From secluded hilltop retreats to off-grid cabins and a beautifully restored mill, these are the most luxurious places to stay in McLaren Vale.
Wedged between lush rolling hills and the sparkling blue sea, McLaren Vale is Australia’s most naturally beautiful wine region. It’s the kind of place that begs you to toast the sunset after a day spent touring the local wineries and restaurants, and the best spot to do that is at one of the opulent retreats dotted around the idyllic valley.
Whether you’re dreaming of sinking into an outdoor bath while enjoying expansive hilltop views or going off-grid and immersing yourself in the bush, these McLaren Vale luxury accommodation options will make you wish you could stay just a few more days.
1. Weemilah Luxury Retreat
Perched 200 metres above the valley floor at the southern end of the Vale, this off-grid sanctuary looks out over the entire region. The large open plan living area has slate floors, a wood-burning stove and floor-to-ceiling windows to maximise the views, while the two king bedrooms each have an en suite and private deck so you can enjoy the surrounds in solitude.
There’s plenty of wildlife on the 52-acre property thanks to 15000 native trees and shrubs, and the epic views get even better when seen through a curtain of mist rising from the deep outdoor soaking tub or on a helicopter tour led by one of the property’s owners, who can drop you off for lunch at one of McLaren Vale’s best restaurants.
2. Hotel California Road
From the outside, this luxurious micro-hotel looks like a chaotic Jenga tower made from shipping containers stacked on top of one another, but inside it’s a different story.
This luxurious micro-hotel looks like a chaotic Jenga tower from the outside. (Image: HEY GENTS)
Each of the three 50 square metre king suites is immaculately appointed with a futuristic floating king bed, a soaking tub (with a wine glass holder) flanked by floor-to-ceiling windows and a large deck just metres from the vines.
The adults-only policy makes it the perfect spot for a relaxing escape and if you don’t feel like driving to the local wineries, the Inkwell cellar door is directly above the suites so it’s easy to wander back after a leisurely tasting and raid the well-stocked minibar.
Not a bad spot for a bath and a cheeky vino. (Image: South Australian Tourism Commission/Josie Withers)
3. Ukiyo House
With a semicircle of limestone cliffs ringing a perfect aquamarine bay and one of McLaren Vale’s best restaurants, Port Willunga is understandably busy in summer. Not that you’d know it if you’re staying at this blissful hideaway just 300 metres away.
Ukiyo House makes it just as tempting to stay in and relax and enjoy the serenity. (Image: Jenah Piwanski)
The immaculately appointed single-bedroom house is an oasis of tranquillity that makes liberal use of natural materials including charred shou sugi ban timber, rammed earth walls and Venetian plastering.
Kayaks and beach equipment make it easy to explore the beach, but the modern kitchen is equipped with everything down to scales and measuring cups and a welcome pack of local gin, wine, granola and almonds alongside a candle with the retreat’s signature scent (bergamot and pine) mean it’s just as tempting to stay in and relax and enjoy the serenity.
Ukiyo House makes liberal use of natural materials including charred shou sugi ban timber. (Image: Jenah Piwanski)
4. CABN X
Down a dirt road from the Gemtree cellar door on McLaren Vale’s quieter western side, these two cabins are a serious step up from most of the off-grid offerings popping up around the country.
CABN X is a step up from most of the off-grid offerings around Australia.
While one is clad in blond timber and the other opts for a darker palette, each has a spacious bedroom, kitchen and bathroom with mirrors that unfrost at the touch of a button, as well as a sauna looking out over the surrounding vineyards.
Even better is the giant outdoor bath that’s roomy enough for two people to sit comfortably while being serenaded by native birds, while the moon window above the bed means you can fall asleep looking up at the stars.
The bathroom mirrors unfrost at the touch of a button.
5. The Old Chaff Mill Retreat
Old and new meet at this lovingly restored 1872 granary on an organic, biodynamic property set amid lush vineyards, olive and almond groves.
The Old Chaff Mill Retreat is well and truly a place of rest and relaxation.
Thick stone walls and soundproof doors that can open up for group bookings separate two palatial suites (one is 90 square metres, the other 120) packed with antique fittings like a chandelier made from a two-metre long pine winnower that harks back to the venue’s original use.
Nowadays, it’s well and truly a place of rest and relaxation thanks to features like loft bedrooms, an outdoor bath and record players in the living room, as well as an onsite day spa offering a range of treatments.
Old and new meet at this lovingly restored 1872 granary.
6. The Jetty
When it comes to beach views, you can’t beat these four waterfront apartments in Port Willunga. Fortunately, it’s easy to share them, thanks to large open-plan dining areas designed for entertaining and downstairs apartments that have two bedrooms each.
These waterfront views are to-die-for. (Image: The Jetty Port Willunga)
The balconies and modern interiors are bathed in light and the beach is so close that it beckons all day long, but if you’re struggling to figure out how to spend the rest of your time, an optional concierge service takes all the hassle of out of making bookings and deciding what to do while you’re in the Vale.
The apartments are bathed in light. (Image: The Jetty Port Willunga)
Surrounded by grapes and gums in the rolling hills near McLaren Vale’s northern border, this spacious property is perfect for larger groups.
Altamira is surrounded by grapes and gums.
Three bedrooms with en suites and a studio apartment with its own kitchen and living area are connected by a spacious shared entertaining area decorated in a sophisticated mid-century style.
Floor-to-ceiling windows maximise views out over the surrounding shiraz vines, but no matter your tipple, the wraparound verandah is the go-to spot for sundowners before heading back inside to tackle one of the many board games supplied by the owners.
Altamira is perfect for big groups.