“Where’s the best place to stay in the Hunter?”
It does seem like a fairly reasonable question to ask me given that I have pretty much spent my whole life either living or working in the Hunter. But, if you think about it, that actually doesn’t mean I am qualified to make accommodation recommendations, because I have actually never stayed the night anywhere other than Hotel Julie Tulloch (my Mum & Dad’s place).
However, I do talk to the locals and customers at cellar door and am lucky enough to call some of the owners and operators of these accommodation houses friends, so I can give the following wonderful establishments my endorsement without any hesitation.
The beauty of the Hunter Valley is the diversity of experiences, so this list is by no means exhaustive, but certainly some of the places I would like to stay and enjoy some true warm wine country hospitality if I was ever to be a visitor to the Hunter. Of course, the BEST place to stay is Hotel Julie Tulloch, but this special place is booked up year round with loving children and adoring grandchildren.
In no particular order:
The Carriages Boutique Hotel and Vineyard at Diamond Estate
This is everything boutique country accommodation should be. Warm, friendly, rustic and service driven with all the mod cons and features to make you want to hide away from the world and while away a lazy weekend. They even have their own Concierge Service and although hidden down a quiet country lane, conveniently located in the heart of Pokolbin and within walking distance to renowned restaurant Roberts Circa 1876. Full room rates from $325-$365 / night.
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley
One of the bigger (if not the biggest) in terms of number of rooms in the Hunter. But, big does not mean bad and if you have a group or kids this sort of resort offering is perfect. The villas are great and the on site facilities, pool, sauna, golf, kids club etc. mean everyone gets a holiday, including Mum and Dad! Also their onsite spa Tea Tree Spa is hands down my favourite in the Hunter. A good options for families and groups and a range of well priced options from $230/night. I also hear that the Hunter Valley Crowne Plaza is the busiest in terms of occupancy of any of this mega hotel groups offerings in Australia, so they must be doing something right.
Little Orchard B&B
Don’t worry if you have forgotten your toothbrush – Sally (the gifted hostess with the mostest and the best rustic stylist this side of Provence) has thought of everything! This gorgeous little homestead on site at Tallavera Grove is the perfect country style residence just moments away from Bistro Molines, a hatted hunter institution brimming with joi de vivre . Overlooking the Mount View Valley and Vineyards, Little Orchard creates it’s own enchanting atmosphere of serenity and escape that no-one can resist. Views and a sense of hospitality that comes close to unmatched, hidden away at the top of scenic mount view. Rates start from about $280 up to $500 / night.
Spicers Vineyards Estate
A little on the pricey side, but anything that Hunter Valley Rising Star of The Year, Belinda Stapleton is involved in is sure to be both exceptional and indulgent. A luxuriously appointed five star guest house set amongst rolling vines and the stunning back drop of wine country. Mark and Belinda Stapleton know how to do hospitality, a warm but relaxing atmosphere with an amazing on site restaurant, Botanica, this is one of those places that makes you feel like you’ve arrived ….. home! Rates start at around $295/night.
Casa La Vina
One of the newest boutique offerings, with three unique and luxurious villas in an intimate setting. Right in the heart of Pokolbin, the villas have loads of charm with big open spaces, warm wooden accents, open fireplaces and plush king size beds and walk in double showers. Walking distance to all three of the big Hunter concert venues, but leave the kids at home for this one and enjoy the serenity … unless there is a concert on! Rates start from $300 / night.
Leaves & Fishes: Retreat in one of four stylish private boathouses and enjoy the convivial atmosphere and tasty food at the onsite restaurant. http://leavesandfishes.com.au/hunter-valley-accommodation/
Cam-Way Estate: Great for groups or families wanting to stay and play together, right in the heart of it all. http://www.camwayestate.com.au/
Cedars Mount Views: Absolute privacy and tranquil surrounds with self-contained convenience. http://cedars.com.au/
The Vintry: Your own superbly appointed private country house hidden at the end of a dirt road, a pillow menu and all! http://www.vintry.com.au/
The Woods at Pokolbin: Two beautiful country accommodation houses perfect for groups of friends and family. http://www.thewoods.com.au/