Couched in a looping oxbow of Obi Obi Creek and surrounded by lush subtropical rainforest, Spicers Tamarind Retreat in Maleny Qld is the luxury escape for the nature-lover who also enjoys their creature comforts.
Set amidst the verdant tropical landscape of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Spicers Tamarind is a getaway in every sense. It’s an escape to a paradise that calms the senses and awakens your awareness of the beauty of nature.
Eastern whip birds slingshot their songs from the trees and snooty water dragons gulp their surprise at seeing you on their veranda or in their carpark.
Check out our video of Spicers Tamarind Retreat here.
Meanwhile brush turkeys patrol the pathways and dig for gold in the gardens, and the rumble of Gardners Falls down in the valley is therapy in itself.
And that’s before you get to your incredible room, enjoy a treatment in the sublime Spa Anise or dine at the opulent two-hatted restaurant The Tamarind.
Spicers Tamarind Retreat
In fact, the staff at Clovelly Estate pointed out that while their Spicers has a more provincial European feel, Spicers Tamarind Retreat is more Southeast Asian jungle vibe. And I see exactly what they mean.
This is most apparent in the restaurant of each venue.
Clovelly Estate’s Long Apron features modern European fare while here, Tamarind serves from a very much Asian focused menu.
All accommodation at Spicers Tamarind Retreat is villa format. Most are free-standing with some duplexes.
Our room—a two-bedroom Luxury Forest Villa—was at the end of a winding path that leaves you feeling like you’re the only people around in the middle of a beautiful rainforest.
Hints of Thailand and Indonesia speak from many angles, from the broad daybed on the front veranda and the pale timber chest coffee table in the lounge to the pattern on the blockout blinds in the bedrooms.
The master bedroom has a large ensuite with a deep-fill freestanding bath as well as a shower room. Concertina glass doors next to the bath can open right up onto your own private courtyard.
Bedroom two also has an ensuite with a shower.
Both bedrooms have huge king-size beds, a large flat space for suitcases (I hope this is this the industry moving away from those annoying folding hammocks for luggage) and heated towel racks.
Tamarind Retreat is well-equipped for hot and cold weather. Air con has separate systems in each sector of the villa and can cool and heat, and there’s also a log fire with a well-stocked bucket of firewood, kindling and starters in the big lounge area.
We’re glad to see the minibar is stocked with miniatures of locally made gin and vodka from Noosa Heads Distillery, as well as the usual wine and beer. There’s also a range of loose-leaf teas to enjoy and complimentary Nespresso.
Breakfast at Spicers Tamarind—as with other Spicers venues—is a la carte. You can either dine in the Tamarind Restaurant or you can ask for it to be brought to your villa.
This amazing service arrived magically on the daybed of our veranda exactly on time.
A tray laden with—as per our order—a K-town Bagel (toasted poppyseed bagel with a giant crispy hash brown, smoky pastrami, kimchi and a fried egg) that makes the usual salmon and cream cheese just look sad, and tomatoes on toast.
About as far from mere bruschetta as you can get, this was avocado butter, fresh heirloom tomatoes, local buffalo halloumi and pistachio dukkah on lightly toasted sourdough.
We also found a plate of the most delicate delicious banana bread, seasonal fruit and yoghurt topped with toasted seeds, and our choice of fresh fruit juice too.
Breakfast fit for a jungle king and queen!
Pro tip: our particular villa—number nine—is the most private of them all and is popular with wedding parties where the bride can get ready.
It’s closest to the pathway that leads to a glade amongst the trees where ceremonies often take place.
Exploring the grounds
The borders of this Spicers property spread much further than you expect, running all the way down to the banks for Obi Obi Creek and Gardners Falls, which you can hear thundering away from many parts of the retreat.
There are pathways that allow you to explore a lot of the grounds by yourself, but you can also book the resident horticulturalist Aaron to take you round the retreat’s 18 acres and show you some of the lesser know elements of Spicers Tamarind.
It’s free, but you do need to book.
Aaron was fascinating, and so generous with his time and knowledge. He’s currently the only person working full-time to tend to the beautiful yet vast section of Hinterland landscape.
He also took us to see Gardners Falls, which were running well that day. Lots of people were swimming in the pools and jumping in from the rope swing.
Spa Anise at Spicers Tamarind Retreat
Many of the Spicers properties have a Spa Anise day spa, but the one here at Spicers Tamarind Retreat is seen as the flagship. And rightly so.
Set aside from the rest of the retreat, Spa Anise looks out over its own lawn that leads down to rainforest and the waterfalls, which you can hear from the back veranda.
There’s a huge array of treatments on offer here, including the hydrotherapy pool, which has an open wall looking out over the landscape. The heated pool, which is fitted with spa jets, is magnesium-infused to ease muscle tension.
There’s also a rain-shower here and a sauna, and you can book the entire suite to yourself for up to an hour.
After half an hour in the hydrotherapy pool, our Spice of Life Signature Spa Ritual, which lasted over two and a half blissful hours, was the kind of pampering everyone should experience at least once in their lives.
The Tamarind Restaurant
The crown glory of this wonderful retreat, The Tamarind is also regarded as the best restaurant in the area.
Taking its lead from Spicers Tamarind Retreat’s Asian influence, The Tamarind’s menus are focused on taking the best edible elements of Thailand, Japan, China and Korea, combining them, modernising them and turning them into world-class dishes.
The result is artfully plated creations like char siu octopus from WA with edemami and a sweet Szechuan dressing, and a whole crispy fried Coral Sea trout dressed with a three-flavour sauce and pickled garlic.
Seated in the dark timber recess of this open-windowed, jungle-ensconced eatery with night birds and frogs voicing their nocturnal chorus, it felt like we could be back in the tropics of Asia right then.
Our short, surfeited stroll back to our villa took us round the boardwalk through part of the rainforest. We turned our torches off and bathed in the sounds of the Hinterland one last time before bed.