We countdown the ultimate Australian destinations where you can really unwind and indulge – #10 Spicers Peak Lodge, Maryvale, QLD
SPICERS PEAK LODGE
TOP CAPACITY: A maximum of 26 people can stay here at any time. There are 10 lodge suites and two private lodges.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Overlooking Queensland’s stunning Scenic Rim, Spicers Peak Lodge was built by travel industry entrepreneur and environmental advocate Graham Turner and his wife Jude. The multi-award-winning, architecturally exquisite property regularly attracts the highest echelon of Australian and international business executives and celebrities seeking a brief but intense dose of nature, child-free relaxation and sensory pampering. While some choose to explore the glorious bush environs by mountain bike or on foot, most are content to recline in the all-embracing lounge with a good book and a fine wine, just within earshot of the next dinner bell.
Most affordable room: The standard ‘lodge suite’ is a generous room decorated in a restrained, earthy style befitting the character of the lodge and echoing the native bush setting. Materials such as stone, wood, tin and panoramic glass create a perfect open feel. The cavernous bathroom contains a spa tub and separate shower with deliciously fragrant Molton Brown products. But really, with all the lodge has to offer, the room is not where you’d want to spend your time. All rooms have complimentary minibars, king beds and LED TVs plus wireless internet is available throughout the lodge if you absolutely have to keep connected. Ask for a fireplace if you’re heading up in winter. From $1190 per room per night per couple.
Best room in the house: The “spa suites” are true honeymoon standard with extra space and a super spa, but ramp it up some more and head out to one of the private lodges. With outdoor spa and lounges and beguiling views over the valley, they are so private they are only visible from the air. Built on the fringe of the bush and on the edge of the escarpment, these villas make full use of the tranquil setting and come in either one- or two-bedroom configurations. Full use of regular lodge facilities and activities is included in the tariff. A one-bedroom lodge starts at $1890, while a lodge sleeping four costs from $2490, presenting the best value in the whole place.
Included in the tariff are: use of the private tennis court, mountain bikes and bushwalks for calorie control (you’ll need this!).
Outdoor infinity pool and indoor pool table for dry sharks.
Spa Anise day spa offers treatments at extra cost. The hot stone massage sounds… hot.
Pick a spot on the 9000 hectare property and have your own Champagne picnic delivered.
Twin 12-seat boardrooms for executive retreats and micro-conferences – just don’t tell the shareholders.
All-inclusive pricing makes for stress-free checkout and I’m surprised more upscale properties don’t do this. There are optional extensions like fine wines and beauty treatments, but you can have a pretty decent time with just the included stuff.
Location location location. A cliché perhaps, but SPL’s mountain-top spot is a blockbuster and you’d have to go to the Snowy Mountains for a comparable alpine outlook.
Many Spicers Group properties are located on former or scaled down cattle stations with active environment restoration and conservation projects. They are typically expansive so you can go get lost for a day without leaving the resort.
The flip side to seclusion and privacy is access. The winding dirt road can be a challenge, especially in the wet, and the sign-posting could send your GPS into a spin. Relax, take your time and enjoy the drive. Of course, you can avoid all that with a helicopter transfer and get a double thrill at the view.
Spicers Peak Lodge (and indeed the whole Spicers Group) prides itself on culinary excellence. The reception area wall needs an extension just to hold all the awards, so you know you’re in for a fine-dining treat here. The dining area may seem small, but it’s anything but cramped and the maximum of ten couples typically enjoy their privacy without roaring, boisterous discussions. The kitchen is open, almost theatre-style, so you can see it all going on. Meals are presented with matching (included) wines, but you can lash out and hook into the private cellar too, at extra charge. The whole experience reeks of exclusivity so be prepared to feel special. Dutch-born chef Frank Marelle continues the Spicers trademark quality offering.
Meals are included in the tariff for guests. Dinners comprise seven-course tasting menus (sorry, no a la carte). For non-guests, prices start at $115 per person for a three-course lunch; dinner costs from $195 pp for the seven-course degustation (bookings essential).
Spicers Peak Lodge
1300 253 103;
Words by Roderick Eime