I've never been one of those people that has only thought that hotels and places to stay are a place to simply lay their head. To me, a hotel is a home away from home and I like to bury myself in the hotel room, just me and the bath, room service, mini bar and the internet connection and tv and I'm happy as a clam. It's probably why I am so fussy about the rooms that I stay in-just call me Adrian Monk ;. And if we are assigning blame it should probably go to my parents who are similarly finicky. And although I know it is a rite of passage for many I have never backpacked.
It was a lovely setting and very spacious but lacked quality. Plenty of hype, but fails to walk the After commending her for keeping to the left side of the road, he suggested a better route to our destination, Pokolbin, the main wine-growing Vintage tower lodge hunter valley autumn in the lower Hunter Valley. This ultra modern facility had everything we needed right at our door step without the need with wine high on the agenda to drive. Since Tower Lodge serves only breakfast, we headed out to Robert's at Pepper Tree, co-owned by Evans and generally considered the best restaurant in the area. Date of stay: June Rooms. Fair hollywood photo vanity in to get trip updates and message other travellers. Trip type: Travelled with family. Petrina Tinslay. Selected filters.
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Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. The breakfasts were brilliant. The Amateur bachelorette party really let this place down. Terrible 3. Although, I must say in general, the quality of accommodation on the Hunter appears to leave a lot to be desired. I must take some responsibility, as the 'classic style' room is not something I'm usually a fan of - I much prefer modern. The the exterior of the window was full of dirt and dead insects, so the cleaning staff did toer best to clean it up - but the flyscreens were never repaired. Room Vintage tower lodge hunter valley autumn Look at the photos online of each room and pick one best on personal preference. Review of Tower Lodge. Updating list I must say I was extremely disappointed when we were shown to the room. Unfortunately I won't be returning to Tower, too expensive for what I felt to be a sub-par room.
Jonathan Reynolds takes a room at the Tower Lodge and drinks it all in.
- Own or manage this property?
- Own or manage this property?
- As we entered the majestic grand doors of Tower Lodge, I was in love.
- With museum-rivalling multicultural credentials, Tower Lodge is a modern manor sprinkled with curios and antiques, and surrounded by rambling winelands and groomed green golf courses.
- These privately owned properties are available for you, your family or friends to enjoy an escape amongst the vineyards.
Jonathan Reynolds takes a room at the Tower Lodge and drinks it all in. After commending her for keeping to the left side of the road, he suggested a better route to our destination, Pokolbin, the main wine-growing town in the lower Hunter Valley. The night before, at the tail end of a two-week trip to Sydney, we'd had dinner with a group of friends that included wine columnist Peter Bourne.
Yes, yes, you must see the Tower, beautifully quirky, only 12 rooms, famous investors, a million dollars Australian per room, luxe, luxe, luxe. Oh, and the owner's a maverick. Bold, purple rectangles that look like sandstone—but in fact are colored concrete troweled over brick—both intrigue and forebode at the entrance. After a short driveway, an angular complex that would arrest the eye in any location astonishes in this one: more purple surfaces jut heavenward and seem to surprise one another by eventually intersecting.
It's not clear whether we are in Marrakesh, Santa Fe, or a Le Corbusier fantasy, but the effect in the surrounding wide-open field is strangely harmonious. Arranged around a fountained courtyard reminiscent of ancient Rome, the rooms are spacious and airy—with foot ceilings—many with white stucco walls, brick floors, massive beds and headboards, bent copper chandeliers, and heavy, personality-laden chairs. They convey the notion that a very demanding Babylonian, compulsive about personal comfort, designed, oversaw, and road-tested these chambers to psychotic extremes.
All but two have narcotizing king-sized beds a pleasure if you've just come from France or England, where a request for a king is greeted with the same response as if you'd given your address as "Box 13, Mars". Several ceilings have straw panels bordered with mahogany, giving a voice to the interior design of yet another country—this time, Malaysia. That makes five international styles so far—six if you include the Australian signature of galvanized steel roofs; seven if you consider the immense public rooms, featuring a baronial fireplace and mammoth furnishings that might have been designed by Charles Foster Kane.
The hotelier responsible for all this extravagance is a maverick indeed. Len Evans, the best known and most imaginative of the local vintners, not only conceived the lodge but also financed and designed it himself. By many estimates, Evans—who has started up no fewer than three wineries in this valley alone—has done more for the Australian wine industry through his promotional and viticultural contributions than any other individual.
Australia has recently supplanted France as the second-leading exporter of wines to the United States Italy is the leader. We had arrived shortly before dinner and, though hungry, played with all the room gadgets first—we opened the blinds with a remote, watched the brass-highlighted ceiling fans spin gold as they whirled above us, and practically ice-skated across the capacious, mosaicked bathroom.
Since Tower Lodge serves only breakfast, we headed out to Robert's at Pepper Tree, co-owned by Evans and generally considered the best restaurant in the area. In September—the end of Australia's winter—the sun disappears at p. And when it does, the interior of Robert's becomes as romantic as a country house in Provence. Decorated with rustic antiques, the large space fills with the chatter of happy eaters, and the three private dining rooms—one with a blazing fireplace—invite intimacy.
So, if you're proposing marriage or a merger , ask for the room with the fireplace, and you'll get the response you want. And if the deep-sea cod is on the menu, grab it; simply prepared, it is juicy and flavorful.
Shun the overcooked pork rib, however, and go straight to the buttermilk and banana puddings. If you're not sure which of the local vintages to sample, just ask. Almost everyone in the Hunter Valley is a walking wine encyclopedia. Australia had been known as a strictly beer-guzzling country for so long that it took the world a while to adjust to its "sudden" expertise in wines. Like all overnight successes, the wines from this valley have a lengthy and checkered history. In a warm and somewhat humid climate, the Hunter Valley is bordered by its namesake river and the Liverpool and Brokenback mountain ranges.
The valley is filled with eucalyptus trees, which contrast pleasantly with the craggy slopes of the mountains, and just about every time you turn a corner you'll find a different landscape. The first wine grapes were planted here years ago, filling only a paltry 10 acres. By the 's the industry had grown, and the venerable names Lindeman and Wyndham appeared. For a while producers prospered, though the wines were generally cheap and sweet and carried the alcoholic punch of a city bus.
It took over a century for the wines to shake that reputation. Common wisdom holds that Australia has superior reds and New Zealand superior whites. Wines here are often named after their grapes; if one is a blend, all the grapes are in the name, leading to less confusion but mouthfuls of words. Young and grassy and pleasantly drinkable in the first two or three years after bottling, it degrades for a period of three to five years, during which time it's no good at all.
Then, it butterflies into a rich and toasty wine quite unlike any other. We spent the better part of two days hitting as many as we could. After a morning of tasting, we returned to Robert's for lunch, where the chef-owner, Robert Molines, greeted us. The gardens proved just as picturesque as the dining room. They surround a restored settler's cottage; we could have happily spent a summer of afternoons there feasting on blue-crab omelettes and New Orleans-style spatchcock akin to poussin.
Molines, who claims to have introduced garlic to Australian diners in , is a pioneer. No longer were parents ashamed to send their children to school with a salami sandwich instead of toast and Vegemite. The food in the Hunter Valley promises much. For one thing, Australia is a giant produce garden. As in Sydney, every restaurant we sampled offered brilliant basics—fat tomatoes, sweet asparagus, glistening seafood, superb meats—and often imaginative, thoughtful recipes.
If there is a shortcoming in the cooking of the Hunter Valley, it is the same one you find in Sydney, New York, and Paris: the tendency to overcomplicate and mistrust the exceptional raw materials. Usually, this results in a dish that, with so many personalities, ultimately lacks a single personality, like a novel with one sentence by Faulkner, another by Pound, and a third by Tennessee Williams. The most egregious offender in the Hunter Valley is Chez Pok, part of the very pretty Peppers hotel the rooms are a bit spartan, but the grounds are a delight.
A superb slice of tuna is balanced on top of mashed potatoes complicated with kippers, tomatoes, and chives, then unnecessarily sauced with a reduction of butter, cream, and a garish sweet wine. The tuna would have been excellent on its own, but instead became accessory to a ponderous, pretentious muddle. Here, food is served in towers, too, though the Cellar is on the threshold of excellence.
A very fine salad of seared Tasmanian salmon with smoked mussels cleverly accented with chorizo is somewhat muffled with saffron rice and finally overpowered by a paprika aioli. Each of the layers could stand alone, as could the components of a remarkable prime sirloin atop a creative concoction of Gorgonzola-and-spinach dumplings and unusually crisp prosciutto. But forked all together, it's difficult to get in your mouth unless you have the jaws of a sword swallower.
Tower Lodge serves no towers at its only meal, and for the first time in my life, I understood why a "full English breakfast" could delight: a rhubarb confit flavored with rose water on slices of toast; pears poached in Sauternes and cinnamon; a Roma tomato perfect and peeled and lightly buttered after baking; meaty portobellos; sausages, bacon, and eggs that conjured images of childhood.
The luxurious simplicity of the Tower breakfast was emblematic of the hotel itself, the surrounding valley, the lush vineyards, and the cool green and purple fruit they celebrate. The best place to start tasting is Tower Lodge itself, where Len Evans bottles the best grapes from all over Australia under the Tower Estate label—like an all-star baseball team of wines. His bottles represent the gold standard, but here are a few other cellar doors to visit:. Brokenwood These wines are consistently strong.
Capercaillie This small producer 6, cases a year has a reput-ation for cutting-edge vintages: try the '98 Hunter Valley Shiraz. The winery features ever-changing exhibitions of arts and crafts. Rothbury Estate The immense tasting room with huge wooden casks and beamed ceilings looks like an opera set. Tempus Two A boutique winery with a spaceship-like tasting room. This sandstone and glass banquet hall in Pokolbin specializes in Euro-influenced, Australian dishes by chef Andy Wright like braised baby octopus, seared scallops with smoked ham, and roast Berkshire pork chop with pommes parisienne.
A particular favorite of meat-loving patrons is the gram slab of Black Angus sirloin steak. In summer, the best seats are on the outdoor patio shaded by wisteria vines, while in colder months, the large, stone fireplace inside becomes the centerpiece. Set in an ivy-covered, slab cottage that dates back to and is situated among the vineyards of Hunter Valley, this eclectic restaurant by renowned chef Robert Molines serves multi-course menus of country-style dishes like ballotine of local quail, star anise glazed duck breast, and seared Tasmania salmon.
The wine cellar also follows an Australian theme with dozens of newer vintages of all styles from regional wineries. Before or after dining, the property is worth a walkabout to see the gardens, verandahs, antique knick-knacks, and even a chapel for the numerous weddings performed there.
The Wines of Hunter Valley. By Jonathan Reynolds May 08, Pin FB ellipsis More. Image zoom. Petrina Tinslay. Close Share options. All rights reserved. Close View image.
Breakfast included. Brisbane, Australia contributions helpful votes. Tower Lodge. It's truly a shame. Show Prices.
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TOWER LODGE: See Hotel Reviews and 46 Photos (Greater Newcastle/Pokolbin) - TripAdvisor
We bed down in room Two queen beds sit side by side, with giant iron arches above each bed thrusting towards the omnipresent vaulted ceilings. Antique armchairs mingle with Turkish kilim, woven Aztec foot stools and old English bed fabrics and curtains that all clash in a good way.
The bathroom is large and light with a deep spa bath and cobbled mosaic floors and is accessed via a cosy dressing room with mini bar and tea and coffee facilities. Drinks are available each afternoon in the main lodge or by the pool in the wellness complex. A duty manager is on call at all times. The animals come in two by two at Tower Lodge. The rooms have been made for loving and the resort is adults only. This is why we came, to eat, and George Francisco, head chef of Roberts Restaurant, ensures we do just that.
We roll back to Tower Lodge filled to the gills with his signature dishes enhanced by sustainable produce plucked from the garden outside the kitchen. The terrace of the ironbark cottage overlooking the organic gardens provides a delightful backdrop.
Francisco takes care in his food: the gazpacho amuse-bouche, the crab pasta and double cooked Gruyere souffle are standouts. The panna cotta that arrives wobbling obscenely on the plate is worth a taste.
It would be easy to spend 48 hours simply indulging at Roberts for lunch, wine tasting at Tower Estate and then NINE, which is Tower Lodge's degustation basement restaurant open for dinner on weekends.
All are walking distance from your room. The lodge grounds are filled with sculptures and there's an hole putting course. If you still wanted to venture out you could head to Hunter Valley Gardens for a turn around the petunias. Do not go alone, take a lover or a friend and pack loose clothes for an expanding waistline.
A lodge that spells relaxation, designed for those who like to leave the world behind and sink into time for two. Head north for two hours on the M2 Pacific Highway, take the Cessnock exit and follow the signs to the Hunter for another half hour. Tower Lodge is on the corner of Broke and Halls roads. Home Destinations. Search Site. Why Rick Stein fell in love with Mollymook Contains:.
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