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Reducing Travel Stress for a “No Worries” Holiday

Posted on in Travel Tips


Anyone who loves to travel will tell you (with much enthusiasm) that seeing the world is good for you. It's a great way to escape the doldrums of everyday life while also immersing yourself in a new landscape, new activities, and possibly even a new culture.

As it turns out, recent studies have shown there's scientific truth behind what we travellers have known all along: travel really is good for your body and mind. Travelling regularly reduces your risk of stroke, heart attack, diabetes, anxiety, and depression.

Best of all, the health benefits of travel are experienced from the time you start planning your trip and may last as long as weeks or months after you return. This is great news for anyone who loves to travel or is just in need of a getaway!

To fully enjoy all the mental benefits of taking some time off, you'll want to do your best to keep holiday stress at a minimum so you can have a worry-free mind. Here are some stress reduction steps to take while you're on holiday:

Protect your property

Before you leave, take some steps to protect your home while you're gone. Trust me, burglaries are the last thing you'll want to worry about while you're away.

Be sure all windows and doors are locked, alarms are set, smoke detectors are in working order, and appliances are unplugged. Ideally, you could also hide the fact that you are away by hiring a trusted pet sitter or house sitter. Knowing your home is properly cared for while you're away will allow you to relax into the holiday mind frame.


Reconnect with nature

Unplug your laptop, turn off your mobile phone, and step outside. Notice the sounds of the birds in the trees. Kick off your shoes and feel the ground beneath your toes. Sometimes, it really is that simple!

If you're travelling in Australia, you'll experience breathtaking natural beauty. The geographic diversity offers something for everyone, whether you prefer to bushwalks in the Blue Mountains, view gorgeous waterfalls, relax by the ocean, or explore a Jurassic rainforest.

Prefer a hands-on experience? Try any of the following:

● Get up close and personal with koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, and other native species at many of the nation's petting zoos and wildlife refuges.
● Thrill seekers on both coasts have the chance to seasonally swim with sharks or whales.
● Snorkel or scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living organism on Earth, which is so big it can be viewed from outer space!

These are just a few of the countless ways to experience nature in Australia.

Find stillness.

We each have different methods for soothing our worries and calming our minds. For some, this could be a mean a cruise through Sydney Harbour or watching the sunset over the Twelve Apostles. For others, it might involve a meditation retreat or beachside yoga along the Gold Coast.


Pamper yourself.

Studies have shown that acts of self compassion actually boost your confidence and mood. To reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, take some time to treat yourself (or a loved one) while you're away.
Plan a romantic weekend getaway at a chic boutique hotel, or book a solo stay at a bed and breakfast just steps from the beach. While you're there, why not splurge on champagne and a massage? Taking time to pamper yourself helps ease your mind, relax your body, and improve your relationships.

Leave it to the professionals.

As rewarding as it can be to plan holiday travel, organizing everything can become overwhelming. You can always work with a professional travel agent, tour group, or cruise line instead. They'll handle the little details for you so you can free up your time (and your mind) and truly go with the flow during your travels.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to nurture yourself through travel. You deserve a stress-free holiday. So, go on. Use these ideas to plan a "no worries" trip that will leave you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and will boost your health long after you return.

Travel contribution by Henry Moore

Henry is the co-creator of FitWellTraveler. The site blends two of his favourite subjects (travel and health) to provide readers with information about how to get the most out of both. Henry enjoys travel, running, cooking, baking and reading. He believes travel can change you, and good health preserves you. He combines both in his work on FitWellTraveler.

Image credit: Gaia Retreat, Lady Enid, Bells at Killcare
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Luxperience 2017

Posted on in Travel Tips


Last week we attended Luxperience; an industry only event for bespoke luxury and high-end experiential travel. If you follow our Instagram feed, you'd think it was all Champagne, Canapés and fun in the harbour city and you'd be partly right, but there was a serious side to the event namely making meaningful connections.

We commenced with a Thought Leaders Forum and welcome function at Hilton Sydney. Tim "Rosso" Ross was back as MC, introducing the fabulous Lauren Bath, Australia's first professional instagramer and online tourism queen to share some important Insta tips.

The next 3 days were a blur of "speed dating" a series of 15 minute appointments with sellers from around the world. Here are our highlights, tips and news in luxury travel and what's hot in Australia right now!


Mayfair Hotel
The stunning Mayfair Hotel Adelaide has revealed a brand new look for their Hennessy rooft-top bar. The popular Adelaide hot spot has opened a new glass-topped alfresco terrace complete with vertical garden and decadent underfloor heating. It's our pick for admiring the city skyline while sipping superior cocktails in style.
Book a stay at Mayfair Hotel here.


The Anchorage
Our favourite Port Stephens retreat The Anchorage has undergone a $15m refurbishment including a major overhaul of their food & beverage offering. Check out the Hemingway's Bar with its sumptuous leather armchairs and elegant fireplace while you enjoy a premium whisky tasting. The Wild Herring Restaurant specialises in seafood and there are plenty of private dining options too. Accommodation rooms have been refreshed and there is an adults only pool coming soon...
Book a stay at The Anchorage here.


Elements of Byron
Elements of Byron just keeps getting better and better with the resort about to double in size next month with the addition of 99 new villas! That's not all, the resort will feature revamped leisure areas including a new adults only 25 metre heated pool with swim-up bar – yes please! We can't wait to check it out! Learn more here.
Book a stay at Elements of Byron here.


No trip to South Australia is complete without a trip to Penfolds cellar door in Adelaide or the Barossa to visit the home of Grange. At their Barossa Cellar Door you can 'Make Your Own Blend' and become a master winemaker for the day. Enter the winemakers' laboratory, don a white coat and get to work blending your own wine from Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro – just like Penfolds own Bin 138. The results are then bottled for you to enjoy! This brilliant Barossa experience is just $65.00 per person and we'll be including it in our upcoming Barossa Weekend Getaway! Register your interest at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Amatara Wellness Retreat
The jaw dropping Amatara Wellness Retreat is located just 45 minutes from Phuket International Airport in a quiet corner of an idyllic island. This flexible wellness retreat lets you choose what level of wellness or indulgence you choose and children are welcome at the retreat too.

Book any wellness package for a minimum 5 nights and your flight to Phuket from Australia is complimentary (conditions apply). Packages start from $3,700 pp twin share for stays between now and 25 December 2017. Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more.

Thanks to the Luxperience team for arranging a spectacular event for us as a hosted buyer. We'd also like to thank our accommodation hosts Swissôtel Sydney and flights by Virgin Australia.

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October Long Weekend 2017

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Labour Day is an annual public holiday that celebrates the eight-hour working day, so how should we celebrate this victory for not working!! Hoorah!! Labour Day is just around the corner for most states and here are our picks for the best way to reward your hard work with a long weekend in paradise:

City Breaks
Melbourne – The Blackman
Canberra – Hotel Realm
Sydney – Ovolo 1888
Perth – Alex Hotel
Brisbane – The New Inchcolm Hotel
Adelaide – Mayfair Hotel


Romantic Getaways
Hunter Valley – H Boutique Hotel
Gold Coast – QT Gold Coast
Southern Queensland Country – Potters Boutique Hotel
Port Douglas – Thala Beach
Fleurieu Peninsula – Birks River Retreats
Launceston – Highfield House
Mornington Peninsula – Aquabelle Apartments
Melbourne & surrounds – Mansion Hotel & Spa at Werribee Park


Family Fun
Margaret River – Smiths Beach Resort
Broome – Mangrove Hotel

Browse by destination or by getaway inspiration with alluxia and book online with no booking or credit card fees. The Labour Day Public Holiday is on Monday 2 October for NSW, ACT, SA and in QLD it's the Queen's Birthday Public Holiday.

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Alluxia 5th Birthday Prize Winner

Posted on in Travel Tips


Thanks to everyone who entered our Sunshine Coast Beach Escape, we were overwhelmed with the number of entries and we're pleased to reveal our lucky winner is...

Jan Aalto from New South Wales

Jan has won The Major Prize includes Two (2) nights' accommodation in a two-bedroom apartment at Breeze Mooloolaba, a Henschke Heaven welcome hamper from Love Noosa and a Wanderers' Travel Co Venetian Passport Travel Clutch. Voucher is not transferable or redeemable for cash. Booking subject to availability. Voucher must be presented on arrival.Valued at $1,199.

Congratulations to our winner and thank you for our generous partners Breeze Mooloolaba, Love Noosa and Wanderers Travel Co.

Missed out, but would love a relaxing break at Breeze Mooloolaba? Book Breeze Mooloolaba on 

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5 Reasons to Visit Mooloolaba This Weekend

Posted on in Travel Tips


Mooloolaba is often overlooked for it's glitzy cousin Noosa or earth mother Maleny, but this Sunshine Coast gem offers fun in the sun all year round! Here are 5 reasons to mooch around Mooloolaba this weekend.

1. The beach beckons
Top up on a dose of 'vitamin sea' and step out onto the pure white sand of Mooloolaba Beach! The sun and sea are wonderfully restorative, leave the city behind and breathe in the salty sea air, soak up the ocean views and warm weather and clear your mind. Mooloolaba Beach is considered the safest beach on the Sunshine Coast, patrolled daily and safe for swimming.


2. Graze along Mooloolaba Esplanade
When it comes to eating out, you're spoilt for choice in Mooloolaba. Start your day with brunch at local favourite The Velo Project. With a focus on supporting local farmers and local suppliers you'll find simple fresh food and artisan espresso to keep you caffeinated for a day of adventure. Graze at Gainsbourg, open breakfast, lunch and dinner for casual seaside eats. Plus don't miss Spice Bar for spicy Asian share plates, cool cocktails and sea views.

3. Resort life
Organise a hamper and have indulgence delivered to your door by Love Noosa! Arrive in style with a chilled bottle of Champagne, gourmet platter or BBQ pack for your arrival so you can kick back, relax and enjoy the luxe life from your resort balcony. Bliss!


4. Cruising the coast
Take a tour with Whale One, with spectacular whale watching cruises available during whale migration season. Half day tours available including door to door transfers. Otherwise, all year round enjoy a sunset cruise taking in the majestic Mooloolaba canals as the sun sets over the Glasshouse Mountains.

5. Be pampered
When you've had enough sand, sea and sunshine, head to the Salt Caves and experience a deeply relaxing massage using organic warm oil, combined with salt therapy, in a unique and tranquil setting. Himalayan salt has long been known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, so it's pampering with purpose!


More information: Looking for where to stay in Mooloolaba? Check out Breeze Mooloolaba.

For your chance to win a two night escape at Breeze Mooloolaba, hamper from Love Noosa and leather goods from Wanderers Travel Co enter here.

Image credit: Breeze, Velo Project, Love Noosa
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New Veriu Central Sydney opening in November

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Hot on the heels of the opening of Veriu Broadway, the Veriu crew announce a new 110-room hotel located at the gateway to Surry Hills, scheduled to open in November!

Veriu Central will be a $15 million conversion of the heritage listed 'Wentworth House' and will remain true to the character of the building combining old world elegance with contemporary style. Just as Veriu Broadway captured an industrial warehouse feel, Veriu Central will embrace characteristics of its turn of the century architecture.

"One of the foundations of the Veriu brand is to incorporate the unique elements of each building and provide guests with a different experience each time they stay in one of our hotels," said Rhys Williams, Director of Veriu Hotels & Suites.

The new hotel will add to the thriving inner city dining scene offering five quality restaurant and bar venues onsite. It's city chic location will also make it a popular choice with the Surry Hills fashionistas.


Guests will be invited to check in at The Drawing Room, an eclectic and modern interpretation of a classic 1920s design, that combines the traditional hotel lobby space with a vibrant bar and eatery. The original heritage building boasted an opulent drawing room in the roaring 20's, created for entertaining guests with music, intellectual debate, drinking and laughter. Veriu's, The Drawing Room, is designed to evoke the same feeling of conversation, frivolity and recreation all with a generous dose of style and decadence. An all-day grazing menu will be available through to late night drinks at the art deco style bar.

Celebrated Sydney hospitality experts, Applejack Hospitality – famous for outlets such as The Butler Potts Point and Bondi Hardware – have provided the creative framework for The Drawing Room and two other venues: Harry's Dumpling House and Harry's Singapore Chilli Crab, which will offer Asian street hawker style food and craft beers, both accessible from the hotel lobby.

Established modern Australian restaurant, Nel, will also become part of the Veriu Central dining precinct. The unique bunker-esque style venue has become a popular favourite for locals since opening in 2015 and offers a degustation menu that changes every six weeks to enable Australia's best seasonal produce to be showcased.

Basket Brothers café will be your go-to breakfast, brunch or lunch venue for guests offering all the staples – great coffee, and a menu described as 'next level comfort food'. We can hardly wait!


Veriu Central's 110 rooms and suites will all offer luxury bedding, LED TV's, minibar and in room safe. The spacious Wentworth Suites will boast kitchenette facilities including microwave and coffee pod machine.

The signature Veriu complimentary 'explorer bikes' will also be on offer, encouraging guests to discover the surrounding Sydney villages of Surry Hills and beyond. Other standard complimentary offerings common to all Veriu properties, include a welcome drink, WiFi and in-room tunes via Smart TV technology.

Veriu Central, 75 Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills – due to open November 2017.
Veriu Broadway, 35 Mountain St, Ultimo – is open now and available to book on alluxia here.

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Ridgemill Estate Open Day

Posted on in Travel Tips


Keen to explore the Granite Belt and learn more about Queensland wine? This weekend, Ridgemill Estate is opening the doors to the winery for their first ever open day! So grab your wine loving friends and head to the country!

We had a sneak peek earlier this week to see and experience all the exciting changes happening at the winery. Our hosts, Michelle and Martin took us on a tour of their winery estate including the vineyards, future conference centre and additional new luxe cabins.

I mean who doesn't want to escape to the country and wake up overlooking the vines? Ridgemill Estate have made it even easier to enjoy winery life by adding an additional four new cabins, bringing their stable of cute cabins to eight.


Each self-contained cabin features a real wood burning fireplace and complimentary bottle of Ridgemill Estate wine to enjoy fireside. Plus, you'll receive continental breakfast provisions and coffee machine/pods to prepare breakfast in your sunny kitchenette to get you started for a day of wine tasting or exploring the great outdoors.

The open day on Sunday 10 September will allow visitors to enjoy good food, fine wine and live music on the cellar door deck or perhaps explore the winery estate.


Meet Peter McGlashan, Ridgemill Estate's entertaining and talented winemaker and taste their extraordinary selection of wine. Our favourite from tasting was the "Joshua's Pup" Shiraz Grenache and the 2017 Rosé, both cellar door releases. Better still, with any purchase of a six bottle wine pack purchased on the day, receive a complimentary Ridgemill Estate wine decanter.

Also, for every bottle of wine purchased on the day, punters will receive an entry in an exclusive draw to win a two-night stay at Ridgemill Escape Luxury Cabins!


So book your weekend getaway at Ridgemill Escape with alluxia, pack a picnic blanket and soak up the sunshine and cool country air in the gorgeous Granite Belt this weekend!

Ridgemill Estate Open Day – Sunday 10 September 10am-3pm
218 Donges Road, Severnlea QLD

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Father's Day Gift Vouchers

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Looking for a great Father's Day gift? Celebrate Father's Day with a gift voucher from alluxia to allow your Dad to enjoy a midweek getaway in style or luxury weekend away at his leisure. Alluxia travel gift vouchers are the ideal gift for that special person in your life and a great way to show your appreciation. Let the recipient choose the getaway that suits them best from over 400 luxury accommodation providers in your favourite destinations.

Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. anytime up to and including Sunday 3 September 2017 and we'll process payment and issue an email voucher for you to send or print out. You simply nominate the value for the gift voucher and vouchers are valid for 12 months, subject to availability at time of booking. Perfect for last minute gift giving.

Give the gift of travel this Father's Day!

Image credit: Pinterest
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Mantra Acquires Art Series Hotel Group

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In a move that has shocked the tourism industry, Mantra Hotel Group has announced their acquisition of the Australian-owned Art Series Hotel Group for approximately $52.5 million from current owners Deague Group.

The acquisition will see seven luxury hotels added to Mantra Group's portfolio. The seven hotels are:

· The Cullen, Prahran, Melbourne VIC
· The Larwill Studio, North Melbourne VIC
· The Olsen, South Yarra, Melbourne VIC
· The Blackman, St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC
· The Johnson, Spring Hill, Brisbane QLD
· The Watson, Walkerville, Adelaide SA
· The Chen, Box Hill, Melbourne VIC (which is currently in the final stages of construction and is set to open in November 2017)


Arts Series Hotel Group transformed the Australian hotel market when it launched in 2009. Each hotel is inspired and dedicated to Australian contemporary artists, infusing the namesake artist's works and personality throughout the hotel to create unique art-inspired experiences.

With original artworks and prints adorning the walls and halls, the multifaceted art inspired experience is complete with dedicated art channels, art libraries, art tours and art utensils on supply. Glass bottomed pools, private outdoor decking areas, state of the art gymnasiums, massive communal spaces and boutique conference and events spaces complete the picture.

Will Deague, CEO, Deague Group said;

"Over the past decade we have been deeply passionate about growing the Art Series Hotel Group around Australia and hosting millions of art inspired experiences for guests. We are very proud of what our team has achieved and are excited to hand over the brand to Mantra Group who will build the brand to future success."


Mantra Group have confirmed it will be business as usual for Art Series Hotel Group. All agreements with namesake artists remain unchanged and the new owners will focus on fostering new relationships with artists for future hotel properties.

There are currently two new hotels in the pipeline, including The Chen in Box Hill which is in the final stages of construction (by Deague Group) and will be opened by Mantra Group in November 2017, and a luxury six-star property which is set to open at Howard Smith Wharves in Brisbane in late 2018.

All Art Series properties, with the exception of The Schaller Studio Bendigo and Howard Smith Wharves will form part of the proposed transaction with Mantra Group.

Settlement of the 'Art Series Acquisition' is expected to be completed in late 2017, subject to closing conditions customary for an acquisition of this nature.

Do you love Art Series Hotels? What do you think about the news?

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Gourmet Getaway News – Yamagen at QT Gold Coast

Posted on in Travel Tips


Oh what a night! Last week we were treated to delicious morsels and free-flowing Champagne at the launch of Yamagen at one of alluxia's favourite hotels QT Gold Coast.

Yamagen; already a hero of the Gold Coast dining scene for over 30 years, has just re-opened its doors with a sleek new look.

Yamagen has been carefully designed to ensure the overall dining experience is more than just a culinary journey. Designer Nic Graham was tasked with reimagining a traditional Japanese izakaya – or casual eating house – with the added objective of 'upping the ante' on an expanded bar component in keeping with the hotel's upbeat holiday vibe.

Naturally, QT's design DNA of quirky contemporary fusion became the defining road map, and the result is an invigorating blend of "east meets west" urban street style, pop-culture kitsch, and Japanese fishing village charm.

"What is great about QT is that it allows us to play within the boundaries of what is a strong cultural eating style and aesthetic deeply rooted in tradition to a dramatic and somewhat irreverent effect while still honouring its history," said Graham.


The new look was unveiled last week with more than 400 invited guests sampling the new menu. VIP guests included Amber Heard, Kris Smith and Tim Robards who were only too happy to snap a few selfies with guests. The fabulous event also featured Japanese dancers, musicians and drummers and the after party kicked on at the Stingray Lounge until the wee hours.

With an all-star culinary team at the helm including Executive Chef Adam Lane, Yamagen blends old school kitchen samurai skills with new school chef innovation. Yamagen reinvents a traditional Japanese izakaya with a stylish and innovative twist. Spanning three unique spaces Yamagen's culinary journey has been carefully crafted with some of the finest Japanese chefs.


"I love the lightness and delicacy of Japanese cuisine, and I really enjoy the
challenge of mixing ingredients that you wouldn't usually think of putting together – finding the perfect balance of flavours is what keeps our work exciting," said Lane. "I am thrilled to be bringing this to Yamagen and we will constantly be innovating to bring new and exciting dishes to the menu – Yamagen will always excite and challenge the palate."

Seating up 76 guests, the innovative menu includes Sashimi Tacos and Ura Maki Rolls. Table-seki is the restaurant's main dining area and the best place to take advantage of the full Yamagen experience. With dishes such as Terryaki Chicken with crispy skin, local warrigal greens, charcoal roasted leeks in a house made teriyaki glaze to Crispy Pork Belly with nashi pear, wasabi, watermelon radish and smoked vinegar. Our favourite was the Sashimi Tacos with salmon and spicy tuna, yuzu avocado, warm sushi rice, sesame, watermelon radish and house spicy mayo. Yum!!


Adding to the experience is Yamagen's exclusive sushi counter, led by Mitsuo Yoshino. Here, guests experience an authentic omakase – a stream of market fresh sashimi and sushi, as well as delicate share plates, like Yellowfin Tuna Tartare – expertly selected by the chef.

The dining experience also extends to the bar, where Yamagen melds classic cocktails with modern Japanese inspiration, using unique Japanese ingredients such as sudachi (Japanese citrus fruit), gyokuro (shaded green tea), yuzu bitters (citrus), shiso leaf (Japanese style mint), matcha (ground green tea) and Sake.


Jordan Melling, QT Gold Coast's Bars Manager, has also curated one of the most extensive range of Japanese Whisky in Queensland (65 - including Yamazaki 25 Y.O., Hibiki 30 Y.O. and Hakushu 25 Y.O.) and adds to the whisky drinkers experience through hand-chiselling ice blocks ensuring premium purity and a slower melt time.

Yamagen is stylish and innovative Izakaya dining that will transport you to the vibrant back alleys of Tokyo, so get ready for the hustle and bustle!

Yamagen is open for dinner six nights a week from 5.00pm Tuesday – Sunday.
Book a stay at QT Gold Coast at alluxia here.

Images: Supplied
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Gourmet Getaway News – Wickens at the Royal Mail

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                                                                                         Robin Wickens, The Royal Mail Hotel new restaurant site. 

Dining destination The Royal Mail Hotel is set to get a makeover this year, adding a new fine dining restaurant to the mix.

The Royal Mail Hotel currently offers guests luxury accommodation, a two-hatted restaurant, wine bar and casual bistro in the tiny town of Dunkeld, a scenic 3-hour drive from Melbourne.

The owners are set to create a bold, new restaurant on the site, opening in October 2017. Fully committed to Dunkeld and the project, Executive Chef Robin Wickens has put his name to the new fine diner – Wickens at the Royal Mail.

The new restaurant will take advantage of the natural surroundings and feature views of Mt Sturgeon. Lead by architect Nicoholas Byrne of Byrne Architects, the Melbourne based design studio has promised to "capture the essence of Dunkeld, the Grampians and the rich history of the Royal Mail Hotel while ensuring the restaurant blends into the property's grounds and the broader Victorian landscape," Byrne said.


The floor to ceiling windows and views to Mt Sturgeon and Mt Abrupt have shaped the overall design concept and create a feeling of dining in nature. By working closely with the restaurant team, Byrne Architects have created a structure that clearly conveys the connection between the restaurant, the natural environment and its local bounty that is featured in Wickens' dishes.

"The garden and the seasons are key elements in determining the dishes we create, and from October the new dining space will add to the overall experience; making an even stronger connection between the land and the dining table." said Wickens.

By incorporating a range of beautiful and locally-sourced materials that speak to the heritage and landscape of the Royal Mail Hotel, the space will deliver a sense of unadorned, simple elegance, letting the awe-inspiring setting of Mt Sturgeon and Mt Abrupt demand attention whilst highlighting the important work of Robin and his team in the kitchen.


Key design elements of Wickens at the Royal Mail include:

• A winding bush trail through the native gardens that connect the hotel and the new restaurant
• A vertical garden lit from behind to create a mysterious and inviting entrance to the arrival lounge, from which the silhouette of the dining room can be seen through a fine, timber screen
• Australian hardwoods, sheepskins and sandstone sourced from Dunkeld's local quarry to create a raw and pared-back sense of luxury that highlight the Royal Mail Hotel's agricultural roots.
• A pre-dinner arrival lounge that is connected to the dining room by a wine corridor where approximately 400 local and international wines from the hotel's award-winning cellar will be on display.


The restaurant will be open as usual in the meantime.

Wickens at the Royal Mail Hotel will open in October 2017; 98 Parker Street, Dunkeld, VIC

Check availability and book Royal Mail Hotel here on alluxia.

Images: supplied
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Best Lamingtons in Australia

Posted on in Roundup: Top 5, Top 10

Celebrate National Lamington Day on 21 July and indulge in a little Aussie tradition.

Folklore has it that these delectable treats were originally created after the Governor of Queensland, Lord Lamington's chef was called upon at short notice to feed unexpected guests. Using only the limited ingredients available, Lord Lamington's chef cut up some left-over French vanilla sponge cake, dipped the slices in chocolate, set them in coconut and the rest is history.

The question is where to find THE best Lamington in Australia and do you prefer retro desiccated coconut or hipster-shredded coconut? Lamingtons come in all shapes and sizes, cream filled, plain, the options seem endless.

Here's where you'll find some of Australia's best Lamingtons:


Jocelyn's Provisions, Brisbane QLD
A Brisbane institution, Jocelyn's Provisions Lamington's are made with their famously moist butter cake with a hint of orange zest. These beauties are then dipped in chocolate and a smidge of raspberry and rolled in coconut! Yuuum
Jocelyn's Provisions – Shop 11, Centro on James, 46 James St, Fortitude Valley QLD


Bourke St Bakery, Sydney NSW
This neighbourhood bakery has grown from humble beginnings in Surry Hills to become a much-loved Sydney staple. Their Big Big Lamingtons are something to behold, four layers of génoise sponge, homemade raspberry jam, Callebaut dark chocolate and coconut. These are in high demand on Australia Day!
Bourke St Bakery – various locations including 633 Bourke St, Surry Hills NSW


Candied Bakery, Melbourne VIC
In Victoria, you'll find Candied Bakery an Aussie bakery with an American twist and a dash of European influence. Their lamingtons have a modern twist with oozy jam centre and a dusting of toasted coconut.
Candied Bakery – 81a Hudsons Rd, Spotswood VIC


LusciousKiki Cakes, Sydney NSW
Famous for Lamingtons, their lamington menu changes with the season and uses fresh, real flavours. Owner Kirin Tipping creates lamingtons in creative variations such as Strawberry Shortcake, Choc-Hazelnut Bliss and Ruby Red Velvet Lamingtons!
LusciousKiki – 16 Sydneyham Rd, Brookvale NSW


Wild Baker, Perth WA
Located in South Fremantle, visit this bakery and experience something a little bit wild, like their pimped up Lamingtons with Armagnac poached cherries and mascarpone cream.
2/390 South Terrace, South Fremantle WA

If you're inspired to try your hand at making Lamingtons, here's Donna Hay's recipe for simple, delicious Lamingtons.

These treats are brilliant for Australia Day too. Did your favourite Lamington bakery make the list? Share your favourite bakery, we'd love visit them all!

Book your foodie city escape with alluxia by browsing our handpicked collection of city breaks

Images: Bakeries own.

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Dior exhibition in Melbourne

Posted on in Travel Tips


Looking for an excuse for a Melbourne getaway?

The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture is the next blockbuster exhibition to showcase in Australia's fashion capital from 27 August – 7 November 2017 at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Featuring more than 140 garments designed by Christian Dior between 1947 and 2017, the never-before-seen exhibition is not to be missed. Exclusive to Melbourne, the exhibition narrates the rich history of the fashion house, including Christian Dior's early influences, insights into the Dior atelier workrooms, the role that accessories have played in expressing the complete Dior look and the milestones of its six successive designers following Christian Dior's sudden death in 1957.


The House of Dior explores the story of the fashion house through a series of themes, featuring works by the seven designers who have played key roles in shaping Dior's renowned fashionable silhouette: Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri.

Highlights include examples from Christian Dior's iconic spring 1947 New Look collection, magnificent displays of Dior's signature ball gowns and evening dresses, as well as designs from the inaugural couture collection of the House's first female head designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri.

Dior's unique and longstanding affinity with Australia is also examined, including the historic Spring 1948 fashion parade at David Jones, Sydney, where models wore fifty original creations by Christian Dior. This was the first complete Dior collection to be shown outside of Paris.


"The exhibition will invite Australian and international audiences to discover some of the most significant couture designs of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The exhibition will be a celebration of Dior's most landmark moments and designs, including their iconic 'New Look' silhouette, which revolutionised women's fashion in the 1950s, through to the present-day contemporary aesthetic. We are also delighted that 68 years after the historic Dior fashion parade at its Sydney store, David Jones is once again helping Australia celebrate the House of Dior, as the exhibition's Principal Partner," said Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV.

The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture is the biggest Dior retrospective ever held in Australia and is accompanied by a dynamic program of talks, tours and events. Our favourite way to enjoy exhibitions at NGV is by heading to the curated NGV Friday Nights program, featuring live music, food and performances.


The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture is on display at the National Gallery of Victoria from 27 August – 7 November 2017.
Open daily from 10am-5pm. Admission fees apply.

Don't miss the opportunity to see this incredible exhibition and stay at one of Melbourne's best boutique or art inspired hotels, browse our Melbourne accommodation here.

Images: Supplied by NGV
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Your first look at Spicers Potts Point!

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The eagerly awaited opening of Spicers Potts Point has finally arrived as the luxury boutique hotel opened its doors in inner-city Sydney with style and panache, bravely launching with an industry party on its opening day – who does that?

If you've been following our Instagram account, you'll see we took a pre-opening sneak peek while the final touches were being made. We can confirm the impeccable styling, quality and personalised service you have come to expect from Spicers Retreats has been infused into this new city hotel.

Set in a trio of terrace houses dating back to 1873, the multi-million dollar development boasts 20 luxury hotel rooms that provide relaxed inner-city accommodation for travellers, whilst offering access to some of Sydney's best cafes, bars and restaurants just moments from your door.


Owner of Spicers Retreats, Jude Turner, said she was thrilled to launch the property saying, "Spicers Potts Point has been a delicate restoration-project for my team and I."

"Marrying the preservation of historical features of the property, with modern finishes and amenities throughout has been of utmost importance for this project and I believe the execution of this speaks for itself."

Guests at the retreat can expect to be taken on a journey by the history of the building and surrounding Potts Point area, while taking comfort in the three-storey extension that allows for expansive rooms, a new reception bar and a garden courtyard for enjoying breakfast.


Our favourite element of Spicers Potts Point is the evocative artwork adorning the walls of the boutique hotel. Sydney artist Martine Emdur's underwater art graces the rooms and a large-scale painting in the garden courtyard is simply breathtaking. Emdur's work features submerged models plunged in the water creating a subterranean theatre. The prints are a bold choice in the boutique hotel's room and it works. We believe the inspiration came from Jude Turner herself who admired Emdur's work in one of the Terrace houses prior to purchasing and then commissioned more for the transformed hotel!

The other significant artwork spotted at Spicers Potts Point is the commissioned works by Brisbane's Jan Manton Art Gallery artist Keith Burt. Burt's art is moody and captivating against the white washed walls and contrasts with the light, modern interior design by Rowena Cornwell who has worked on other Spicers properties.


The launch of Spicers Potts Point Retreat adds to the group's existing New South Wales portfolio of properties, including Spicers Sangoma Retreat, located in the foothills of the Blue Mountains and Spicers Vineyards Estate, located in the Hunter Valley.

"We have long-dreamed of having an urban offering in Sydney to round-out our existing New South Wales retreats, and I'm pleased to officially open this to the public," Mrs Turner said.

A Queen Room at Spicers Potts Point from $359.00 per night, inclusive of breakfast.  For more information or to book a stay, visit Spicers Potts Point on alluxia.

Images above supplied by Spicers Retreats. Here's some snaps from our sneak peek pre-opening tour!


Spicers Potts Point guest lounge with artwork by Keith Burt. 


Spicers Potts Point sunny breakfast terrace...I could sit here all day! IG @alluxia


Deep soaking bath in the Victoria Terrace Suite and Martine Emdur artwork. IG @alluxia

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Alluxia Winter Getaway Prize Winner

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Thanks to everyone who entered our Weekend Winter Getaway, we were overwhelmed with the number of entries and we're pleased to reveal our lucky winner is...

Simon Joyce, Sydney

Simon has won two nights' accommodation at Hotel Realm staying in a Realm Suite, Buvette Bliss package including mini Moët & Chandon on arrival, two-course meal at Buvette Bistro, undercover parking, WiFi, in-room movies, access to pool & gym and late checkout of midday. Plus a weekend Truffle Hunt at Turalla Truffles as part of The Truffle Festival - Canberra Region. Valued at $700.

Congratulations to our winner and thank you for our generous partners Hotel Realm and The Truffle Festival - Canberra Region.

Missed out, but would love a relaxing break at Hotel Realm? Book Hotel Realm on before 31 July 2017 and mention "Winter Getaway" in the comments and receive a complimentary bottle of wine on arrival. Read more about the Canberra Truffle Festival experience here.


You Might Also Like: The Truffle Festival - Canberra Region



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Qantas Business Travel Awards

Posted on in Roundup: Top 5, Top 10

Oh what a night! Last night we were privileged to attend the inaugural Qantas Business Travel Awards with some of our favourite Australian boutique hotels and tourism operators.

The event kicked off at Olio Kensington Street, a stunning venue within the Kensington Street precinct in Chippendale. The Mumm Champagne was flowing as Qantas Travel Insider Editor-in-Chief Kirsten Galliott announced the winner, as voted by a panel of judges including Neil Perry.

Congratulations to the following #alluxiaapproved winners:

Best Hotel Winner: COMO The Treasury


Best Boutique Corporate Retreat: Spicers Peak Lodge


Best Meeting Room: Foxtrot Room, The New Inchcolm Hotel & Suites


Best Large-scale Corporate Retreat: Elements of Byron



We couldn't agree more with these standout Australian boutique hotels. See all the winners of the 2017 Qantas Business Travel Awards here.

Thanks to Medium Rare and Qantas The Australian Way for a spectacular evening! Pictured below are David Jones from Elements of Byron and Sally Scott with the award for The New Inchcolm Hotel.


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The Truffle Festival – Canberra Region

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This coveted fungi certainly has an air of mystery about it and if you're a foodie then the Canberra Truffle Festival just might be for you.

Now in its ninth year, The Truffle Festival – Canberra Region is the first and largest festival of its kind in Australia. Each year from June to August more than 250 events are held across the Canberra region, highlighting the French Black Winter Truffle. Events range from truffle hunts, degustation dinners, cooking classes and more.

Explore the Canberra region's foodie trail and discover the capital's epicurean secrets.


Start your truffle adventure with a Truffle Hunt & Cook Adventure at Turalla Truffles. A little over 30 minutes from the city, join Damian Robinson, his family and adorable Jack Russell dogs for a Truffle hunt followed by cooking the spoils and enjoying a long lunch.

It's a fun and fascinating experience; leisurely learning about the Truffle process from the humble beginnings of inoculated trees, to training the pups to forage for truffles to tasting the delicious delicacy in a variety of ways.

Rug up against the winter chill and follow Turalla's trio of truffle dogs Eight Gecko and Frisbee through the truffière as they sniff out whether the truffle is ready to harvest. On our visit, we joined 3-month-old Gecko on his first Truffle hunt and witnessed the cute pup find his first truffle. Cuteness overload!

Returning to the warmth of the farmhouse for the most incredible Truffle Brie and some of Damian's fiery Truffle infused vodka! My favourite of the courses was the Truffle mushroom dumplings with Truffle cream and shaved Truffle.


Now that you're educated about all things Truffle, enjoy a winter wine tasting experience at Mount Majura Vineyard. Taste a flight of three wines matched with Truffled Brie. The Flinders Estate Brie is decadently creamy and layered with fresh truffles accompanied by apple and thyme paste, organic honey and walnuts. Our flight included the 2015 The Silurian Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay, followed by the 2016 Chardonnay and finishing with the incredible museum release of the 1999 Pinot Noir.


Continue your wine journey with wine tasting at Collector Wines. This cellar door experience can be found in the cute town of Collector, where winemaker Alex McKay presents wine of style and distinction. Don't miss Some Café next door for a coffee pit stop, with the best brew by a country mile serving perfect Allpress Espresso and a tempting counter of delectable bites. Better still; book in to Some Truffle Dinner a festival highlight with a 6-course degustation featuring Turalla Truffles and Collector Wines.


When wine is not enough, try Truffle infused beer! Bentspoke Brewing Co.'s master brewer Richard Watkins has created a specialty truffled beer called Silverback created by packing the onsite "Hopinator" infuser with truffles and botanticals including cumquats, cinnamon, juniper berries, cloves and vanilla. The result is a delicious dark, malty beer worth a trying and the brewery is a fab spot to visit and conveniently located in Braddon.


Not truffled out yet? Enjoy a pre-dinner drink at QT Canberra's Lucky's Speakeasy Bar and partake in a Truffle Negroni. This unique cocktail is available only during the truffle season and is a perfectly balanced concoction consisting of truffle infused Bulldog gin, Carpano Antico Formula, Campari, Orange Twist, Black Truffle Salt and Campari dust.


Indulge in a Truffle Degustation at Canberra institution Benchmark Wine Bar. The bustling restaurant has a brigade of female chefs led by French head chef Mathilde Pomies serving up generous comfort food perfect for winter in Canberra. The highlight of the four-course menu with matched wines was the 6 hour braised beef cheek with truffle mash potatoes & mixed greens. At $89pp or $119 with matched wines, it's great value and you won't go hungry.


When you've officially eaten and drunk everything truffle, retire in comfort at Hotel Realm. The boutique hotel is the flagship of the Realm precinct, which also includes the Burbury Hotel, Little National, various restaurants including Buvette Bistro and the new and impressive Hale Spa. Our Realm Suite was generously proportioned with cloud-like king bed and luxury ensuite bathroom with deep soaking bath. The separate spacious lounge room opened out to a large balcony and the kitchenette included a microwave, Nespresso coffee machine and fully stocked minibar and T2 teas. Loved the Smart TV with complimentary movies on demand, Foxtel and free WiFi ideal for relaxing and falling in to a Truffle food coma.

There are plenty more events to discover at The Truffle Festival – Canberra Region, so check out the full schedule on their website and get planning your truffle escape from June-August. To celebrate, we're also giving away a Winter Weekend Getaway with a Truffle Twist thanks to The Truffle Festival, Turalla Truffles and Hotel Realm. Enter now or book your winter escape to Hotel Realm here.

Do you love Truffles? Are you planning on heading to The Truffle Festival - Canberra Region this year?

The writer was a guest of The Truffle Festival and Hotel Realm.
Images: IG @alluxia
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Top 10 Australian Winter Getaways

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Winter is here! Embrace the crisp mornings, sunny days and cosy evenings that winter brings and visit Australia's favourite winter destinations.

We're your experts in luxury travel and we've scoured the country to find the most romantic winter getaway accommodation, from cosy hilltop hideaways to cool city stays, we've personally inspected this selection of boutique accommodation and can verify the quality and unique nature of these hidden gems.

Here's our Top 10 Australian Winter Getaways to help you make the best winter escape plan.


1. Blue Mountains, NSW
Alluxia Pick: The Hydro Majestic
After a multi-million dollar renovation, the grand dame of the Blue Mountains has been exquisitely restored and is once again welcoming guest to the spectacular Blue Mountains region. Celebrate Yulefest and all the charm of Christmas in July with festive degustation menus at Hydro Majestic. Retreat to art deco inspired accommodation and all the grandeur of a bygone era.
Check availability and Book Hydro Majestic here.


2. Western Wilderness, TAS
Alluxia Pick: Pumphouse Point
Tasmania's premier wilderness retreat, Pumphouse Point offers unique Lake St Clair accommodation to engage the senses and embrace winter in the wilderness. Celebrating the dark, mythical and cold, Pumphouse Point is 'painting' the Pumphouse red for the Dark MoFo Festival. Settle in with a glass of wine by the fire and drink in the spectacular views of Lake St Clair and surrounding mountains.
Check availability and Book Pumphouse Point here.


3. Canberra, ACT
Alluxia Pick: Little National
Winter is the perfect time to visit Canberra and enjoy the annual Truffle Festival – Canberra Region. Embrace those overnight chilly temperatures and snuggle in to the cosiest boutique hotel you'll ever find at Little National. Perfectly compact with efficient planning and generously proportioned sleeping spaces that have character and sophistication, you'll feel you're in a cocoon of cool.
Check availability and Book Little National here.


4. Daylesford & Macedon Ranges, VIC
Alluxia Pick: Saltus Luxury Accommodation
Retreat to the spa capital of Australia and be pampered in Hepburn Springs with a luxurious stay at Saltus. Spacious, contemporary villas with open fireplace, deep soaking baths for the ultimate in romance at this adults only retreat.
Check availability and Book Saltus Luxury Accommodation here.


5. Hunter Valley, NSW
Alluxia Pick: Lilies Luxury Retreat
Ideal for two couples travelling together, this two-bedroom cottage has a central lounge area with fireplace and overlooks a tranquil lake. It's a luxurious base from which to explore all the Hunter Valley has to offer this winter.
Check availability and Book Lilies Luxury Retreat here.


6. Southern Queensland Country, QLD
Alluxia Pick: Spicers Hidden Vale
Just one hour from Brisbane you'll find sophisticated country style at Spicers Hidden Vale. Choose a luxury suite with a fireplace and book in for dinner at onsite restaurant at Homage for an indulged winter menu and settle in for cosiness to the max!
Check availability and Book Spicers Hidden Vale here.


7. Southern Highlands, NSW
Alluxia Pick: Book Barn Cottage
The Southern Highlands is at its best in winter, with misty mornings and crisp sunny days. Stay at Book Barn Cottage, with its cosy fireplace and curl up with a book from the vast selection on offer. Better still, venture to onsite bookstore Berkelouw Book Barn, taste wine at the cellar door and dine at the divine restaurant – there is really no reason to leave Bendooley Estate.
Check availability for Book Barn Cottage here.


8. Yarra Valley & Dandenongs, VIC
Alluxia Pick: The Gallery Olinda
Head to the hills this season for a cosy winter getaway in Victoria's Dandenong Ranges. The Gallery is a contemporary retreat for two with a reading nook, beautiful bath and warming fireplace for the ultimate romantic winter getaway.
Check availability and Book The Gallery Olinda here.


9. Barossa Valley, SA
Alluxia Pick: The Louise
Bold Barossa red wines and winter just go together and there is no better place to stay than The Louise. The Barossa's premier resort has sophisticated suites with fireplaces and complimentary chocolates and Port on arrival. Dine onsite at Appellation with a menu focused on locally sourced seasonal produce.
Check availability and Book The Louise here.


10. Mornington Peninsula, VIC
Alluxia Pick: Lakeside Villas at Crittenden
Cosy up in these luxury stand-alone villas on the vineyard lake at Crittenden Estate in Victoria's Mornington Peninsula. With fireplace, deep soaking baths and some red wine, Lakeside Villas ticks all the boxes for a winter getaway in style.
Check availability and Book Lakeside Villas at Crittenden here.

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Regional Flavours South Bank

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City meets country at Regional Flavours South Bank, a celebration of regional produce from the greater Brisbane region. It's a chance for city folk to bask in the winter sun, stretch out for a picnic and try some of THE best regional produce.

We recently previewed what's in store for next month's Regional Flavours, which returns to South Bank - 15/16 July and met with some of producers, creators and artisans of our region.

Just 90 minutes from Brisbane you'll find 9Dorf Farms, a burgeoning farm who have diversified their property from pasture raised poultry, beef & pork to include aquaculture including Barramundi, Jade Perch and Murray Cod. 9Dorf Farms are 4th generation family owned business who are passionate about sustainable farming and producing ethically raised animals. Touring the farm with owner Bronwyn Neuendorf is a real treat; Bronwyn is an impressive and inspirational farmer leading the way in modern farming in the region. Want to learn more about where your produce comes from? You can tour the farm on the 1st Sunday of the month for just $16 for adults.


From paddock to plate we then arrived at popular Brookfield café Wild Canary. Enigmatic chef, Glen Barratt is a big supporter of local farmers, sourcing local ingredients and utilising their own kitchen garden where possible to reduce food miles. You'll find 9Dorf Farms eggs and other ingredients starring on their seasonal menus.

Seek out Glen Barratt at Regional Flavours, alongside producers and food ambassadors from regions including Lockyer Valley, Sunshine Coast and the Scenic Rim. Glen will be joined onstage by Paul West (Moreton Bay Region Advocate), Peter Wolfe (Sunshine Coast Food Ambassador), Matt Gollinski (Gympie Food Ambassador) and Poh Ling Yeow (Logan Food Ambassador) all flying the flag for Queensland on the Queensland Taste stage.

Alongside the celebrity chefs and cooks will be 'Marketplace', where more than 80 farmers, wineries and small food producers will set up shop, allowing interaction between producers and punters.


Our pick is to enjoy a leisurely lunch at River Quay where you can indulge in gourmet dishes prepared at pop-up restaurants stalls. Let us whet your appetite with a preview of what's on offer so you can plan your culinary adventure:

The Jetty – Chipotle braised Darling Downs Beef Brisket Slider
Popolo – Bolognese with braised Darling Downs wagyu brisket, strozzapreti and Parmesan
Stokehouse Q – King prawn taco with avocado and kale
River Quay Fish – Queensland fish and chips
Aquitaine Brasserie – Pork belly & Raclette Croque-Monsieur, Kingaroy pork belly ham, raclette cheese, wholegrain mustart béchamel and sautéed leeks.

This is just a taste of what's in store, with plenty more celebrity chefs and food pop ups available. See the Regional Flavours website for all the details and make you plan so you don't miss a thing.

Regional Flavours returns to South Bank, Brisbane 15/16 July from 10am-5pm, with free entry.

Enjoy a mini-break and at our favourite Brisbane boutique hotels – book online at alluxia with no booking fees.

The writer was a guest of Regional Flavours. Image credit IG @alluxia
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More to Elements of Byron

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Alluxia favourite Elements of Byron is set for a relaunch in October with expanded leisure, accommodation and education offerings.

With nature and conservation remaining at its heart, Elements of Byron's fifty acres site will be relaunched with a dozen new and revamped leisure areas including a new adults only 25 metre heated pool with swim-up bar and new childrens' playground. The 850,000 litre signature lagoon pool within the central leisure precinct has been heated in time for the cooler months and this area is being expanded with a new timber play space.

A new Eco Education Centre will provide a hub for the local community and resort guests to learn about sustainable living including food production. The Centre will be 100% solar powered and include productive market gardens that will provide food for the resort's restaurants.

The resort recently hosted the inaugural 'Byron Bay Fine Food & Beverage Festival' which we hope becomes a regular fixture on the foodie event calendar.


Executive Chef Simon Jones recently joined Elements of Byron to head the culinary team. Jones trained under Raymond Blanc in Oxfordshire, England and later worked as Head Chef at Marco Pierre White's infamous one Michelin starred L'Escargot in London. "I looked at Elements of Byron and saw the huge potential" said Jones. Guests will be able to choose from five dining outlets including the private Beach Club on the sands of Belongil Beach, which will reopen permanently by Christmas.

Late last year, we were privileged to receive a hardhat tour of the new villas being crafted within an entirely new section of the property surrounded by forest and creek. 99 villas are being constructed, 68 of which represent an entirely new concept in resort accommodation. These 111m2 fully serviced two-bedroom deluxe beach houses are intended as homes away from home for families and small groups seeking inspiration from nature. Guests will unwind in outdoor rooms with fireplaces and soak up the elements in verandah bathhouses in self-contained villas with full kitchens and laundry facilities.


Wellness activities continue to expand, with complimentary guided rainforest and guided bird, beach and history tours the throughout the week. Charming onsite stables are a hub for forest or beach horse riding and the range of complimentary activities includes daily yoga classes, tennis, an outdoor fitness circuit, indoor gym and fire pit Fridays.

And in what is believed to be a world first, through separate not-for-profit Byron Bay Railroad Company the owners of Elements of Byron are delivering a solar powered two-carriage train to link Byron township with the burgeoning North Beach precinct. Byron residents and visitors will be able to ride the heritage train along the 3km coastal track. Further information can be found at

So many exciting new additions! Does this inspire you to plan your next escape to luxury at Elements of Byron?

Book your next Elements of Byron getaway on alluxia, with best rate guarantee and no booking or credit card fees.

Images supplied.
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Ovolo Group acquires Inchcolm Brisbane

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We've heard whispers for weeks and now we can finally reveal that Ovolo Hotels has acquired The New Inchcolm Hotel & Suites Brisbane from Brisbane businessman Peter Flynn reportedly for $16.5 million.

The New Inchcolm Hotel & Suites is Brisbane's premier boutique hotel, with 50 exquisitely appointed rooms and suites. The award-winning Thomson's Reserve Restaurant and Socialites Bar dominate the ground floor, plus elegant event space and private dining at the rear of the hotel.

The New Inchcolm Hotel is popular for both corporate and leisure travellers with it's mix of stylish rooms and suites. Ideal for special occasions, the hotel offers eight "rock star" style Loft Suites and the heritage style MacArthur and Thomson Suites.


This acquisition signals Ovolo Hotel's first foray into the Brisbane market. The Inchcolm will join the impressive collection of Australian hotels including Melbourne's Ovolo Laneways and Sydney's Ovolo 1888 and Ovolo Woolloomooloo.

This addition of a Brisbane based hotel marks Ovolo group's continued expansion within the ANZ region – an effort is being led by Ovolo Hotels Australia COO, Dave Baswal and Acquisitions & Development Manager, Raphael Antonini. While the Inchcolm is recognised as a true 5-star hotel, Mr. Baswal and Mr. Antonini have confirmed plans for an Ovolo makeover – aligning the Brisbane hotel with the brand's contemporary approach to both design and all-inclusive hospitality.

Ovolo Hotels officially takeover on 24 August 2017 with the Ovolo makeover and rebranding expected to be revealed in late 2017. In the meantime, it's business as usual and you can book a stay at The New Inchcolm Hotel & Suites here.


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What's on in June

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Farewell Autumn and Hello Winter! Embrace the cooler months with getaways to your favourite wintery destinations. From foodie festivals across the country, to the winter solstice celebrations in Tassie to flexing your sporting prowess in Port Douglas, there's something for everyone this month.


The Truffle Festival – Canberra Region 
June-August 2017
As the weather cools, Canberra comes alive with truffle events across the region with the annual Truffle Festival from June to August. The Truffle Festival boasts more than 250 events across the Canberra region highlighting the French Black Winter Truffles. Events range from the hands-on truffle hunts and forages to indulgent degustation dinners in venues across the city.

Relish Fraser Coast 
3 June 2017
Visit Queensland's Maryborough for Relish Fraser Coast, a gourmet experience showcasing regional food and wine. Marybourough's heritage streetscape and riverside parks serve as the picturesque backdrop for a foodie celebration of local delicacies including mouth-watering Hervey Bay scallops and Fraser Island prawns.

Negroni Week 
5-11 June 2017
Negroni Week kicks off on 5 June as a celebration of one of the world's great cocktails. Your favourite bars and restaurants will be mixing up Negroni variations for a great cause such as OzHarvest here in Australia. If that's not enough, there's also World Gin Day on 10 June and World Martini Day on 19 June. Cheers!


Dark Mofo, Hobart
8-21 June 2017
Tasmania's premier winter festival is back, delving into centuries-old winter solstice rituals, explores the themes of light, dark, birth, death and more in a heady fortnight of festivities. Often controversial, Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch show was cancelled and then tickets reissued following protests. Be invigorated by a packed program of art, food, film, music, light and noise at Australia's most exciting and edgy festival.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 
9-24 June 2017
The Adelaide Cabaret Festival kicks off on the Queen's Birthday long weekend, and continue for the month of June. With Artistic Directors Ali McGregor and Eddie Perfect back for 2017, expect a great line-up of local and international artists spanning comedy, theatre, burlesque and dance there's sure to be something for everyone.

Sea & Vines Festival, Fleurieu Peninsula
10-12 June 2017
Celebrating 25 years, The McLaren Vale Sea & Vines Festival celebrates the culinary and winemaking traditions of South Australia's Fleurieu Peninsula over the June long weekend. With over 35 events on offer, from intimate degustation dinners with winemakers and chefs to structured winery tours, there's something for everyone.


Winter Wine Weekend, Mornington Peninsula
10-12 June 2017
Another celebration over the June long weekend is Winter Wine Weekend in the Mornington Pensinsula. Comprising of the Winter Wine Fest at the Red Hill Showgrounds, punters will have the opportunity to taste around 200 premium wines from 47 wineries matched with a special menu created by local chefs and cheesemakers. Otherwise, explore the region with over 48 local cellar doors participating in activities and events.

Ironman Cairns 
11 June 2017
It's a postcard setting; competitors start with a swim course at Palm Cove and then embark on arguably the most spectacular bike course in the world. Competitors race up the Captain Cook Highway hugging the coastline from Cairns to Port Douglas. Then competitors transition into a run along the stunning Cairns boardwalk, with the race finishing in the heart of the city. The picturesque setting is ideal for competitors and spectators alike and ideal destination for a long weekend.

Daylesford Macendon Harvest Festival 
16-25 June 2017
Daylesford Macedon Produce Harvest Festival is a biennial celebration of the harvest. The festival showcases the region's best growers, provedores, chefs, restaurateurs and vignerons over 10 days of events and activities. Visitors should look out for Daylesford Macedon Produce farm gate signs and stop in to meet passionate producers, growers and those serving exceptional local food & wine.

Create an event into a long weekend, browse our handpicked collection of luxury Australian accommodation by selecting the state and region from the homepage.

Are you planning to head to any of these events? We'd love to hear your travel plans!

Images: Truffle Festival supplied, Negroni Week, Winter Wine Weekends
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Noosa Food & Wine Festival Wrap Up 2017

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As the sun sets on Noosa Food & Wine Festival, we declare the event the best yet and ponder whether the best is still yet to come?

Packing our bags for every weather eventuality, the forecast was for a significant rain event to hit the coast for the weekend. Refusing to let this news ruin our mood, we hit the road and made final preparations to welcome our guests to alluxia's Noosa Food & Wine Weekend!

Guests arrived at their leisure on Friday and checked in to their villas at The Rise Noosa. The Rise continues to be a winner for our guests with spacious, luxurious apartments within walking distance to the Festival village; it's absolutely ideal for groups. Guests were treated to cheese & wine on arrival and their fridge stocked with breakfast goodies procured from Vanilla Food at Belmondos Organic Market.



We headed down to the festival village for The Woods, only to find the event cancelled. After a day of constant rain, it was an excellent decision by the organisers and with it came the announcement that tickets could be used anytime over the weekend and opening times extended. Hoorah! The cancelled event didn't dampen our spirits and we settled in to neighbouring bar, Miss Moneypennys for cocktails and shared plates.

Saturday morning we woke to clear skies and the arrival of Alana our yoga instructor from Balance Noosa for our own private poolside yoga practice. It was a beautiful way to start the day and a way to balance out all the food, wine & indulgence to come...


With the sun shining, we were all keen for the main event – The Best of Movida on the Beach, under the Tipis on beautiful Noosa Main Beach. Details had been under wraps in the lead up to the event, but we were confident the organisers would deliver a top-notch event. We weren't disappointed with Frank Camorra and team delivering ten courses of Movida classics with matched wines by Mandala Yarra Valley. Incredible food, elegant wine, the sand between your toes and the stunning backdrop of Noosa Main Beach made for a memorable day!



Highlights from Frank Camorra's menu included the Lake Wapengo oysters with sea grape and finger lime dressing and the goat cheese and pepita crisps were absolute standouts on arrival and indicated the high standard of cuisine to come. Who doesn't love a croquette? Movida's leek and mahon cheese croquette was rich and oozy and was followed by the whimsical presentation of kinder egg filled with manchego cheese and truffle. Finishing the event on a high note with the dish of the day, coffee and rum ice cream with espresso granita, Catalan foam and candied Australian macadamias. Oh my!



Ushered out of the tipis to make way for the next event, we strolled down buzzing Hastings Street and popped in to Noosa Beach House for espresso martini's to revive us ready for the next round of events!

To The Woods we go! The festival village in a new location at the Noosa Woods Parklands proved a massive hit with some of Australia's best wineries represented, plus food trucks, cheese tasting and incredible DJ's keeping the crowds entertained into the evening. We kept close to Miss Moneypennys Aperol Spritz bar for sunset drinks by the river.



With the festival under new direction in 2017, Festival Director Maria Crews and team have created an epic event with two festival villages at its heart, The Woods & Noosa Main Beach. Both locations and multiple venues along Hastings Street and greater Noosa welcomed over 120 chefs and winemakers and we're confident the event will continue to grow from strength to strength...if you have the stamina!

We'll definitely be back for Noosa Food & Wine Festival, follow our Travel Events and register your interest to attend by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Inhale. Exhale. Escape to Hale Spa

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Move over Gaia Retreat, there's a new name in resort-style day spas hitting the wellness scene in Australia and the location might just surprise you...

Our nation's capital is now home to Australia's newest luxury health retreat. Doma Group has completed a $3 million refurbishment of the Brassey Hotel, creating a luxury health retreat in the Realm precinct.

Hale Spa comprises over 1,000 square metres of fitness inspiration and pure body indulgence now available to guests staying at Hotel Realm, Burbury Hotel and Little National Hotel.

The day spa features a cave-like spa pool, infrared saunas, nine treatment rooms including a couples suite and segregated female and male steam rooms. Linger a little longer in the lounge with fireplace and views onto an internal courtyard with calming water feature for guests to enjoy before, during or after treatments.


It's not all about pampering, with a focus on fitness and wellbeing part of the Hale offering. The well-equipped gym has a general fitness area, free weights room, group training room, Pilates/Yoga studio and spin studio. If you'd rather escape and breathe in the crisp Canberra air, there is also an outdoor gym area and a landscaped running track around the perimeter.

Whether it's fitness or relaxation, your total health and wellbeing is the priority at Hale Spa. The team at Hale aims to educate and provide a holistic approach, which delivers strength, flexibility, core strength, aerobic and anaerobic fitness.

The gym and spa have been designed to be stylish spaces set amongst beautiful gardens, a sanctuary for guests to escape from their daily lives.

The health and wellness message has made its way into the Realm Precinct restaurants too, with Buvette, Chairman and Yip, Lilotang, Ostani and Maple & Clove all displaying a "H" symbol next to dishes approved by Hale nutrition experts.

Canberra is slowly shifting its all business attitude to become a sought after short break destination particularly for Sydneysiders, with Canberra within easy reach for a weekend getaway. Boasting a plethora of top-notch restaurants serving incredible food and wine, the annual Truffle Festival growing in popularity, Floriade and blockbuster gallery exhibitions and you have all the ingredients for an indulgent escape.


All 'hale' Canberra's premier health retreat, Hale Day Spa

Book an Inhale.Exhale.Escape package at Hotel Realm Canberra and enjoy:

* Overnight accommodation
* One hour signature massage at Hale Spa and a glass of Champagne
* Access to Hale Gym plus complimentary use of Hale Spa facilities including the plunge pool, sauna and steam rooms on the day of treatment
* Overnight secure parking
* Late checkout until midday
* Free movies
* Free WiFi

From $489 per night. Book Inhale.Exhale.Escape package at Hotel Realm here.

Have you been to Canberra lately? Ready to book a weekend getaway?


Images: Hale Spa supplied
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Aria Southbank Review – Affordable luxury with style and substance

Posted on in Check In: Review of the Month


There are plenty of apartment style hotels to choose from in Melbourne's Southbank, but Aria Favourite rises above the pack by offering more than you expect with 24 hour reception, daily housekeeping and stylish suites you won't want to leave!


The Hotel
Inspired by art, Aria commissioned four local artists to create bespoke artworks throughout the hotel. From the moody style of Jeremiah Locke, the quirkiness of Alexandra Ethell, to bold geometric designs by Louise De Weger and the colourful Kirsten Jackson you're bound to find an artwork to suit your mood.


The Room
My one-bedroom apartment is light, bright and decked out in minimalist Scandi style. The walls are adorned with artwork by Kirsten Jackson, my favourite of the four featured artists. The apartment is huge (over 62sqm) and thoughtfully laid out with a well-equipped full kitchen, coffee machine, microwave, oven, stove top, dishwasher and full size fridge but sans minibar. The open plan lounge and dining room is filled with comfortable and colourful furnishings, plus a work desk and free WiFi and balcony overlooking the city. Now let's talk about the bedroom...the cloud-like beds are superb, promising a good night's sleep. I discovered they are a super quality AH Beard King Coil mattress which had me Googling local retailers the moment I got home! The all white bathroom featured a shower over bath and a huge showerhead to wash away all the cares of the day. If you're staying a little longer, there is a handy in-room laundry with washer and dryer. Honestly, you could happily move right in!


Stepping Out
Located in City Road Southbank, you're just a moments walk to the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, Crown Casino Complex and Southbank restaurants. Conveniently there is a Woolworths Supermarket located next door to stock up on your breakfast essentials and goodies if you opt for a little self-catering while you're in-house. Next door is also a Budget/AVIS office if you're hiring a car to explore Victoria. There is also a neat little list of "Favourite Places" in the room, which details the hotels recommended local cafes and restaurants such as Chez Dré Patisserie Boulangerie. On a beautiful sunny Sunday, we headed to Southgate for brunch with Little Miss Melbourne at P.S. Bar Kitchen, the downstairs more casual eatery from Pure South Dining, which specialises in showcasing the best of Tasmanian produce and strong Giancarlo Coffee to kickstart your morning Melbourne style.


The Verdict
From the moment you arrive to the light, bright lobby and cheery staff you're ready to make this hotel your home. Well-equipped apartments with dreamy beds and bespoke local artwork seal the deal. There is currently some construction occurring opposite (midweek only), but hey this is a major city, so you have to expect some level of noise. It didn't disturb our weekend adventures and Aria Favourites is a great base to explore all the Melbourne has to offer.


The Essentials
Aria Favourite Southbank, 285 City Road, Southbank VIC. Rates from $169 per night One Bedroom and $229 Two Bedroom including Free WiFi. Parking is just $17 per day.
Book Aria Favourite Southbank here.

The writer was a guest of Aria Favourite Southbank.
Image credit IG @alluxia
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A Weekend in Toowoomba

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Toowoomba is emerging as the go-to destination for Brisbanites keen to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, reconnect with nature and enjoy a country getaway. Just 90 minutes from Brisbane, discover the hidden secrets and laneways of Toowoomba

Heading up the range, you begin to relax, slow down and breathe deeply, ready to immerse yourself in the delights of the country. And there are so many delights to enjoy! On our recent visit, we discovered Toowoomba is a low-key hipster haven; a town filled with cool cafes, impressive street art and culture.


Potters Boutique Hotel
Toowoomba's newly opened boutique hotel oozes country hospitality with modern, contemporary style and relaxed luxury. Located in the CBD near Grand Central Shopping Centre (they even have H&M) and walking distance to the boutiques, shops and cafes on Ruthven Street, it's a great base to explore all Toowoomba has to offer. Spacious, well-appointed rooms boasting cloud like beds and king size pillows seal the deal.


Felton Food Festival
Love food & wine? Then make Felton Food Festival a must-visit on your annual foodie calendar. The event is held annually in March, designed as a way to authentically experience country life and meet the makers, growers and farmers in an epic one-day festival. The festival kicks off with a Twilight Dinner, this year hosted by celebrity chef Alastair McLeod and Costa Georgiadis, followed by a day featuring plenty of cooking demonstrations, market stalls and entertainment to enjoy and soak up the warm country hospitality. This family friendly festival has free entry or voluntary donation to support the local community. No doubt the festival will continue to grow from strength to strength.

Street Art – First Coat Festival
It's impossible to miss the incredible street art splashed across the buildings and laneways of Toowoomba. They're the work of First Coat Festival, an annual showcase of contemporary art transforming public spaces and engaging the community. Download the app and explore the town and its 50+murals. Don't miss First Coat Festival on 19-21 May 2017 for the unveiling of the newest works.

Cobb & Co Museum
Those that appreciate a bit of history will love the Cobb & Co Museum. Cobb & Co Museum is home to the National Carriage Collection and focuses on horse-drawn vehicle and heritage trades. But there's more to the Museum than its namesake, with an aboriginal gallery, hands on workshops, touring exhibitions and a café, it's a great choice for families with young kids.

Toowoomba Farmers' Market
Held every Saturday from 7am-11am in its new home of the Walton Stores, Toowoomba Farmers' Market is a market that advocates for the farm, the grower, the producer and the artisan whilst promoting education and awareness. Bringing together more than 60 stallholders selling everything from preserves, fruit, veg, wines, bakery items, meats and artisan goods.


The Finch Cafe
The Finch Café resides in a grand heritage building on the main street featuring high ceilings, timber floors, banquette seating and a eye catching finch mural on the café's rear wall, keeping a watchful eye over its patrons. We feasted on Toowoomba's best Banh Mi rolls, sweet potato fries and pork tacos for lunch and would head back for more in a heartbeat. Also serving excellent Fonzie Abbott Espresso to keep you caffeinated.

Ground Up Espresso
Hidden down a colourful laneway emblazoned with street art you'll find a café serious about its coffee. Serving arguably the best coffee in Toowoomba, the friendly and talented baristas use premium Toby's Estate beans for the perfect brew. For brunch, expect to see menu items such as Eggs Benedict and medley of fresh tomatoes on sourdough.

Red Bench Cafe
Toowoomba isn't short on good coffee and Red Bench Café serves Single Origin coffee and old fashioned baked goods, baked fresh on site. Owner and head barista Matt Skelton honed his skills working Melbourne's café scene before returning to his hometown. You'll spot the little red bench outside at the corner of Margaret and Mary Streets.


Preston Peak Winery
Take a detour up the mountain to Preston Peak Winery and be rewarded with stunning vistas and an exceptional range of cool-climate wines. The picturesque winery dazzles as a wedding venue (hello brides) and makes for a very pleasant afternoon sipping wines and indulging in a gourmet cheese platter. Bliss.

Muller Bros
Head to Toowoomba's first open air rooftop bar for sunset drinks, after hours ales or Saturday Night Lights – live music under the stars each week. On our visit, the packed rooftop was pumping out the urban tunes of XY Latu ( with the crowd dancing under the moonlit sky on a magical warm Autumn night into the wee hours.

Have you been to Toowoomba recently? What hidden gems did you discover?

The writer was a guest of Felton Food Festival. Image credit: Sally Scott - alluxia
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World Book Day April 23

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Did you know today is World Book Day? World Book Day is celebrated annually on April 23 and originally created by UNESCO to promote reading and publishing. It's a great day to celebrate the love of reading and the glorious written word!

If you've been smart enough to create a long weekend to coincide with ANZAC Day, then now is a great time to curl up with a book on holidays and indulge in the relaxing pastime of reading a great novel. So take time today to find a spot in the sun with a cup of tea and spend the day reading.

Here's our pick for the best long weekend reads for World Book Day:


Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
While Big Little Lies by Australian author Liane Moriarty was first published in 2014, it's receiving plenty of buzz of late thanks to the TV miniseries adaption by HBO starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. Big Little Lies follows the lives of three women and tackles the themes of schoolyard scandals, married lives, ex-husbands, friendship and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.


Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
Just a word of warning, this one's a tear-jerker, so probably best to curl up and read in a quiet corner rather than being caught out poolside or on an aeroplane, tears streaming down your face. It's the story of Lou Clark who is stuck in rut with an ordinary life and a steady boyfriend, who takes a job caring for the wheelchair-bound Will Traynor. Will had an active life before an accident left him wheelchair-bound and this charming story shows the unexpected joy that Lou brings to Will's life in surprising ways.


The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
It may take longer than a long weekend to finish this epic novel (at a whopping 771 pages) that follows the life of Theo Decker over a number of decades. It begins when thirteen-year-old Theo miraculously survives an explosion in a New York art gallery that kills his mother. The story unfolds as this lost soul moves in with a wealthy family, then his father in Vegas followed by an antique dealer in New York eventually leading Theo into the underworld of art. It is a story of loss, obsession, survival and self-invention and you'll either love it or hate it.


One Summer in Venice by Nicky Pellegrino
After The Goldfinch, you'll be needing a light holiday read! One Summer in Venice tells the story of Addolorata Martinelli who escapes her family and business for summer alone in Venice. She begins to construct a list of the ten things that make her happy, makes new friends and rediscovers herself. With a beautiful Italian setting, it's the perfect holiday read.


The Promise Seed by Cass Moriarty
I had the pleasure of meeting Brisbane based Cass Moriarty (no relation to Liane Moriarty) recently after reading her beautiful debut novel. It's the story of an elderly man and the unlikely friendship that forms with his 10-year-old neighbour. They mystery at the heart of the novel is cleverly unravelled and keeps you wondering until the end. A wonderful novel and we can't wait to read Cass' next novel called Parting Words due for release in August 2017.

Looking for a hotel to cosy up to? A couple of our favourite boutique hotels with book themes are Ovolo Woolloomooloo (pictured above), Tryp Brisbane and Spicers Balfour - you can get lost in their little library.

Which book are you reading and loving at the moment?

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Adelphi Review – Sweet Success & First Impressions

Posted on in Check In: Review of the Month


Everybody knows the importance of first impressions. But how many times have you entered a store, restaurant or hotel only to be ignored and overlooked? Far too often in the hospitality industry we encounter negative first impressions and mediocre service. Not so, when alluxia recently checked in to Melbourne boutique hotel, Adelphi on Flinders Lane.

They say our first impressions are formed in the seven second window upon first meeting someone. This means hotel staff need to act quickly in order to make a brilliant first impression on check-in.

Arriving at the Adelphi Hotel, I stopped for a moment to gather my luggage and before I even had a chance to move, a friendly and enthusiastic Adelphi team member swooped upon me and whisked my luggage upstairs before I even had a chance to think about awkwardly navigating the stairs before me. This exceptional welcome continued in the lobby, with more smiling team members who ushered me to the lobby's communal table, offered me a welcome drink (a coffee thank you very much) peppered me with questions about my stay in Melbourne and distracted me with general pleasant banter that I barely noticed that the formalities of check-in and pre-authorisation of credit cards had been completed. There was genuine warmth in their welcome that's hard to train and comes from strong leadership, empowerment and culture.


After that fantastic first impression, quite frankly anything could have gone wrong with my room and I wouldn't have cared! Of course it didn't, everything was thoroughly perfect. My room was a very sweet suite indeed – a Flinders King corner suite with the sun streaming in and the bustling city street below.

The warm welcome continued with personal message scrawled on the mirror and lots of fun extra inclusions. The décor is like a liquorice allsorts of colour, but it works! Black and white chevron carpet, lolly pink couch and textured fur throw rug on the bed complete the designer look and making it the world's first dessert themed hotel.


Tasty temptations are included in your stay, a lolly jar full of goodies such as nuts, jellies, and chips all locally sourced and replenished daily. The complimentary minibar is filled with juices and waters to keep you happily hydrated.

The list of inclusions continues with complimentary WiFi, latest release movies and local phone calls to keep you entertained and connected. You'll need all your will power to resist the tempting treats and entertainment with the movies proving a total distraction when there is work to be done! There's also a Lavazza Amodo Mio coffee pod machine if you're desperate for a coffee, but this is Melbourne and I'm out to explore.

I wander just a little further along Flinders Lane to Cumulus Inc, Andrew McConnell's famed all-day eating house. Midweek it's buzzing with business people caffeinating before work and I prop up at the bar to order breakfast. I'm presented with a petite menu with a few well-crafted items and I opt for the indulgent Shakshouka – baked eggs with roasted peppers and shanklish. Service is swift and professional and the perfect cup of Single Origin Coffee House Blend #7 is delivered with efficiency.


The following morning I opt for breakfast in-house at Adelphi, the mood lighting, which is ideal for the evening Om Nom's dessert bar offering, feels at odds with the early breakfast hour. Service in the restaurant is a low point, with staff indifferent and not as attentive as their front office counterparts. The 63-degree egg, grilled asparagus, smoked salmon and sourdough toast with burnt butter and sage was a pleasant light breakfast option.

Adelphi Hotel was previously famous for its cantilever swimming pool which was ahead of its time when the boutique hotel was conceived in the early 90's. After a change of ownership and the hotel's refurbishment in 2013, further plans are now afoot for a makeover of the iconic pool deck and it will be interesting to see how they transform the rooftop haven.

For now, Adelphi is a small hotel big on service, presenting enticing temptations at every turn from the delicious Om Nom signature desserts, eye catching Liquorice All-Sort stools and the sweet smell of lollies in the lobby – it's a feast for the senses.

Have you stayed at Adelphi Hotel? Tell us about your experience.

Adelphi Hotel
187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Book at Adelphi Hotel here.

The writer was a guest of Adelphi Hotel.
Images: IG @alluxia or supplied.
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Qantas WiFi in the Sky

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Qantas_TravMedia_Australia_medium-sized_1201854_Qantas_A330.jpg                Image credit: Qantas supplied

The decision whether to work or relax on your next flight just got a whole lot tougher.

On Friday 7 April, Qantas flicked the switch on its new free inflight Wifi service. Qantas passengers on Wi-Fi enabled planes will be able to work online, reply to emails, stream live sport or catch up on the latest shows and films – oh the dilemma!

Originally intended to roll out "Sky-High WiFi" in February, however the popular carrier delayed the launch due to "stability issues" with the satellite-based service. Fair enough, it sounds like a technical feat and testing of the new technology is still underway.

The Qantas WiFi trials will take place on a Boeing 737-800 jet (aircraft registration VH-XZB if you must know and emblazoned with the WiFi symbol, so keep your eyes peeled) which will service the popular east coast routes between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and the odd east-west crossing to Perth, which will satisfy the business traveller.

The airline is undertaking a three-month trial to 'beta test' the service for travellers to assess traffic loads and other real-world factors. Following the testing phase, installation of the new technology will be carried out across the 80 strong domestic fleet of Airbus 330s and Boeing 737s expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

Will you know in advance whether your Qantas flight will offer "sky-high WiFi"? It's unlikely Qantas will promote the service in advance due to the operational need to swap aircraft between routes, so it will be pure luck if you hit the jackpot in the coming months.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Qantas-plane-Kurt-Ams.jpg          Image credit: Kurt Ams

This Qantas sky-high WiFi is a game changer; I once accidently booked a flight on Melbourne Cup Day and was mid flight while the race that stops the nation was being run, oblivious to the outcome in the sky. Imagine now, I'd be able to make a bet online, watch the race live and then boast about my win on social media all before I landed!

While you still can't use your 'phone' to actually make calls, I'm not sure how they will police people using WiFi to Facetime their friends and loved ones, and what about the constant sound of pings and notifications from phones around you? The times of being blissfully uncontactable while you embark on your voyage will soon be a thing of the past. Maybe we can look forward to changes to the inflight video to include online etiquette?

How it works, make sure you've downloaded the relevant apps before boarding and once you're underway, connect your laptop, tablet or smartphone to the WiFi hotspot and then voila! Free WiFi!

Some of the initiatives by Qantas to enhance the inflight experience include complimentary access to thousands of newspapers and magazines via PressReader as well as Foxtel, Netflix and Spotify coming on board to provide content in 2017. Passengers will be able to access Foxtel, Netflix and Spotify on their personal devices after logging into the plane's inflight WiFi. While these are normally a paid subscription service, passengers will have free access on and off the aircraft for between 3 days and one month after their Qantas flight (Note – both Netflix and Spotify require customers to sign-up to a subscription to access the free trial). Foxtel and Netflix both have huge catalogues, so there will be no shortage of entertainment on board.

For frequent flyers and business travellers, Wifi will be a godsend, but for others, it may seem like the last place to escape the online world and relax uninterrupted will be gone forever.

Are you looking forward to free inflight WiFi on Qantas or prefer the peaceful solitude of plane travel? We'd love to hear your thoughts, so message below!

b2ap3_thumbnail_airportstyle.jpg   Image credit: Brooklyn Blonde
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Book Barn Cottage Review – An Inspiring Country Getaway

Posted on in Check In: Review of the Month


There is something inspiring about being surrounded by books. The knowledge, the adventures, the storytelling and pages filled with possibilities sitting on the shelves begging to be read. That's the feeling you get staying at Book Barn Cottage at Berrima in the NSW Southern Highlands.

Formerly the gatekeeper's residence, the house sits proudly at the entrance to Bendooley Estate, a beautiful country estate also housing the famous Berkelouw Book Store, Restaurant, wedding venue, winery and cellar door – what a winning combination for foodies and book lovers!



A hedge provides privacy from the busy road and the charming cottage is surrounded by a garden of native plants, lavender and roses. The scent of flowers fills the air as you enter the cottage with vases of fresh tulips and lilies dotted around the house.

Comfortably able to accommodate a group of 5 guests, the master bedroom has a king-size wrought iron bed with luxurious linen and French doors leading out to the balcony and garden, plus a large ensuite with double vanity. The second bedroom has two king singles and trundle bed plus a second bathroom with bath. Both bedrooms have plush carpeting and the living areas have lovely wooden floors.



My favourite room is the open-plan lounge room with leather lounge, book shelves stacked with books of all genres and a comfortable chair beside the fireplace inviting you to settle in with a good book. French doors open onto the verandah with BBQ and small table and chairs for two leading out to a large grassy yard.

The dining area off the kitchen has a large timber table with bench seating with red chairs providing a pop of colour to the cottage. The small country kitchen is well stocked with plenty of kitchen essentials and has a basic oven, stove-top and dishwasher. There is a full laundry for your convenience too making the cottage ideal for longer stays as well as weekend retreats.



Guests staying at the Book Barn Cottage benefit from discounted prices at the bookstore and cellar door and you'd be crazy not to indulge in lunch at the restaurant while you're staying on the estate. The cellar door is an impressive space to taste Bendooley Estate's award winning wine while gazing up at the incredible John Olsen painting above the counter, specially commissioned for the winery. You can enjoy casual dining by the fireplace or outside overlooking the vines - bliss!

Venture a little further and you're just 9 minutes to Bowral and spoilt for choice with a vast selection of boutiques, shops, cafes and restaurants. Spend a while at Dirty Jane's Emporium, an antique's market with over 60 stall-holders showcasing vintage, retro and country style wares. We love stopping at the Tea Salon within Dirty Janes for the most delicious lavender scones and tea. The new stores surrounding Dirty Janes now features The Press Shop, blending great coffee and treats with gorgeous stationery by Bespoke Letterpress. For dinner we ventured to the divine Bistro Officina (pictured below) and indulged in their generous 4-course experience, you can read the full review here.



Book Barn Cottage is a charming country cottage in a picturesque setting at Bendooley Estate in the Southern Highlands, creating the ultimate escape for foodies, wine lovers and book worms. Be inspired by the vast collection of books, outstanding wines and divine dining making it the perfect base to explore all the Southern Highlands has to offer.

Book Barn Cottage
3020 Old Hume Highway, Berrima NSW
Book at Book Barn Cottage here.




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Do not disturb - one mama's rock star weekend

Posted on in Check In: Review of the Month

Saskia Moon defies mother guilt and escapes to Sydney for some "me time" and the rock star life at Ovolo Woolloomooloo.


It's been a while since I travelled by myself. I used to be on a plane every other week for most of my working life, but when I had my daughter the travel came to a shrieking halt.

But then I won a competition on Instagram – a stay in a Rock Star Suite at the luxurious Ovolo Woolloomooloo – surely a sign that it was time for this mumma to get out and about again! So - after checking my husband was ok to spend a weekend of quality time with his daughter - I booked my flights straight away.

As I pack my bag for a weekend of partying, catching up with friends and sleeping (Oh yes. Planning to do a lot of sleeping) I realise there is not much left of my jet setting wardrobe, either. Most of my clothes these days can best be described as "mum uniform". I find a few outfits that will have to do and promise myself to go shopping while in Sydney.

In the Virgin lounge my holiday begins. I enjoy the tea and cookies (why did I book a flight before the bar opens??) and read all of the magazines. The plane takes the scenic route so as we arrive with picture postcard perfect views of the harbour. Oh Sydney, how I have missed you!


I arrive at the hotel and after a very friendly welcome am escorted to my room – the ACDC suite. Which is an absolute stunner of a suite! I had seen photos of it online but I still wasn't prepared for how amazingly cool it is!

The first thing you notice after walking in past the very cool neon lighting on the wall (which reads "You shook me all night long") is that there is a private bar! Not a mini-bar – an actual bar! Stocked with big bottles of whiskey and gin! The fridge is filled with boutique beers, wines and soft drinks. All included in the room rate – or in my case: free! I feel slightly ridiculous having such a massive suite for little old me, but then I quickly get over that and pour myself a generous gin and tonic.


A friend who lives in Sydney comes over to check out my suite and joins me for the hotel's famous happy hour – free drinks and nibbles in the lobby bar. There's a great selection of beer and wines and the nibbles are just that – don't expect to fill up on them and skip dinner.

I take my friend on a tour of the suite including its most unique feature – a little curtained off room next to the entrance – when you open the curtain a spider web type hammock is revealed, filled with throw cushions and looking up at.....a mirrored ceiling. How very rock star! We giggle and take some very not sexy photos, then continue our tour of the room.

We both love the neon "fireplace" in the living room – and the Crosley record player. Records are provided, including of course a few ACDC ones. There's Apple TV too so you can play anything you like through the television.


The bathroom has a double shower, plenty of fancy toiletries (Biology skincare - for those, like me, interested in that type of thing) and my favourite: real vintage Playboys from the 70s.

The bedroom has a lovely vanity area where I love the wall art and furniture so much I wish I could take it home. That's frowned upon, but there's so many things you CAN take home at Ovolo Woolloomooloo: the usual hotel amenities but also a cool canvas welcome bag with snacks and treats for your stay, and even a yoga mat!


After a restful sleep in the super comfy bed another friend joins me for breakfast. Included in the room rate is the continental buffet, and this is so substantial you really do not need to order any of the hot dishes – but you'd be a fool to miss out! I ordered the Middle Eastern eggs and they were delicious.

I spent a fabulous two nights at the hotel and returned to my real life well rested and with a lot more luggage than I came with (Oxford Street shopping was VERY successful plus I may have taken those bottles of booze from my bar ☺).
I miss my rock star life already! At least I will always have my rock star selfie to look back on.


Live the rock star life at Ovolo Woolloomooloo, browse and book online with no fees at alluxia.

Saskia was a guest and prize winner at Ovolo Woolloomooloo.
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What's New in Noosa

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Think you know Noosa? Our favourite coastal getaway destination has some cool new additions to its shopping and dining scene with some activities thrown in for good measure. These newbies will have you lusting after a Noosa getaway quick smart.

Providore on Hastings
Before you kick start your weekend, head to Providore on Hastings to stock up on gourmet groceries, freshly prepared meals and keep caffeinated with Little Cove Coffee Co. Stocking Sunshine Coast local favourites such as Woombye Cheese and Kenilworth Cheese, pair with olives, meats, crackers and breads and you have yourself the perfect cheese platter or picnic hamper to explore nearby Noosa National Park.
Nestled in the Netanya Noosa lobby, 75 Hastings St, Noosa

For a bit of grunt and grunge with your latte, check out newcomer MOTO – bringing custom made motorbikes, craft beers, food and coffee to a quiet corner of Noosa Junction. Moto believes in supporting local mates and will be rotating a selection of Sunshine Coast and Queensland regional brews across the taps as well as serving coffee by Noosa's Clandestino Roasters with their own MOTO Roast.
66 Noosa Drive, Noosa Heads


The Cooking School Noosa
Brought to you by the talented team at Wasabi Restaurant, The Cooking School Noosa are seasonal affairs to take advantage of produce picked from their own farm Honeysuckle Hill or sourced from the local Noosa Farmer's Market. Lead by Wasabi Chef's as well as guest chefs, each class has a maximum of 10 people where you'll enjoy a hands on experience before enjoying your spoils matched with premium beverages for $250pp.
2 Quamby Place, Noosa Heads

Bordertown Cocktails and Cantina
A swanky new burger joint has opened overlooking the Noosa River serving American and Mexican (thus Bordertown) street food with a sophisticated drinks list to rival city bars. Brought to you by a trio of co-founders whose past Brisbane venues included The Zoo, The Bowery, Skyroom and The Buffalo Club bringing some city sophistication to the relaxed locale. Discover a blend of breakfast, tacos, burgers, booze and low and slow barbecue at Bordertown Cocktails and Cantina.
253 Gympie Tce, Noosaville

Village Bicycle
Over summer, Village Bicycle moved to new digs in Noosa Junction where they're pedalling food, booze and good times. Relax on the front patio and watch the world go by or head inside to the dark and moody indoor area or check out the beer garden and enjoy tacos for days.
16 Sunshine Beach Road, Noosa Heads


Noosa Flow
A bright and breezy boutique Pilates and Wellness Studio has also recently opened with a focus on recharging your body and rejuvenating your soul. With stunning water views over Noosa River and state-of-the-art equipment, the Noosa Flow studio offers visitors an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
14/203 Gympie Terrace, Noosaville

Grab Rock
Feel like a little nature, adventure and adrenaline? Check out Grab Rock and experience abseiling down Noosa's Mt Tinbeerwah, one of Australia's highest abseils! Adventure seekers will enjoy a half-day experience, sunset abseil from $65pp with all gear and training included. Transfers from your accommodation can also be arranged.


Freedom Trail
Live like a local and enjoy a guided tour of Noosa. Whether it's discovering the Noosa National Park, surfing, stand-up paddling, yoga outdoors or enjoying the vibrant music scene, the team from Freedom Trail will provide a personalised experience where you live like a local.

Are you planning a Noosa getaway? Browse our Noosa and Sunshine Coast accommodation here or join us on the Noosa Food & Wine Weekend. Any new openings in Noosa we've missed?

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New Look for Larmont Sydney

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We recently toured the new look Larmont Sydney and were blown away with the recent renovations!

Larmont Sydney is tucked away behind the iconic Coca-Cola sign in the bohemian borough of Potts Point, surrounded by fab restaurants, cafes and bars and a hop, skip and jump from the CBD. Personally, the Potts Point/Darlinghurst area is my preferred location to stay in Sydney to give you that 'living like a local' vibe with the convenience and access to the city.

Larmont is managed by family-owned Lancemore Group who operate luxury boutique hotels across Australian including alluxia favourites Alamanda Palm Cove and Lindenderry at Red Hill. The $8m refurbishment of Larmont Sydney by Lancemore Group was led by CEO Julian Clark in collaboration with internationally acclaimed HASSELL Studio.


We can verify, the design elements are certainly impressive, making even the most compact room feel light and spacious. Key design features include semi open bathrooms with free-standing vanity combined with open wardrobes to allow access to harbour and city views and a more open plan feel, but still providing privacy where it counts.

The new design aims to unclutter the traditional hotel room through intuitive use of space and concealment of amenities such as ironing board (concealed in wardrobe drawer) minibar, Nespresso machine and Iron (vanity). I particularly liked the stylish felt hanging magazine organiser which gives the room a Scandinavian design feel. 


In addition to the impressive refurbishment of existing rooms, Lancemore have invested a further $12m in acquiring the residential penthouse apartments on the 11th and 12th floors, thereby adding 28 rooms to the property, bringing it to a total of 103 guest rooms.

Pet lovers will rejoice that Larmont have maintained its Sydney pet-friendly status by retaining four courtyard rooms for its four-legged friends. The pet-friendly Courtyard Rooms offer all the creature comforts of home including a welcome treat, food, water bowls and a bed.


Wellness is also at the hotel's core with onsite yoga studio inviting guests to enjoy complimentary yoga or pilates classes in addition to complimentary 24-hour access to Anytime Fitness.

This month, Larmont launched their new restaurant The Hyde, with Head Chef Christian Colognesi (ex-Bambini Trust Restaurant) at the helm. Open breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week, The Hyde will surely make its mark on the already impressive food scene in Potts Point. In-house guests will also enjoy complimentary wine, beer or house spirit with lunch or dinner at The Hyde, just one of many bespoke guest amenities on offer at Larmont Sydney.

We may have just discovered our new Sydney bolthole.


Larmont Sydney
14 Kings Cross Road, Potts Point
Book online with no fees here at alluxia.

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Hottest New Hotel Openings in 2017

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This year is set to sizzle with a host of hot new hotels slated to open across Australia in 2017. Sure there are plenty of new hotels of the chain variety set to open in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, but we have our eye for style on the boutique, unique and independent.

Here are details of the most anticipated new hotel openings in 2017:


Jackalope, Mornington Peninsula
Just 44 sleeps until this luxury hotel opens in Victoria's Mornington Peninsula on the rural surrounds of Willow Creek Vineyard. Comprising 46 luxury rooms overlooking the vines and rural surrounds and boasting curated designer details throughout, this is luxury re-imagined. Sure to become one of the "must visit" dining destinations, guests will enjoy onsite Doot Doot Doot Restaurant and lobby wine bar. Standby for Australia's most anticipated new art hotel.


MACq 01 Hotel, Hobart
The Federal Group are set to open their 113-room luxury hotel on Hobart's waterfront as part of a $35 redevelopment of the Macquarie Wharf Shed on 1 June 2017. The idea behind MACq 01 is the create a hotel inspired by the unique character and people of Tasmania to offer a quintessentially Tasmanian experience like no other. We can hardly wait for this storytelling hotel to open mid year.


Spicers Potts Point, Sydney
We're already fans of everything Spicers Retreats including their flagship Spicers Peak Lodge, so we're beside ourselves with excitement for the unveiling of Spicers Potts Point on 1 June 2017. A departure from their regional outposts, this boutique inner city hotel will feature 16 rooms and 4 suites over three traditional terraces in Sydney's Potts Point. The boutique hotel will also feature a bar, breakfast kitchen and guest lounge.

Spicers Guest House, Hunter Valley
The Guest House is currently closed for extensive renovations and luxury upgrades, ready to re-open as Spicers Guest House in November 2017. If you love all things Spicers, you'll love this new retreat which is expected to boast new conference facilities, luxury room refurbishments, a beautiful new pool and enchanting wedding chapel.


Pinky's Eco-Retreat and Beach Club, Rottnest Island
WA's favourite holiday island is about to receive its first "glamping" accommodation with the launch of Pinky's Eco Retreat and Beach Club. While catering to all budgets, the resort will feature 29 luxury eco-tents complete with ensuites and high level comforts. The resort will also feature a beach club including licensed bar, café, restaurant and function facilities with views across the ocean to Perth.

Soul of Gerringong, South Coast
It's still in the planning, but there are talks Soul of Gerringong on the beautiful South Coast of NSW may open as a 5-room guest house with each room featuring its own en-suite and sharing an open plan kitchen and living area. Due to open midyear, the luxury farmhouse may also be booked for exclusive use as a 5-bedroom luxe holiday house with pool and sleeping 8-10 guests in style. Additional to the farmhouse there will be a guesthouse that can sleep a further 4 guests.

Hottest New Holiday Houses...
We also have some hot new holiday houses on our radar including a Brisbane holiday house in a renovated Queenslander in trendy New Farm due to welcome guests in 2017.

Sister property to Toraja Luxury, Villa Toraja is set to open in the coming months in the Byron Bay Hinterland and will be the perfect getaway for two. Ayindi Beach House in Byron Bay has been closed for extensive renovations and we can't wait for to see the transformation – due to open late February 2017.

Have we missed any fab new luxury boutique hotel developments set to open in 2017? Let us know below!

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Bistro Officina Review

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Escape to Bistro Officina for a taste of European style in the Southern Highlands.


The Southern Highlands is an enchanting destination to visit in any season. Country charm abounds with cosy cottages, boutiques, antique stores and now a modern European restaurant to rival the city.

Bistro Officina wasn't easy to find, the address led me to Berida Manor yet their website made no mention of a hotel, but after spotting the tiny antler logo - voila! I'm in. No wonder there wasn't any mention of the Manor, as this is no ordinary hotel restaurant. Instead you're greeted with a modern, light filled space with two large dining rooms, a cosy bar and open kitchen. Ivy climbs around the large picture windows providing stunning views of the grounds beyond.

Midweek, the scene was quite convivial, with the well-heeled diner's talking in hushed tones, some even in French, adding to the overall European atmosphere. 


Bistro Officina takes its name from World War II times when Mussolini was in power in Italy. In a time of deep corruption, censorship, control and lack of freedom, many underground garages opened up at the back of houses, where Italian grandmothers would cook their delicious homemade pasta to sell to the poor people riddled by war. These little "garages" were called Officina.

The newly opened Bistro Officina is fast attracting a loyal local following with the Southern Highlands foodies. The concept is based on fire, wood and charcoal, where everything is cooked in the wood oven and proteins are grilled over the charcoal. It makes for rustic, traditional European cooking.


To fully appreciate the restaurant's capabilities, we opted for the 4 course experience, it would be churlish not to! We advised the waiter we were happy with anything on the menu and we were in the chef's hands.

First up was the house sourdough bread with smoked butter. With a generous serving of 4 portions, I was in danger of filling up on bread, but it was so delicious I couldn't resist. It's rather fashionable these days to abstain from bread/carbs, but the charming owner Alex who hails from France and her husband chef Nicola from Naples, exclaims, "We're European, we love bread!" and I know I'm in good company.


Entrée is exquisite and not something I would have chosen which is why it's great to trust the chef! The King fish, stracciatella and melon is delicate and an elegant starter. The bread came in handy to soak up the remaining delicious soup; it's the French way after all.

For my second course, I'd hinted I'd love to try the gnocchi and so I was thrilled to be presented with the grilled gnocchi with shiitake mushrooms, pecora jamberoo, beurre noisette. Curds and selected cheeses served at Bistro Officina are from Pecora Dairy an award winning local farm situated in Robertson, in the heart of the Southern Highlands. The gnocchi was perfection, soft fluffy pillows of gnocchi made from local potatoes balanced by beautiful flavours, but far too filling and large for a degustation.


With two courses still to come, I am in danger of being too full after devouring the bread and gnocchi. I groan and rub my belly as Alex takes the half finished gnocchi away. When I comment the serving size is too large, she says, "Have you seen the size of my husband?" clearly he's a generous man who loves to feed his guests.

I notice Chef Nicola performs a loud clap when meals are ready for service, rather than a traditional bell favoured by other restaurants, but it's Nicola that deserves all the applause.


Next up and deviating from the menu once again (due to the nature of fresh produce and availability), I'm served Lamb tenderloin with smoked eggplant. Its tender and delicious, but again an overly generous serving size.

I'm so pleased to be served a light palate cleaner of sorbet with mint next, although this is just a minor reprieve before dessert is served. What follows are a selection of chocolate and strawberry petit fours with strawberries picked straight from the garden. Surely I'm done; I've already consumed more than 4 courses? I speak too soon as another generous portion of Tiramisu is presented in front of me. I'm sadly defeated.


The extensive wine list has a great selection of local wines and I opted for a Cherry Tree Hill Cabernet Merlot Rose from Sutton Forest. Service was excellent from both my waiter Zack and owner Alex. I'd definitely return and would love to try the small plates and cocktails in the bar, particularly in winter by the fire.

The 4 course experience will set you back $70, but you absolutely won't go hungry. A visit to Bowral and Bistro Officina is ideal for a weekend escape; book a night with alluxia whilst grazing your way through a taste of European style in the Southern Highlands.

Bistro Officina
6 David St, Bowral NSW
ph: 02 4861 7787

Images: IG @alluxia

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Food & Wine Festivals 2017

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Each year we share a comprehensive list of Food & Wine Festivals in Australia.

If you love food and wine as much as we do, you'll devour this list and start planning a few gourmet getaways and wine weekends for 2017!

From major events such as Margaret River's Gourmet Getaway, to iconic events such as the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival which is this year celebrating 25 years to regional events such as Felton Food Festival each showcases the best local growers, artisans and wine makers the region has to offer.

With so many to choose from, we bring you the alluxia guide to Australia's Best Food & Wine Festivals in 2017:


14/1 Harvest Festival McLaren Vale (1 day) McLaren Vale, SA
15/1 So Frenchy So Chic (1 day) Melbourne, VIC
27/1 Crush Festival (3 days) Adelaide Hills, SA

10/2 Festivale 2017 (3 days) Launceston, TAS
18/2 Apollo Bay Seafood Festival (2 days) Great Ocean Road, VIC
24/2 Cellar Door Fest (3 days) Adelaide, SA

9/3 Taste of Sydney (4 days) Sydney, NSW
11/3 Taste of Rutherglen (2 days) High Country, VIC
12/3 Peninsula Piers & Pinots (1 day) Mornington Peninsula, VIC
26/3 Felton Food Festival (1 day) Southern QLD Country, QLD
31/3 Melbourne Food & Wine Festival (10 days) Melbourne, VIC
31/3 Orange F.O.O.D Week (10 days) Country NSW, NSW 


7/4 A Little Bit of Italy in Broke (3 days) Hunter Valley, NSW
19/4 Barossa Vintage Festival (5 days) Barossa Valley, SA
30/4 Tasting Australia (8 days) Adelaide, SA

1/5 Hunter Valley Wine & Food Festival (60 days) Hunter Valley, NSW
6/5 Grampians Grape Escape (2 days) Grampians, VIC
13/5 Grazing the Granite Belt (1 day) Southern Qld Country, QLD
19/5 Noosa Food & Wine (4 days) Sunshine Coast, QLD
19/5 Clare Gourmet Weekend (4 days) Clare Valley, SA
20/5 Lovedale Long Lunch (2 days) Hunter Valley, NSW
26/5 Carnivale (3 days) Tropical Nth Qld, QLD

1/6 Truffle Festival (90 days) Canberra, ACT
3/6 Relish Fraser Coast (1 day) Fraser Coast, QLD
9/6 Sea & Vines Festival (4 days) Fleurieu Peninsula, SA
10/6 Winter Wine Weekend (3 days) Mornington Peninsula, VIC
10/6 Rutherglen Winery Walkabout (2 days) High Country, VIC
16/6 #DMP Harvest (9 days) Daylesford, VIC
25/6 Italian Wine & Food Festival (1 day) Melbourne



14/7 Taste the Tweed (10 days) North Coast, NSW
15/7 Regional Flavours (2 days) Brisbane, QLD
21/7 Winter Reds Weekend (TBA 3 days) Adelaide Hills, SA

27/8 Italian Wine & Food Festival (1 day) Sydney, NSW

2/9 Sample Food Festival Bangalow (1 day) North Coast, NSW
2/9 Barossa Gourmet Weekend (3 days) Barossa Valley, SA
9/9 Mudgee Wine & Food Festival (20 days) Country NSW, NSW 


7/10 Bendigo Wealth Uncorked (3 days TBA) Goldfields, VIC
13/10 Orange Wine Festival (10 days) Country NSW, NSW

TBA Toast to the Coast (2 days) Geelong, VIC
9/11 Taste of Melbourne (4 days) Melbourne, VIC
17/11 Margaret River Gourmet Escape (3 days) Margaret River, WA
TBA Rootstock (2 days) Sydney, NSW

26/12 The Taste of Tasmania (7 days) Hobart, TAS

Any favourites we've missed? Let us know below.

To book accommodation in these regions just search the state and region from the home page or contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for recommendations. We'll also be organising alluxia travel events for Noosa Food & Wine and Tasting Australia - register your interest now.

Image credit: Noosa Food & Wine, Barossa Vintage Festival, Winter Reds, Taste of Melbourne
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Mirage Whitsundays Review – Barefoot Luxury

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Airlie Beach is emerging as a luxury getaway, that won't break the bank and an alluring change from well-trodden destinations such as Noosa and Byron Bay.

Once considered the exclusive domain of backpackers, Airlie Beach is all grown up, with plenty of brand spanking new hotels, restaurants & experiences bringing some style to Airlie, making it an appealing luxury getaway to rival the Whitsunday islands.

Firstly, Airlie Beach is so accessible, just a 90-minute flight from Brisbane. Secondly, it's the perfect base to explore all the Whitsundays has to offer. Unlike the islands, all the major attractions depart from Airlie Beach, so you have your pick of activities to suit your style and budget from high octane adventure, exploring rainforests via Segway to the barefoot luxury of sailing away toward Whitehaven Beach, the choice is yours!


Luxury is no longer defined by formality, plush fabrics and gold taps; the new luxury is much more about experience and inspiring destinations. 'Barefoot luxury' is a term that conjures up white sandy beaches, turquoise seas, tropical weather, beautiful natural surroundings and essentially getting away from it all. Barefoot luxury is also the luxury of informality, no schedules, no deadlines the feeling of freedom and simplicity without sacrificing comfort. Bliss.

Barefoot luxury is exactly what you'll find onboard Lady Enid. Lady Enid recreates the classic age of yachting on this elegant timber 74ft Ketch. Included in your dreamy day trip is a pick up from your accommodation, morning tea, gourmet lunch as you glide through the Whitsundays with a stop at Whitehaven Beach and wine and cheese as you sail back at sunset. It's a magical experience and ideal for the more discerning traveller.


Back at Port of Airlie the crew transfer you back to your accommodation and we're here to check out Mirage Whitsundays. Mirage Whitsundays is an absolutely stunning resort overlooking the Coral Sea. It's a sprawling development, opening in stages with a range of spacious 1,2 and 3 bedroom villas available, some with private plunge pools and an extraordinary 4 bedroom Penthouse with its own private lap pool. The resort boasts two pools and is soon to open an onsite fine dining restaurant, day spa and gym to complete the luxe look.


We're in a ground floor apartment, which allows us to wander barefoot straight from the villa to the nearest pool and enjoy an invigorating dip without being disturbed by other guests. The apartments are big, I mean really big averaging from 170-250sqm for the apartments up to 430sqm in the deluxe villas. The styling is cool and contemporary with spacious open plan living and dining opening up to a large private balcony. The Master ensuite boasts a luxurious bathroom with oversize shower and deep soaking bath. There's free wifi and Foxtel to keep you entertained; I may never leave...


Depending on your location, expect lush garden views or panoramic ocean views from your luxury villa. The modern, fully equipped kitchen is a pleasure to cook in and while there is no coffee machine, you can get your caffeine fix at nearby café Fat Frog, which serves Campos Coffee.

Airlie's coming of age in the culinary stakes too. Enter Walter's Lounge, which opened onto the Airlie Beach dining scene a little over 18 months ago primarily as a cocktail bar but has garnered a legion of fans with its inventive cuisine and top notch service. Recently awarded a chef's hat by the Australian Good Food Guide, take the decision making away and opt for the 5 course-tasting menu ($50) with matched wines (add $35) for unbeatable value and quality.


With flights to Whitsunday Coast Airport starting from just $55 each way, luxurious accommodation at Mirage Whitsundays and sailing the Whitsundays on Lady Enid a barefoot luxury getaway to Airlie Beach is within easy reach.

Mirage Whitsundays
11 Altmann Avenue, Cannonvale QLD
Book Mirage Whitsundays here.

The writer was a guest of Mirage Whitsundays and Lady Enid.
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Rhapsody Resort Surfers Paradise Review

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The spotlight is firmly on the Gold Coast in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games, with new development and infrastructure projects improving the look and feel of the GC for visitors. One such new development is the brand new Rhapsody Resort at the northern end of Surfers Paradise.

Rhapsody Resort opened in early 2016 offering a step up in quality and style from traditional apartment hotels found on the Gold Coast. In the first instance, the check-in process is efficient and professional and we're greeted by a team of young enthusiastic staff kitted out in smart blue check uniforms, providing a welcoming arrival and full of helpful local knowledge.


Whizzing up to our room on the 24th floor reveals a stylish room with the Gold Coast stretching out in front of us in all its gold and aqua beauty.

The décor isn't Gold Coast kitsch, but modern contemporary city sleek, with plush carpet, geometric print rugs and sophisticated abstract prints adorning the walls. Our apartment is a One Bedroom Ocean View and is certainly spacious enough to settle in for a weeklong holiday extravaganza on the Gold Coast.



The kitchen is fully equipped so you can enjoy a longer stay with gas stovetop, oven, microwave, dishwasher but no coffee machine or minibar, so it's definitely a self-catering arrangement. In-room laundry facilities are handy if you're here for a longer stay too. The open plan, living and dining is stylish and comfortable and the bedroom even has a little study nook. Free wifi is a welcome bonus, with the ability to connect multiple devices, ideal for the social media junkie!

Head across the road and you'll find the Chapter & Verse Bar on the ground floor of the Marriott (pictured below) a pleasant spot for cocktails overlooking the pool and tropical surrounds. Using Rhapsody Resort as your base at the quieter end of Surfers Paradise, you can utilise the new G:link Gold Coast Light Rail to traverse the coast. A dose of retail therapy at the newly renovated Pacific Fair is essential while visiting the GC or you can zip down to other restaurants along the route for some variety during your stay.


Rhapsody Resort enjoys uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean and the views are certainly dazzling from our room, with the sun streaming through from the floor to ceiling windows or step out onto the balcony and feel the sea breeze. Just heaven.

If you book a room without ocean views, you won't be disappointed as guests can enjoy the guest lounge and outdoor area on level 27 as well as the rooftop. The pool is on the ground floor and while compact, looks fun for kids to splash about.


The rooftop on level 41 offers incredible views up and down the coast and is for the exclusive use of guests to relax and enjoy the private terrace in solitude. Even the gym affords spectacular views if you're that way inclined!

There's truly nothing better than falling asleep to sound of the ocean, making for a restful sleep in the comfortable cloud like beds. It's Queensland, so with no daylight saving, I'm up early for a stroll along the beach and watch the sun rise over the ocean for an invigorating way to start the day.



In search of a good coffee, I head to a hidden gem recommended to me by local Gold Coast travel blogger Annette from World Travel Tribe with the intriguing and quirky name Bumbles Café. It's off the main drag, and peacefully opposite Budds Beach. It's the kind of place you'd love to be your local, to leisurely sit with a coffee and devour the morning papers. With super cute eclectic interiors, there's plenty of space in the converted house with a series of rooms including the gorgeous 'blue room' (pictured below) as well as abundant outdoor dining on the pavement to choose from. I definitely long to return and linger longer.


The one bedroom apartment at Rhapsody Resort is perfect for solo travellers or couples and there are also studio apartments ideal for short stays or two bedroom apartments for families. Unlike most Gold Coast apartments a daily mini clean is included in your stay, just to keep things all nice and tidy while you're relaxing at the beach.

Rhapsody Resort is a welcome addition to the Gold Coast accommodation scene and a great choice for those looking for a stylish stay on the glitter strip.

Rhapsody Resort
3440 Gold Coast Highway, Surfers Paradise
Book at Rhapsody Resort here.

The writer was a guest of Rhapsody Resort. Image credit: IG @alluxia
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Bells at Killcare - A New Era

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Hot on the announcement Bells at Killcare was awarded 'Best Gourmet Getaway' by alluxia, comes the news that Stefano Manfredi has parted ways with Bells at Killcare after an amazing nine years together.

We dined at Manfredi at Bells on Christmas Eve and there was no hint of change, with food, service and ambience all on point. Manfredi's last official day was 31 December 2016, however we're expecting the high quality and standards to continue with the new brigade.


Executive Chef Dean Jones, who has worked alongside Manfredi for several years, will continue with the core Manfredi values of simplicity, elegance and sustainability, however intends to elevate the Italian dining experience.

While assuming the mantle of Executive Chef, Jones will share the title of Head Chef with Jose Saulog (ex-Glass Brasserie and Tetsuya's). We're also excited to hear that Bells at Killcare owners Karina and Brian Barry are planning to re-energise the restaurant in the first of a number of upgrades and expansions planned for this iconic retreat.


Bells at Killcare Restaurant & Bar with its coastal setting and extensive on-site produce gardens and orchards will continue to deliver the freshest seasonal produce to the plate with a renewed focus on seafood. Jones' favourite ingredient at the moment is bottarga (salt-cured mullet roe). A dish of sea urchin, butter, spaghetti and bottarga has already made its way to the menu in recent weeks (pictured above).

The menu will offer a timeless taste of Italy – both traditional and contemporary. There'll be the classics plus daily specials showcasing innovation and modern sensibilities but with a strong Italian emphasis.


The atmosphere at Bells at Killcare Restaurant & Bar will be unmistakably one of relaxed sophistication. The restaurant's polish will underscore the impressive level of style and laidback luxury you've come to expect of Bells. It's a new era at Bells at Killcare and we're excited to follow the journey – book us back in!

Book Bells at Killcare online with alluxia here, with instant confirmation and no booking fees.

Are you planning a stay at Bells at Killcare this year?

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Starhaven Retreat Review

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Ever wish you had friends with a stylish beach house overlooking the ocean, just moments to wineries and restaurants? Well now you do...

Arriving at Starhaven Retreat on the Victoria's Bellarine Peninsula, you're warmly welcomed by hosts Ian and Rob and into a haven that's like no other bed & breakfast you're likely to experience.

Just 90 minutes from Melbourne, but feeling a million miles away; Starhaven Retreat looms large in the residential street opposite Half Moon Bay. Grand is the right word for it and it's not surprising to learn the house was featured on Season One of Grand Designs Australia. The impressive architectural elements and design make the most of the seaside location.


There are 5 rooms at Starhaven Retreat including the indulgent Haven Suite, which boasts a private spa with infinity bath, two person steam shower, private lounge with fireplace and balcony, ideal for a romantic getaway or special occasion. All rooms are incredibly private, with your own secure coded entry and the retreat is adults only, so you won't be disturbed by little ones.

I'm booked into a Star Suite a spacious room with king bed, free wifi, 3D LED flatscreen TV, on demand movies via Apple TV, sitting area and private balcony. The modern, private en-suite is also stocked with L'Occitane amenities and there are fluffy bathrobes to relax in during your stay. The room also features a walk-in-wardrobe, mini-bar fridge, tea & coffee making facilities and complimentary bottled water. The beds are exceptionally good quality; it was like sleeping on a cloud. I may never leave...


Breakfast is the main event, a chance to connect with fellow travellers and chat with your hosts over a scrumptious meal. There's a continental breakfast buffet, displaying a selection of fruits, cereals to choose from and hot breakfast cooked to order. With all the special touches, it's clear to see Ian and Rob's extensive hospitality experience shine through.

Lazily lift access takes you between the three floors of Starhaven Retreat and this B&B offers the lot! On the lower level you'll find a jet stream swim spa and sauna, bar lounge adjacent to a "Gold Class" style 15-seat cinema with starlit ceiling and a wide range of movies to choose from. I opt for a glass of local wine and settle in for a chat with my amiable hosts as they share local tips and recommendations about the region.


The Bellarine Peninsula boasts a spectacular coastline and some award-winning wineries making it the perfect destination for a mini-break. Just 10 minutes drive from Starhaven Retreat you'll find Jack Rabbit Vineyard, Terindah Estate and Bellarine Estate. Jack Rabbit Vineyard is a must visit destination on the Bellarine with unrivalled views across the bay to Geelong. In addition to cellar door wine tasting, there is a café, restaurant and gourmet gift store.


A further 20 minutes and you'll arrive at Geelong, a city with soul and character. My favourite discovery was Little Malop St, a cool laneway filled with boutiques, cafes and hipster hangouts. Not to be missed is a visit to Geelong Cellar Door, a small wine bar specialising in local wines and charcuterie boards to die for! Set in a beautifully restored corner building it feels like New York meets Paris with soaring high ceilings, bentwood chairs, leather Chesterfield couches to sink into and a wall of wine. Friendly and knowledgeable staff can guide you through the vast selection and takeaway sales are available too.


Continue your exploration by picking up a copy of the Bellarine Taste Trail, a guide to over 40 unique food and wine destinations including farmgate producers, provedores, boutique wineries, beer and ciders and award-winning cafes and restaurants.


Back at Starhaven, the retreat has plenty of quiet sitting areas to curl up with a good book as well as a billiard table if you're feeling more competitive. A stay at Starhaven Retreat is full of charm and style with plenty on offer in the region to discover and explore. We're definitely planning a return visit to visit our friends and their fabulous beach house.

Starhaven Retreat
13 Calimo Place, Indented Head, Bellarine Peninsula VIC 3223
Book at Starhaven Retreat here.


The writer was a guest of Starhaven Retreat.
Image credit: Starhaven, IG @alluxia
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Weekend Drinks: Frosé

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It's the hottest cocktail right now – Frosé! We're not sure what the French would say about turning their precious Rosé into a slushie, but in the heat of Australian summer, it sounds like a delightful idea!

By simply using a blender and combining rosé with fruit, sugar and ice you have yourself a frozen cocktail that's fast becoming the symbol of summer.

Frosé (Frozen Rosé)

Choose a full-flavored, full-bodied, dark-coloured rosé for freezing. It will lose some of its colour and will be a bit diluted after freezing and blending; you want something that can hold its own.


1 x 750 ml bottle hearty, bold rosé (such as a Pinot Noir or Merlot rosé)
½ cup sugar
250g strawberries, hulled, quartered
75ml fresh lemon juice

Pour rosé into a 13x9" pan and freeze until almost solid (it won't completely solidify due to the alcohol), at least 6 hours.

Meanwhile, bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan; cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add strawberries, remove from heat, and let sit 30 minutes to infuse syrup with strawberry flavour. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl (do not press on solids); cover and chill until cold, about 30 minutes.

Scrape rosé into a blender. Add lemon juice, 100ml strawberry syrup, and 1 cup crushed ice and purée until smooth. Transfer blender jar to freezer and freeze until frosé is thickened (aim for milkshake consistency), 25–35 minutes.

Blend again until frosé is slushy. Divide among glasses.

Do Ahead: Rosé can be frozen 1 week ahead.

Source: bonappetit Image credit: IG@Ironchefshellie
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What’s New on Alluxia – Summer 2017

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If your New Year's resolution is for more travel and adventure, then we have the inspiration for you! While school holidays are still underway, for many it's back to work and dreaming of your next getaway. Avoid the post-holiday blues by planning your next escape.

As we kick off the New Year, it's time to reflect on all our new and noteworthy additions that our team have been busily curating for you. From luxury beach houses in Byron Bay to the secluded hideaways in the Dandenong Ranges we've found plenty of unique stays to surprise and delight even the most discerning of travellers.

Explore the collection in full confidence that alluxia independently verifies the properties listed for their quality and inspect the properties to ensure our handpicked collection is the best of the best in each region of Australia for you.

Here's our latest finds:


Melbourne, VIC
Always exciting and rich in culture and cuisine...
381 Cremorne – new apartment style inner-city hotel close to sporting venues.

Great Ocean Road, VIC
Put GOR on your bucket list and get cruising.
Alkina Lodge – stunning set of secluded luxury lodges (pictured above)

Geelong & Bellarine, VIC
Discover this stunning region a truly wonderful emerging food & wine destination.
Avalon Guesthouse – beautifully appointed holiday house in Geelong.
Starhaven Retreat – a bed and breakfast like no other.


Yarra Valley & Dandenongs, VIC
In between wine tasting in the Yarra Valley, we found some great accommodation!
The Studio – stylish hideaway with thoughtful touches, you won't want to leave (pictured above).
Allara House – walk to Four Pillars Gin and Healesville High Street.
The Blackwood – stylish studio in Sassafras.
Misty Woods Retreat – hip holiday house in Olinda.

Daylesford, VIC
Take a break and relax in spa country.
Birchgrove in Daylesford – luxury holiday house ideal for group getaways
Saltus Luxury Accommodation – ideal for cosy, romantic getaways.
Blue Cliffs Retreat – relax and unwind at these self-contained villas.
Briars Cottage – comfortable and convenient villas in Hepburn Springs 


Byron Bay, NSW
Byron Bay remains a coastal cool favourite with the young and old.
Toraja Luxury – luxury holiday house set in the hills overlooking the ocean (pictured above).
Koko's Beach House – luxury villas close to all the action.
Blue Green House – peaceful holiday house just moments to Newrybar.

Blue Mountains, NSW
A favourite getaway with Sydneysiders.
Lilianfels – this regal boutique hotel excels in style and service.
Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant – ideal for romantic getaways with picture perfect views.

Central Coast, NSW
Just an hour from Sydney, make your weekend escape to the Central Coast.
Avoca Valley B&B – French Provincial style on the Central Coast.
Star of the Sea Resort – spacious, luxurious apartments in the heart of Terrigal.

Canberra, ACT
Head to our nation's capital for arts and culture and world class attractions.
Little National Hotel – try this modern and luxurious boutique hotel.


Sunshine Coast, QLD
We continue to seek luxury accommodation in the holiday hot spot.
Nairana Rest – beautiful holiday house close to Hastings Street.
The Sun Pad – stunning luxury Sunrise Beach holiday house (pictured above).
The View Beach House – grand holiday house at Castaways Beach, it's pet friendly too.

Brisbane, QLD
New hotels continue to open in this vibrant city.
Menso at South Bank – new apartment style hotel close to South Bank attractions.


Gladstone region, QLD
Alinghi Beach House – luxurious beach house at Agnes Water (pictured above).

Whitsundays, QLD
Make your tropical escape to the Whitsundays in 2017!
Pepperberry House – Luxury holiday house ideal for group getaways.
One Oceanview – a unique boutique hotel with spectacular views.


Adelaide Hills, SA
Head for the hills for spectacular scenery and fine wines.
5 Rooms at The Stirling – Fabulous boutique hotel above a country pub (pictured above).

Fleurieu Peninsula, SA
Where the sea meets the vines.
Sellicks Chills – Escape to luxury in a self-contained villa surrounded by vines.


Perth, WA
Head west to this vibrant city!
COMO The Treasury – one of the most exciting new boutique hotels to emerge in Australia (pictured above).

Freemantle, WA
Visit Freemantle, WA's popular port city rich in arts and culture.
The Lodging – unique and on trend boutique accommodation.

Broome, WA
Escape to Broome, the ultimate beach resort town in Australia's Kimberley region.
Mangrove Hotel – laze poolside with a cocktail, need we say more?

Pack your bags and go! Which hotel or holiday house is going straight on your "must visit" list?

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Marina Shores Review

Posted on in Check In: Review of the Month


Airlie Beach once considered the exclusive domain of backpackers is emerging as a luxury getaway to rival the islands. Airlie is so accessible, with direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane it's the perfect base to explore all the Whitsundays has to offer. Unlike the islands, all the major attractions depart from Airlie Beach, so you have your pick of the adventure activities.

Arriving at our apartment at Marina Shores, I'm overcome by the jaw-dropping views. Panoramic water views dotted with sailing boats on the horizon are mesmerising. Yes, this will do nicely.


The spacious apartment boasts an upper level sun deck and on the main level open plan lounge, dining and kitchen area opening out to a large tiled private balcony to further enjoy the breathtaking Whitsunday views. The private balcony is the ideal spot for sunset drinks, just be careful of the cheeky cockatoos that are rather keen to join you!

Our two bedroom apartment is well equipped for an extended stay with full kitchen, including oven, microwave and Nespresso machine, so you can easily settle in lazily for days. Unlike many serviced apartments, Marina Shores takes it up a notch providing guests with a small minibar of essentials at very reasonable prices.



Marina Shores has a range of room types to suit any group size from one to four bedrooms with a choice of an ocean, marina or garden view. There's an onsite pool surrounded by lush gardens and free undercover parking. It's within walking distance of restaurants at Abell Point Marina or great local hidden gem Fat Frog Café.

The service at Marina Shores is friendly and welcoming with Manager Rowena offering local knowledge, recommendations and able to book tours & attractions for you. Marina Shores embraces technology with great features such as SMS confirmations and updates on arrival including sending your free WiFi passwords.



Airlie's coming of age in the culinary stakes too. Enter Walter's Lounge, which opened onto the Airlie Beach dining scene a little over 18 months ago primarily as a cocktail bar but has garnered a legion of fans with its inventive cuisine and top notch service. Owner Heath is also the resident bartender so I'm surprised there isn't an extensive cocktail menu, instead there is a list of specials scrawled on the wall, which changes regularly and I suspect he could shake & stir anything you wished to request. For a special occasion we recommend you indulge in Walter's Lounge's shared tasting menu with matched wines for just $85 per person. The food is incredible and Walter's Lounge has recently been recognised with an AGFG Chef's Hat.


If you're planning a tropical escape this year, head to the Whitsundays for endless blue skies, sunshine and adventure. Marina Shores is a great base to explore all that this magical region has to offer.

At Marina Shores
159 Shingley Drive, Airlie Beach Whitsundays QLD 4802
Book at Marina Shores here.

The writer was a guest of Marina Shores. 
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Insiders Guide: Discover Brisbane with The Urban List Founder

Posted on in A List: Insiders Guide

You all know The Urban List, the curated guide to your life in the city; trusted recommendations of where to eat, drink, shop & more. A Brisbane success story, The Urban List started in 2011 and has since expanded to include Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Auckland. We asked founder, Susannah George her favourite tips for exploring Brisbane... b2ap3_thumbnail_susannah-collage.jpg

alluxia: What do you love most about living in Brisbane?

Susannah: Our home! And the fact that our families are less than 10 minutes away. We had a little boy this year and New Farm has been wonderful to us! River walks, park hangs and great coffee all at our finger tips. (The coffee part has been particularly necessary!)

The restaurant that best shows off your city...

Bar Alto – consistently excellent, fresh Italian and warm, welcoming service. Sitting outside on the deck, overlooking the river is my favourite way to spend a Sunday.

When friends are in town I take them for a drink at...

Gerard's Bar

Couples wanting a romantic dinner for two should consider...

Urbane – a Brisbane institution that just gets better every year!


The best breakfast spot is...

Kin & Co on Macquarie Street, Newstead – everything is presented so beautifully, and it's run by a family which brings a really authentic dynamic to everything they do.

The best coffee can be found at...

Jamie's Espresso on Robertson.

For the perfect gift or momento, I'd recommend shopping at...

camargue on James Street (for the girls) and Jocelyn's Provisions (for edible treats for everyone).

The best markets can be explored at...

The Powerhouse every Saturday morning – don't miss the Portuguese custard tarts!


For great art and culture...

IMA below the Judith Wright Centre for rising contemporary art stars, Milani Gallery in Woolloongabba for curated showings of Australia's top political artists, and GOMA for the big hitters. If you can get tickets to the Queensland Ballet, do! They're incredible!

The best free activity in the city is...

Hiking the fire trails up Mt Coot-tha or heading to Noosa for a walk through the National Park to Hell's Gates.

If it's raining...

Work your way through the galleries above, along with Edwina Corlette, Phillip Bacon and Jan Murphy – all on Brunswick Street.

What's the "Must See" attraction in Brisbane...

The river – walking the loop from New Farm, around the city, across to South Bank and under the Kangaroo Point cliffs is one of my favourite things to do. (And of course, after 8kms you're entitled to feast.)


Brisbane's best kept secret...

I don't know if it's a secret, but for unbelievable Chinese tucked away in the suburbs, head to Sichuan Bang Bang.

Your favourite weekend getaway?

The Southern Beaches of the GC so my wife can surf and I can walk for kilometres along the sand (now, with Baby Bjorn!)

Inspired to explore Brisbane? Browse our collection of Brisbane accommodation and book a getaway to this thriving city, rich in culture, food and natural beauty.

Where are your favourite places to eat, drink, stay & see in Brisbane?

Image credit: Alto, Kin+Co, SBB

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Alluxia’s Top 5 Summer Holiday Reads

Posted on in Roundup: Top 5, Top 10


The best way to enjoy the magical time between Christmas and New Year is to lose yourself in a good book and let time stand still. With a long hot summer ahead, pack these books and enjoy the summer holidays and let the world around you slow down and take a breath.

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihar
A Little Life by American novelist Hanya Yanagihar is by no means a light summer read, but at over 700 pages, it's a good chance to fall into this epic novel uninterrupted. A Little Life follows the lives of four University classmates, Jude, Willem, Malcolm and JB across decades, slowly revealing history and secrets. Despite difficult content at times, A Little Life is a memorable and heartbreaking story beautifully written.

Goodwood – Holly Throsby
Loved this debut novel by Australian musician and songwriter, Holly Throsby. Set in the small town of Goodwood, the book is filled with beautifully painted characters. The story is told by Jean, who is on the verge of adulthood and finding her true self and revolves around the disappearance of two people from the quiet rural town. What resonated most wasn't the story itself, but how Holly Throsby told the story, with humour, beautiful descriptions and great characters.

The Dry – Jane Harper
This highly acclaimed book is still on our summer reading list, a crime novel that shines a light on the darkest corner of our sunburnt country. Another stunning debut novel by an Australian writer, thumbs up for Australian fiction!

The Best of Adam Sharp – Graeme Simsion
We loved 'The Rosie Project' series and were keen to read Graeme Simison's latest novel. It's a departure from the Rosie novels with 'The Best of Adam Sharp' exploring the themes of love, music and coming to terms with the past, although still told from a male perspective. There's a playlist at the back of the book if you'd like a soundtrack to your summer reads.

Paris is always a Good Idea – Nicolas Barreau
A light summer read, where you can escape to the beauty and romance of Paris. 'Paris is always a good idea' follows Rosalie Laurent, the proud owner of Luna Luna, a little post-card shop in St. Germain. Her specialty is hand painted 'wishing cards', which draws the attention of a successful children's book author Max Marchais who asks her to illustrate his next book. It's so easy to daydream and fall in love with the characters and beauty of Parisian life in 'Paris is always a good idea'.


You can read more of our holiday reading recommendations here and here and follow on Instagram with hashtag #alluxiareads.

What are you reading this summer?

Image: Pinterest, IG @alluxia

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Alluxia’s 2016 Awards

Posted on in Roundup: Top 5, Top 10

The Alluxia Awards are a chance to shine a spotlight on some of the most incredible escapes and celebrate the unique, special and most stylish places to stay in Australia.

We've personally inspected hundreds of holiday houses and boutique hotels this year, verifying for quality to ensure the alluxia collection includes Australia's best.


Best Regional Getaway:
Winner: Yarra Valley - Wingspread
Yarra Valley is such a winner of a destination, just one hour from Melbourne you can be immersed in wine country enjoying cellar door experiences, incredible dining and picturesque surrounds. We loved staying at Wingspread earlier this year, a brilliant two bedroom cottage, perfect in summer or winter with charming hosts and plenty of quality inclusions it's a great base to explore the Yarra Valley region.
Runner Up: Berry – Mount Hay Retreat
Browse our handpicked collection of rural retreats and plan your regional getaway.


Best City Break:
Winner: Ovolo Woolloomooloo
This boutique hotel in Sydney continues to impress us every time we stay. Sure it has a funky fit out, generously includes the minibar and a host of extras but the real winner is the service. Exceptional staff make for a truly memorable stay at Ovolo Woolloomooloo.
Runner Up: The New Inchcolm Hotel & Suites
Browse our handpicked collection of city breaks.


Best Coastal Cool Getaway:
Winner: Bujerum Apartments, Burleigh Heads
Holidaying in Burleigh offers the quintessential Aussie beach holiday experience. Burleigh is so hot right now with great restaurants, cafes and boutiques springing up, yet retaining an endless summer vibe. Bujerum Apartments offer breezy coastal cool style right opposite the beach.
Runner Up: at Marina Shores Airlie Beach
Browse our collection of coastal getaways and make your escape to luxury.


Best Winter Getaway:
Winner: Twilight Cottage, Dandenong Ranges
Twilight Cottage ticks all the boxes for a cosy winter getaway. Real wood burning fireplace, cosy cottage with comfortable and stylish décor, spa bath, gourmet breakfast hamper, homemade goodies and even gourmet frozen meals if you can't tear yourself away. What more could you want?
Runner Up: Glass on Glasshouse, Sunshine Coast Hinterland
Browse our collection of winter getaways.

Best Romantic Getaway:
Winner: Pumphouse Point, Lake St Clair
This unique boutique hotel needs to be top of your bucket list for next year! The location is awe-inspiring, the rooms magnificent, the scenery breathtaking – just go.
Runner Up: Rocky Hills Retreat
Browse our full collection of romantic getaways and escape to luxury.


Best Girls' Getaway:
Winner: Newrybar Downs, Byron Bay
This hidden gem in the Byron Bay hinterland has room for everyone. Lounge by the pool by day and cook up a feast in the designer kitchen by night for a memorable and luxurious girl's getaway.
Runner Up: Noosa Residences, Sunshine Coast
Browse our full collection of girls' getaways and gather your friends!


Best Luxe for Less Escape:
Winner: 57 Hotel, Sydney
Sydney accommodation for under $200 can still be found at 57 Hotel Sydney. Sure the rooms may be compact, but you have the whole, amazing city out there to explore! Great rates don't end there; your rate includes free WiFi, express breakfast and free local phone calls.
Runner Up: Ridgemill Escape Stanthorpe
Browse our luxe for less collection and save.


Best Newcomer:
Winner: Elements of Byron
Elements of Byron have made an impressive splash onto the Australia hotel scene, already becoming a firm favourite with alluxia guests. Luxurious villas, morning yoga, complimentary breakfast and that incredible pool with overhanging swing chairs make it the perfect choice for a beach getaway. The good news is the resort will launch more luxurious villas in 2017, watch this space!
Runner Up: Heart Hotel & Gallery, Whitsundays


Best Gourmet Getaway:
Winner: Bells at Killcare, Central Coast
There is some stiff competition in this category, with many of our favourite boutique hotels and retreats offering some impressive destination restaurants. However, the gong goes to Bells at Killcare with their destination restaurant for consistently offering a high quality dining experience with a contemporary coastal setting.
Runner Up: Spicers Peak Lodge, Scenic Rim


Best Wine Weekend
Winner: Polperro Villas, Mornington Peninsula
There's nothing better than staying at a vineyard, surrounded by rolling hills of vines and strolling back from the restaurant to your luxurious villa for a nightcap.
Runner Up: Sellicks Chills, Fleurieu Peninsula
Browse our collection of holiday houses and hotels that are perfect for a wine weekend.


Best Pet Friendly Accommodation:
Winner: Alure Stanthorpe, Granite Belt
Alure Stanthorpe aren't just pet friendly; they go the extra mile to spoil your pampered pooch. For an additional $50 per pet they'll receive their own bathrobe, plush cocoon bed, food and water bowls, gift bag of toiletries and gourmet treats and a list of pet-friendly attractions and activities.
Runner Up: Thalia Haven, East Coast
Browse our handpicked collection of Pet-Friendly Accommodation.


Best Family Fun Holiday:
Winner: Rumba Resort, Caloundra
Caloundra is a great destination for families and Rumba has room for the whole family with spacious apartments and outdoor pools to keep the kids entertained.
Runner Up: A Summer Cottage, Byron Bay
Browse our family friendly accommodation options and book well in advance to secure school holiday accommodation.


Best Spa Getaway:
Winner: Gaia Retreat & Spa
Rejuvenate mind, body and soul at Gaia Retreat in the Byron Bay Hinterland. The incredible day spa boasts 14 treatment rooms with over 35 expert healers and therapists you'll feel Zen in no time.
Runner Up: Saltus Luxury Retreat, Hepburn Springs

Do you agree? Has your favourite getaway made the list? We'd love to hear from you!

You Might Also Like: Best of Travel 2015


Alluxia visits and inspects properties throughout the year and in some cases are hosted by the operator. Awards have been independently determined by alluxia based on stays, site inspections and experience in 2016.


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Top 10 for 2016

Posted on in Roundup: Top 5, Top 10


How is it Christmas already? Where did 2016 go, but aren't we quietly happy that it's going! Do you feel that way too?

What a year it's been. This year, alluxia celebrated 4 years of delivering luxury holidays and inspiration to style conscious travellers. This year we travelled to dozens of destinations around Australia unearthing hidden gems for you to enjoy and discover. We've added over 100 new luxury holiday houses and boutique hotels for you to love and book, all independently verified or inspected to ensure quality for our discerning travellers.

We celebrated our birthday with a brilliant prize thanks to Elements of Byron and David Lawrence. This kickstarted a fabulous partnership with David Lawrence, which will continue into this space! This partnership culminated in a photo shoot with the stunning Ovolo Woolloomooloo as the backdrop. Way out of my comfort zone, but such a fun experience!

Thanks for following and engaging on social media – we love it! We started the hashtag #luxuryfound so that our followers can share their travel inspiration, follow along!

In September, we attended Luxperience, our annual pilgrimage to discover what's and what's hot in luxury and experiential travel. We also attended Problogger, networking with inspiring bloggers and hearing the latest in technology, influencer marketing and social.

We hosted some great bloggers at our handpicked luxury properties including BabyMac at Long Weekend Retreat, Little Miss Melbourne at Alex Perry Hotel & Apartments, Sarah Wilson at Bells at Killcare to name a few.

To wrap up 2016, here is the Top 10 most popular stories:

10. Adelaide Hills Winter Reds Weekend

9. Berry Travel Guide

8. Review Wingspread Yarra Valley

7. Alluxia's Best of 2015

6. Insiders Guide to Sydney with Olivia Ruello

5. Reef House Palm Cove Review

4. Insiders Guide to Brisbane with the Concierge Collective

3. Gwinganna vs Gaia

2. Open that Bottle Night

1. Hot New Hotel Openings in 2016

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Insiders Guide: Southern Highlands with BabyMac

Posted on in A List: Insiders Guide

We take 5 with the wonderful and hilarious Beth Macdonald aka BabyMac. Beth's popular blog is all about motherhood, living in the Southern Highlands and ending the week with Prosecco! Here's Beth's local guide to the Southern Highlands...


alluxia: What do you love most about living in the Southern Highlands?

Beth: So much! The gorgeous climate which brings actual seasons filled with beautiful cold climate garden and flowers. The picturesque landscape filled with wonderful produce and rich farmland and of course the amazing shopping and food. I can't name just one!

The restaurant that best shows off your region...

Bistro Officina is doing some amazing stuff with local produce, as does Biota.

When friends are in town I take them for a drink at...

The Burrawang Hotel of course!

Couples wanting a romantic dinner for two should consider...

Having kids we don't get out for dinner much but fireside for a long lunch at Bendooley Estate doesn't get much better!


The best breakfast spot is...

Ludo in Bowral.

The best coffee can be found at...

Burrawang General Store or Highlands Merchant...Allpress of course!

The best place to dine with kids is...

Bernie's Diner in Moss Vale – never disappoints big or little ones!

For the perfect gift or momento, I'd recommend shopping at...

Made by Others Moss Vale – Anna and Ursula have such a great collection always in their gorgeous store.


The best markets can be explored at...

Moss Vale Farmers Markets Railway Street Thursdays 11am-2pm

For great art and culture...

Sculpture at Hillview annually or any of the great events held at Wombat Hollow in Kangaloon.

The best free activity in the region is...

A trip to Belmore Falls.

If it's raining...

Find a fireplace and a glass of red and settle in! That or a spot of shopping at Dirty Janes in Bowral.


What's the "Must See" attraction in the Southern Highlands...

Any of the Tourist Drives are well worth a look – so pretty! My favourite is the drive through Kangaloon to Robertson.

The Southern Highlands best kept secret...

Too many new places to mention – I LOVE Dirty Janes market though for cheap vintage finds.

Your favourite weekend getaway?

Any time spent away with friends or family – booking a house near the coast is always a treat for us.

Inspired to explore the Southern Highlands? Browse our collection of Southern Highlands accommodation and book a getaway to this picturesque region.

Where are your favourite places to eat, drink, stay & see in the Southern Highlands?

Image credit: BabyMac, Highlands Merchant, Bendooley Estate, Made by Others, Alluxia 




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Australia’s Best Beach?

Posted on in Roundup: Top 5, Top 10


Cossies Beach has been named Australia's best beach by Tourism Australia's Aquatic and Coastal Ambassador and 'beach expert' Brad Farmer for the 2017 list detailing the country's most stunning beaches.

But where is this perfect piece of paradise I hear you ask? Cossies Beach is located on the Cocos Keeling Islands in the Indian Ocean and is considered Australia's most remote beach. In fact, prior to Mr Farmer's visit, the beach did not even have a name and was simply referred to as Direction Island, or DI by locals. Accessible via a 4 ½ hour flight from Perth and technically considered an international flight, Cossies Beach is closer to Jakarta than Perth, making the logistics of your escape to paradise extremely challenging, but perhaps that's why it's so coveted.

While we don't know what you have to do to become a 'beach expert' we'd certainly love the job! Although the team of Mr Farmer and his colleague Professor Andy Short spent the past five months compiling Australia's Best Beaches 2017, applying a raft of independent and scientific criteria before crowning Cossies "as near perfect as a beach can be."

Australia has 11,761 beaches along nearly 60,000km of coastline and with over 90% of us living on Australia's coastline, our beaches are an important part of our way of life.

The Top 20 Australian Beaches 2017:
1. Cossies Beach, Cocos Keeling Island INDIAN OCEAN
2. Nudy Beach, Fitzroy Island QLD
3. Moonee Beach, Coffs Coast NSW
4. Turquoise Bay, Coral Coast WA
5. Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast QLD
6. Maslin Beach, Adelaide SA
7. Dolly Beach, Christmas Island INDIAN OCEAN
8. Shelly Beach, Nambucca Coast NSW
9. Boat Harbour Beach, North West Coast TAS
10. Apollo Bay, Great Ocean Road VIC
11. Horseshoe Bay Beach, Capricorn Coast QLD
12. Garie Beach, Sydney NSW
13. Merewether Beach, Newcastle NSW
14. Long Beach, Great Keppel Island QLD
15. Hawks Nest, Myall Coast NSW
16. Camp Cove, Sydney NSW
17. Broken Head Beach, Byron Bay NSW
18. Narrawallee Beach, Shoalhaven NSW
19. Dynamite Bay, Coral Coast WA
20. Ellis Beach, Far North Queensland QLD

Does this list inspire you to travel and visit some more remote locations? Start planning and browse our handpicked collection of coastal cool accommodation here.


For me, my favourite beach is Shoal Bay in pristine Port Stephens NSW. It's quiet, easily accessible and the gentle waves beckon you in for a dip, also making it safe and great for families. Perhaps part of my love for Shoal Bay comes down to nostalgia, happy memories of annual family holidays spent at the beach, can't you tell from our smiling faces circa 1980! In the background you can just make out the old Shoal Bay Country Club, now transformed and available to book here.

Did your favourite make the cut? Which is your favourite beach in Australia and why?

Photo: Rik Soderlund
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Review Twilight Cottage Dandenong Ranges

Posted on in Check In: Review of the Month


It's pouring with rain, I've just carefully navigated through a severe weather event from Yarra Valley to the Dandenong Ranges and it's cold & dark. I pull up at my accommodation for the night and it's like a mirage, the most cosy, warm and inviting sight you ever did see with fairytale street appeal.

The charming owner Peta, provides the warmest of welcomes and has already anticipated my arrival with lights blazing and heating the cottage, it's a welcome sight. As I reluctantly ask where I should venture out in the wet to track down some dinner, Peta informs me there are gourmet meals already prepared in the freezer. Best news I've ever heard!


Thawing out, I take in the magnificent surrounds. Twilight Cottage is impeccably styled, straddling that country charm appeal perfectly without falling into clichéd lacey, doily territory. Instead Peta has styled the cottage with the help of interior designer Justin Bishop in a neutral colour scheme with quality furnishings.


The cottage makes a romantic escape for two with a sweet little table and chair set in the bay window and comfortable couch in front of the fireplace to complete the cosy lounge room. The compact kitchen has every conceivable inclusion including stove, cooktop, microwave and coffee machine. From the gourmet meal stash I opt for the Angus Beef Stroganoff, which only takes moments to reheat before I'm enjoying hot, gourmet, comfort food. Bliss.


Down a few stairs is the sunken bedroom with corner spa bath. The skylight above allows you to soak in the spa and gaze at the stars above. Meanwhile, the king size bed is like a cloud, draped in luxurious linen and stuffed with cushions and even an electric blanket to keep you warm during the cooler nights.


At Twilight Cottage, it's all about the thoughtful touches including turn down chocolates, umbrellas and warm jackets to borrow during your stay, fresh flowers filling the cottage, water jug by the bed and complimentary homemade chocolate brownies to enjoy with a soothing tea. It's these extra touches that make for memorable moments, beyond the first class facilities and inclusions.


Breakfast is included in your stay and it's a beautifully presented continental hamper prepared by Sassafras Providore including freshly baked bread, cereal, preserves and sufficient for two days of indulgence.

Dandenong Ranges is a sleepy hillside town popular for cosy romantic getaways or getting back to nature. Despite the restful nature of the region, it's pleasing to see some new additions breathing new life into the destination.


Celebrated chef Shannon Bennett has a rather extraordinary vision to restore an iconic mansion and estate to create a dining destination and boutique hotel in the Dandenong Ranges called Burnham Beeches. Watch this space on the transformation into a luxury retreat, however the first phase to open is the Piggery Café and Bakery. It's bringing a bit of hipster to the hills, serving burgers (pictured above) and baked goods to a hungry audience. Outside a slew of tables look out to lawn bowls, croquet and bocce pitches.

If you do decide to leave the warm haven of Twilight Cottage, try Coonara Springs Restaurant for a special occasion dining experience. Recently reopened after an extensive refurbishment, it ticks all the boxes for a Dandenong Ranges restaurant including open fireplace, gorgeous gardens, restored heritage façade, stunning views and quality cuisine.

Dandenong Ranges is an ideal romantic getaway less than 1 hour from Melbourne and within easy drive to Yarra Valley wine country. Twilight Cottage is a fairytale cottage, thoughtfully appointed to ensure you have a magical stay.

Twilight Cottage
9 Monash Avenue, Olinda
Book Twilight Cottage here.


Have you been to the Dandenong Ranges recently? What were your favourite things to see and do in the region?

The writer was the guest of Twilight Cottage.
Image credit IG @alluxia
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