by Zac in Cool Travel on Wednesday 5 December 2012

Tower Lodge was recently awarded the Global Luxury Lodge in the 2012 World Luxury Hotel Awards. That’s a fine accolade for this boutique hotel, nestled in Australia’s Hunter Valley, which is gathering momentum as a hotel with few peers.

Tower Lodge’s exteriors are in Spanish/Mexican Mission style, and despite the large proportions of the place, Tower Lodge accommodates just twelve suits. Each is sumptuous in size and boldly unique. Most have fireplaces and all are styled in an eclectic mix of antiques, treasures and collectibles. The style is rich, and daring. It works and throughout your stay you are reminded this is not your typical five star hotel.

In the Chairman’s Suite sits a stunningly original 300 year old, hand-carved bed from Rajasthani. The main doors are 100 years old from the south of France. This is no ordinary hotel.

Our room was a visual treat, with each section designed to be memorable. After an enjoyable wine tasting at the Tower’s winery, we savoured the hotel’s pool. It was bliss to sit in the afternoon sun in absolute luxury watching the gum trees in the breeze. The sunken spa bath was the perfect preparation for our evening ahead.

The dominant theme throughout Tower Estate is of food and wine. Our meal at Roberts Restaurant, sitting under the stars, was memorable. This is a place for people who love great food, coupled with wine to match.

Established in 1999, Tower Estate includes Relais & Chateaux property Tower Lodge, intimate country guest house, the Convent, the historic 1876 Roberts Restaurant, cellar restaurant Nine and an impressive wine offering from Tower Estate Winery. The properties are a short distance from each other, but plans are in place to join them via a series of gardens and walks.

Against this backdrop is a staff who blend casual Australian friendliness with the level of service you would expect from a Relais & Chateaux establishment. Sean Byrne, the new General Manager, has a clear vision for where the hotel is headed and in a short time with the reigns has already made his mark. R.M.Williams uniforms – uniquely Australian attire – are in place and Peppers Convent is set for a full overhaul.

This hotel has real momentum and will increasingly become an important place to stay for travellers experiencing the best Australia has to offer.