details
There’s so much to this room.
From the thoughtful glass and carafe of fresh water on each bedside to the beautiful herringbone marble tiling in the bathroom area, it’s clear that luxury and comfort are at the heart of this room.
But there are other details that many places miss the mark on here that show the designers really understand what travellers need.
Yes, there’s a lovely little reading nook in the corner, but better than that, there’s a power point built into the seat, so you can keep working, reading or scrolling and charge your device at the same time as relaxing here.
Yes, there’s a good size wardrobe with lots of hangers, but better still, there’s a large flat area where two suitcases can sit open without getting in the way.
It’s worth noting though that because our room is down a flight of stairs, it does make it tricky for accessibility. However, it’s possible to avoid the stairs and get in through one of the side doors, and there are other rooms upstairs that are accessible.
Other features of Spicers Clovelly Estate
Spicers Clovelly really takes advantage of the 22 acres it’s on. Apart from the retreat itself, there are walking tracks that take you through the bushland on the property.
At the end of a 100-metre track is a giant cabana covering the Lake View Deck. It’s aptly named; views out over Lake Baroon and the valley below are incredible—just the spot for a romantic glass of Champagne or even a banquet lunch for groups.
And if you ask nicely, a member of staff might even drive you down in a resort golf buggy.
Hidden in the lush gardens behind a leafy wall is the pool. This little sun trap, more than anywhere in the retreat, feels like a French palace, though the statue of the sunbathing lady poolside is a bit disconcerting at first!
In the Estate building, you’ll find a larger library than ours in Montville House, with more comfy sofas, a welcoming open fire and even a piano.
Dining at Spicers Clovelly Estate—The Long Apron
Breakfast is served on the terrace or on the lawn each morning from the kitchens of Clovelly Estate’s hatted restaurant, The Long Apron. A la carte options include things like Maleny buffalo sausage with a savoury scone, bacon, poached egg and a garlic crumb with chilli jam and café de Paris butter.
Or leek and mushroom croquette with mountaintop mushrooms, pickled Falls Farm vegetables, salsa verde and a poached egg.
Not bad, right? But even better, your breakfast always comes with fresh fruit, gluten-free granola and fresh pastries to start, so don’t eat too much the night before!
Breakfast here is strong a competitor against dinner, which is already quite a statement. And then you see the evening menus.
Choose between a set five-course degustation menu or three courses a la carte of modern French cuisine.
We went for the degustation tasting menu and were very impressed.
Make sure you also check out the signature cocktails too. My Spiced negroni came in its own little carafe, used Australian gin and vermouth, and the Campari was infused with star anise, cinnamon and wattleseed.
Service was superb (thank you, Britney!) and the food was unbelievably good. Steak tartare, lamb shoulder, eye fillet, the cheese—all amazing.
Spicers Clovelly Estate is just down the road from the pretty little hillside town of Montville—one of the three Ms of the Hinterland (the others being Maleny and Mapleton) and known as the creative heartland of the region.
And this retreat mirrors the milieu with the same witty nuance and eccentricities in its rooms and outdoor spaces. All I’ll say is see how many pictures of pears you can find; they’re the founder’s favourite fruit!