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The Royal Mail Hotel Review


How far would you travel for dinner? It turns out I’ll travel 3 hours for some delicious dining. We recently ventured on a road trip from Melbourne for an overnight stay at Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld and let me tell you it was worth the trip.

Dunkeld is in the Grampians region of rural Victoria, popular with nature-lovers with plenty of walking tracks, wildlife, lookouts and waterfalls to discover in this breathtaking and rugged landscape.  The Grampians Wine Region is also celebrating 150 years of grape growing, so there’s even more reason to visit regional cellar doors and chat with the winemakers.


Arriving in Dunkeld, I actually drove past the hotel, it has such an un-assuming exterior for a property whose reputation proceeds it.  On checkin I’m presented with a bespoke Royal Mail Hotel Walking Map, which comes with a warning that snakes have been seen on the track in recent days. Hmm…think I’ll give that activity a miss.

I check-in to a Mountain View room and it immediately exceeds my expectations, one night isn’t going to be enough in these luxurious surrounds. Spacious, stylish interiors with warm, earthy tones suit the rural setting. The large hotel room has king bed, desk with custom note paper, sitting area with collection of foodie publications and balcony with a breathtaking view of Mount Sturgeon.  The extensive minibar includes Koko Black chocolate and there’s a supply of T2 tea and Syndicate plunger coffee. The large ensuite has heated floors, Appelles amenities and a little wooden vase of native flowers is a lovely touch of country hospitality. The accommodation at Royal Mail ranges from hotel rooms, apartments, cottages and even a house.


As lovely as the rooms are, you’re really here for the dining.  Chef Robin Wickens tempted away from Apollo Bay, continues the tradition of culinary innovation at Royal Mail Hotel. The menu is simpler & more flexible than the previous degustation affair, with chef tasting menu or an a la carte menu channelling nature and presenting ingredients at their purest and best. Utilising the acre of kitchen gardens, specialising in organic and heirloom vegetables.


We start the evening with salmon, spinach and almond blossom. The salmon is exquisite and beautifully simple, but the almond blossom element overpowers the dish in my opinion. Next up, the attentive waiter announces, “The chef has a surprise for you” and I wait with anticipation what this could possibly be? I’m then presented with a tasting plate of yabbie ravioli with nettle soup. The nettle soup is an interesting flavour and the yabbie is plump and delicious.

The beauty of staying onsite at a destination restaurant is that you can indulge in a few wines knowing your only moments away from your room. You’re in good hands at Royal Mail Hotel with an award wining wine list, containing one of the largest collections of Bordeaux in the country. The Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Gris 2012, Alsace was beautifully matched with my meal by the knowledgeable team. 


The menu offers a selection of hearty main meals perfect for the cool climate.  I opt for the sher wagyu 8+ marble score sirloin with roasted artichoke puree, baby garlic, marrow, point neuf potato and horseradish. Served up with Laguiole cutlery no less, the knife glides through the wagyu, the prettiest and most delicious wagyu I’ve tasted.

The dessert menu extends to Mandarin cheesecake, tiramisu and artisan cheese plate but I’ve indulged enough for one evening and roll to bed.


Next morning, I’m not sure if it’s the luxurious king size bed, fresh country air or full belly, but I sleep very well indeed. Heading back to the restaurant for breakfast, service is not quite as polished as dinner. The breakfast menu includes items such as organic mixed grain porridge, oats, quinoa and millet served with whiskey poached pears and local honey and hot dishes such as smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on linseed toast served with horseradish cream and watercress. Still full from dinner, I opt for what I think will be a light option – the continental platter. How wrong I was, what arrived was the incredibly well presented platter of freshly baked bread, croissant, shaved ham, gruyere cheese, sheep’s milk yoghurt, muesli and condiments. 


The Royal Mail Hotel holds a sense of history in the region, purchased by visionary Allan Myers, QC. Myers has preserved much of the town in honour of the family’s long connection to the area. Myers is one of six children of one-time Dunkeld butcher John Myers and his wife Elizabeth. It is clear that Myers is a man who appreciates beautiful things and is best known for his passions of art, wine and Dunkeld itself. This is demonstrated by Myers paying for the power lines to be run underground in the town’s main street because overhead wires were unsightly. You do see a real pride in Dunkeld and while many country towns are fading, this is certainly not the case here.

Royal Mail Hotel is more than a destination restaurant and well worth driving 3 hours for dinner, but you’ll want to linger longer at this beautiful country retreat.  Book a room, it’s well worth the trip.

The Royal Mail Hotel, 98 Parker Street, Dunkeld from $210 per night.

The writer was a guest of Royal Mail Hotel.

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