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09
Jun

Review Yarra Valley Cottage Wingspread

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Ever wish you had friends with a stylish country estate with a separate Guesthouse all of your very own to enjoy? Well now you do! I'm sitting at the kitchen bench of Wingspread's main house sipping a gorgeous local Toolangi Pinot Noir and chatting with the owner Andrew while he prepares some canapés for us to devour – did I mention we just met 10 minutes ago?

That's the kind of warm welcome and country hospitality you can expect from a stay at Wingspread. Wingspread is the brainchild of Andrew & Keith, a Melbourne couple who were seeking a tree change to the Yarra Valley and found the perfect acreage overlooking the rolling hills of Mt Tanglefoot ranges.

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The pair slowly refurbished the original cottage and began construction of their dream home. The couple now live onsite in the main house separated from the cottage by an established garden and ready to welcome friends, family and guests to their patch of paradise.

Arriving at Wingspread feels like entering an exclusive retreat, the country gates emblazoned with the Wingspread moniker identify you've indeed arrived at the right place and with a few magic words, presto the automatic gates allow you entry to this hillside haven.

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Andrew welcomes me to Wingspread and provides a tour of the cottage, which is all ready for my arrival. I'm then graciously invited to join my charming hosts for a sunset drink at the main house. Andrew does a fantastic job as host, a world away from his highflying accounting career, accompanied by Keith who is more in his comfort zone given his previous hotel background and clearly thrives on providing hospitality to guests.

The main house, which is sadly not available for rent is however incredible. Designed with inspiration from architect Frank Lloyd Wright and has been featured in Grand Designs Magazine for good reason.

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On this trip, I'm travelling solo, so am pleased to be welcomed into their home for some warm hospitality, great wine, good food and sparkling company. I'm sure it would be a different story if you were on a romantic getaway and no doubt the hosts would identify which guests are keen for wine chats and who'd prefer to be left alone and retreat to the cottage.

Entry to the cottage is via the conservatory, a great space that would be ideal in the warmer months, filled with sofas and sun beds spilling out to the deck.

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Inside the cottage, the kitchen is well stocked with everything you could possibly need for your getaway. There are plans to renovate the kitchen, which will give the whole cottage a more luxurious finish, however the current kitchen is perfectly presentable and functional.

The dining area, in a leafy corner off the kitchen has plenty of windows to let in natural light and provide views of the well-maintained gardens. I love the corrugated iron feature, giving the cottage a rustic luxe feel.

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The open plan design leads to the lounge area, which has a real wood-burning fireplace as its feature. Leading out further is the back terrace, offering yet another peaceful space to rest with outdoor setting and BBQ.

Wingspread cottage has two bedrooms, each with queen size beds and luxury bed linen with bright Marimekko accents. Turndown chocolates are a nice touch and are from nearby Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, which is worth a visit.

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Breakfast is a quality affair, with generous gourmet provisions including orange juice, milk, local jam, fresh bread and incredible local strawberries. The K&B Muesli is so delicious I'm kicking myself for not heading back to the store to purchase a take home pack.

Toolangi is located about 20 minutes from Healesville and is therefore an easy base to access the local shops, cafes and wineries, however you may elect just to stay in for the evening given the cosy surrounds and fully equipped kitchen. I took the cosy option and stopped by earlier in the day at Healesville Kitchen and Butcher (K&B) and purchased a pre-prepared lasagne that only required simple reheating in the oven. It was the most marvellous idea, as the lasagne was rich & luxurious and was the perfect accompaniment to a local Pinot Noir fireside for a wintery night in.

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There is however much to do and enjoy in the Yarra Valley and Wingspread is a great base to explore the region. A few dining options to check out include new kid on the block Alchemy (pictured above), an ideal brunch spot. Alchemy has a great vibe, cool tunes (digging Benobo) and their chilli scrambled eggs were sensational. Mocha & Lime is a homestyle, rustic café that is also a great brunch spot. On our recent visit I dropped by and had a delicious mushroom soup that was warming and incredibly satisfying. Healesville Hotel is a great option for casual fare or try their dining room for something more substantial.

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Given the magnificent wineries in the region, I'd suggest having an indulgent long lunch and then a simple regional platter for dinner back at Wingspread. Some of the wineries offering top notch dining include Levantine, Oakridge, TarraWarra and Rochford. All have stunning settings and Oakridge offers an Express Menu including 2 courses and a glass of cellar door exclusive wine, plus tea & coffee for $45 or 3 courses for $55. With incredible cuisine by chef Matt Stone, it's hard not to sit back and indulge in the full 3 courses.

Being welcomed to Wingspread like old friends and enjoying premium hospitality in a picturesque country setting is hard to beat and it's the kind of place you won't want to leave or at least vow to return soon.

Wingspread is available for $250 per night midweek or $300 per night weekend for two guests, extra $100 per night for a second couple utilising the second bedroom.

Images: @alluxia

The writer was a guest of Wingspread.
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Guest Wednesday, 26 April 2017