The Denman is a newcomer to the 8Hotels Collection… a recent merge that has Georgia Rickard asking, what else is new at The Denman?

There’s something comforting about the drive to Thredbo from Sydney. Don’t ask me what, exactly – is it the questionable coffee at road stops? The requisite stop at Maccas? Whatever the case, I love it unashamedly. And I’m not the only one: it’s a pilgrimage savoured and enjoyed annually by tens of thousands of loyal snow lovers… even though we’re well aware that Aussie ski conditions are hardly stiff competition on the world’s alpine stage.

If you really wanted to get honest, the same could be said about Australian ski accommodation. Compared to the grand hoteleries and beautiful lodges of say, Aspen, Banff, or St Moritz, Kosciuszko’s offerings are small change.

But I’m cool with that.

So as I check into The Denman, a pretty-looking lodge all covered in snow (just like a real ski hotel!), I’m pretty much already the happiest version of me I can be. Look – there’s a fireplace! And a cute little library! And then of course, there’s the best part of all: IT’S SNOWING!

My review is already over. This is officially the best place in the world.

My companion, who is more interested in the size of the cocktails than last night’s snow dump and possibly not, shall we say, tainted by a deeply fanatical commitment to alpine Australia, rolls her eyes at me. It’s nice, her expression says. But they do it better in Europe.

Whatever.

After checking in to our ‘cosy’ room – which is smaller than my first apartment, admittedly, but comfy, warm and has a bathroom stocked with Aveda – we wander downstairs for an early dinner. The restaurant, The Terrace, has been awarded a chef’s hat in this year’s Good Food Guide, and if that’s not an excuse to eat up and be merry, then I’ve obviously misunderstood the meaning of life.

Happily, the food is excellent. Absolutely beautiful. Even the sourdough bread we’re served in generous portions before our meal is worth a mention – that perfect combination of chewy, warm and crusty; it’s set off perfectly by fragrant olive oil and the gently caramelised balsamic that accompanies it.

Unfortunately, the service isn’t so great – wait staff are warm and effusive, but seem to have a problem remembering any of our requests. Thankfully, the long wait is tempered by a glass
of great shiraz. (Or maybe more than one.)

There are certain things about The Denman that highlight the quaintness of our ski fields. Check in, and you’ll be greeted by hotel owner Judy, who keeps a hand-written ledger of accounts – no state-of-the-art computer systems happening here. Then there are 4WDs parked on-site, which peek out from half-closed garage doors – they don’t fit inside a building that was constructed before today’s oversized cars became available.

And admittedly, the rooms aren’t exactly luxurious. In fact, for what I paid ($558 for one night!), it wasn’t up to scratch – the rooms are very small, and while comfortable, somewhat under-appointed. But you don’t spend much time in your room on a snow holiday, to be fair – and in that context, the Denman is perfect.

A hotel right in the middle of the ski village, with views of the mountain and a two-minute walk to the slopes is something that’s hard to put a price on.

And that alone is enough to have me coming back. See you next year…

THE GOSSIP
“The 36-room Denman Hotel is all you’d expect a cosy mountain boutique retreat to be…”
– Sydney Morning Herald

THE AT VERDICT
Georgia Rickard, who paid her own way and visited anonymously, says:
“Like everything else in the Aussie snow, the prices are exorbitant – but at the end of a day’s hard skiing, you’ll be happy you spent the extra. Comfort in a great spot.”

The Details
Where? 21 Diggings Terrace, Thredbo Village, NSW
Notes: We paid $558 for one night’s accommodation, including a hot buffet breakfast.
Contact: 02 6457 6222;  thedenman.com.au

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