Check into Australia’s newest luxury lodge and you too can discover a South Australia you never knew existed.
Harnessing the magic of the Adelaide Hills is not a responsibility one takes lightly. After all, this is a region where wineries and restaurants beckon from leafy groves, abundant wildlife traverse patchwork valleys, and sun-dappled historic villages invite guests to get to know the backstory of some of Australia’s most iconic brands.
Sequoia, Australia’s newest luxury lodge, has not only harnessed said magic, it’s offering guests an unparalleled journey of discovery rooted in the region’s spectacular produce, natural environment, history and wellness.
Named after the three giant Californian redwood trees which rise proudly above the David Tonkin-designed native garden, Sequoia is located on the grounds of Mount Lofty Estate, high above the Piccadilly Valley.
A scenic 15-minute drive from Adelaide’s CBD (yet somehow, worlds away), this makes the $18 million dollar property the first in Australia within an hour of an international airport.
The location is important, of course, but so too are the luxury amenities, which Sequoia delivers in spades.
Comprising 14 luxury suites designed with a focus on sustainability, and boasting panoramic views over the valley, as well as an intimate lounge area, guests can expect a trio of natural artesian spring-fed stone hot pools, an infinity pool, day spa and valley rim campfire amphitheatre.
It’s Sequoia’s exquisite collection of artisanal pieces and amenities, including Nick Mount glass, JamFactory ceramics, Jurlique products, Hahndorf soap and Organiq bath salts, however, that highlight the unique stories of the region that estate general manager Jesse Kornoff is keen to tell.
“Now, more than ever, people are keen to connect with their environment, and we facilitate this by also allowing them to take a little piece of our region home,” he says.
A story of place, starting with the original custodians of the land – the Kaurna people, who shared the land with the neighbouring Peramangk people – will introduce guests to the region’s food, wine, wellness and nature offerings.
What really sets Sequoia apart from other lodges, however, is its range of carefully curated, bespoke experiences themed around the property’s pillars of food and wine, wellness and nature. Led by a team of experience hosts, they lean heavily on the concept of neighbourly love (within 20 minutes of Sequoia are the homes of many South Australian icons, including Penfolds Magill, Jurlique and R.M. Williams).
“When we first started developing Sequoia and its experiences, we thought ‘why would anyone want to fly across the world for a bunch of beautiful rooms and restaurants? We knew we had to create something unique to not only the world but to Australia, a lodge that’s rooted in a sense of place, paired with local experiences inaccessible to others,” explains Kornoff.
Six to eight experiences are included with Sequoia’s all-inclusive package, including star gazing tours, guided walks through the bush home of the world’s largest koala population, and tastings such as the Maker & Somm experience, where a South Australian winemaker will join a Sequoia sommelier to pour, taste and discuss their wines in an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience.
A selection of external activities are available at additional cost.
Fancy bookending a scenic drive around the Adelaide Hills in the latest collection of model supercars (Ferrari F8 Tributo, Lamborghini Huracán, McLaren 5705 and Aston Martin Vantage) with a long table lunch and private sunset dinner? A Prancing Horse experience has got you covered.
Or perhaps you’d prefer a half-day truffle hunting tour, where the truffle you unearth 500 metres from the restaurant will be used in your next meal, or to become a winemaker for a day at Shottesbrooke winery in McLaren Vale? Those who book the Winemaker for a Day experience will learn the secrets of winemaking before enjoying a regionally inspired six-course degustation lunch. Regardless of the activity you choose, the idea is to connect with the region, says Kornoff. “This is all about showing guests the South Australia they never knew existed.”
Of course, retiring to your room at the end of the day is an experience within itself.
The open-plan suites (75sqm) are designed to take advantage of the sweeping valley views from every corner, whether you’re enjoying the sunken lounges (complete with stone fireplace), the elevated freestanding tub, opulent king-size bed or the expansive balcony with outdoor day beds.
Decorated in a soothing colour palette accented with warm wood and stone, each suite features heated floors, switch-glass privacy windows, a hidden television, an original oil painting by resident artist Stephen Trebilcock, and the most technologically advanced automation in any hotel room in Australia.
Food and wine
Located within a 50-kilometre radius of not one, but four world-class wine regions – the Barossa, McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills and Eden Valley (the only place in the world where this occurs) – Sequoia guests have the option of visiting more than 200 wineries in the area.
Of course, guests can enjoy over 1,000 different wines on the property itself, with Sequoia stocking more than 5,000 bottles at any one time. Arthur Waterhouse Lounge showcases South Australia’s finest wines, spirits and craft beers, and some non-SA Champagne, of course.
At Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant, a three-hatted fine dining establishment also located on the estate, the wine selection is more extensive, featuring bold reds and crisp whites from all corners of the globe, as well as an a la carte and degustation menu.
Other options for guests also include private dining on balconies, elevated regional dining in the lounge, and private events such as the lodge’s seven-course Taittinger Champagne dinner.
Deep beneath the grounds of Sequoia, ancient spring waters carve their way through the layers of sandstone, the liquid breaking free at the earth’s surface to feed every tap on the estate. Bottling the water is one thing (and they do), but guests also have the option to soak up the healing minerals of these natural springs through the property’s stone hot pools. Book one of two private pools where the temperature ranges between 38 and 40 degrees, or enjoy the third at your own leisure, shared among other guests.
Sunrise yoga sessions are included, but why not lock in some downtime at the beautifully appointed Gatekeeper’s Spa, a destination spa escape within the iconic Mount Lofty Estate. Three treatment rooms play host to a range of rejuvenating experiences, relaxing rituals and beauty treatments.
In a region dotted with wildflowers, South Australian blue gums, and some of your favourite native animals, endless opportunities await to reconnect with nature and connect with stories about the traditional custodians of the land.
Take a guided walk and discover the hidden secrets of South Australia’s spectacular, 1200 kilometre Heysen Trail, or take a picturesque stroll through the neighbouring botanic gardens. Prefer your hikes to be punctuated with koala cuddles? Lock in the Cleland Koala Experience, where you can enjoy a one-on-one session with a koala keeper.
Just don’t miss an evening of gazing up at the stars that light up the Adelaide Hills.
Sequoia has two packages two choose from: a B&B starting from $1,500 per room per night, or all-inclusive from $2,700 per room per night.
For further information, visit sequoialodge.com.au.