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Moorish sophistication in Australia’s High Country

Set among the grapevines, Lancemore Milawa has been transformed into a little slice of hospitality heaven that is certain to see the hotel booked solid for at least the next six months.

Moorish sophistication in Australia’s High Country

With the Christmas and New Year break well behind us, now is the time to start planning for a getaway – just to keep the mind and body in shape. With the opening of the new Lancemore Milawa, there is the perfect destination that redefines the ideas of luxurious surrounds, along with fine food and wine, to make a staycation that much more enjoyable.

Located in the King Valley in north-eastern Victoria and situated within the vineyards of the Brown Brothers winery, the newly transformed lodge boasts 40 rooms and suites, a restaurant and multiple relaxing spaces that include a rooftop terrace.

The transformation of the boutique hotel has been accomplished by The Stellar Collective with project lead, Hana Hakim, and her team creating an environment that is sensitive to the original design but definitely contemporary and comfortable for today’s discerning guest.

Hakim explains: “Our design language is always encapsulated by the feeling of escaping to somewhere entrenched in beauty, with a modern Mediterranean, Moorish infusion to it.

“Lancemore CEO Julian Clark felt our aesthetic was a perfect fit for the hotel because when his mother Jan designed it 20 years ago, she had been inspired by her travels to Morocco and used those experiences as the backdrop of her design. That was a lovely starting point for us. Our palette, textures and finishes all reflect this – everything is really raw and robust. It has a grounded and glamorous beauty to it.”

Entry to Lancemore Milawa is through the redesigned foyer that features a sculptural mosaic-lined counter and large terracotta urn, setting the palette for the interior. There are two main gathering spaces on the ground floor. The first is Merlot, the premium restaurant with white walls, polished concrete floors, floating banquettes and timber seating all complemented by ecru-coloured curtaining. Next to this is the bar, where the bright tones of Sydney Nolan’s Ned Kelly artwork bring colour and definition to the area.

The other gathering space is the Vineyard Room, whose floor-to-ceiling windows frame views across the grape vines. Here, low-slung sofas, linen-lined armchairs and a striking fireplace provide a place of respite, while the stunning pewter chandelier with palm leaf detail adds a touch of whimsy. Upstairs, there is a more intimate lounge with Mexican Equipales cedar seating arranged beneath a beaded chandelier – and of course there are those stunning views through arched windows across the landscape.

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Polished concrete floors, sisal rugs and custom-made teak joinery feature in the rooms and suites along with custom bouclé love seats and linen covered sofas. Patterned throws, brass sconces and commissioned artworks hand-painted in Morocco add the final touches that also reflect the first design inspirations for the hotel some two decades before.  

The accommodation is split over the two levels and offers a choice of sunrise or sunset vistas. The upper-level balconies are surrounded by wisteria in spring and the ground level courtyards overlook rose bushes to the east and curated gardens to the west.

Along with a rooftop terrace with wonderful views of the vineyard and the Moroccan-inspired courtyard with aqua blue mosaic-tiled fountain, there is everything a guest might desire to enhance their stay.

The Stellar Collective has created an outstanding destination in Australia’s High Country. Not only is this a sensitive re-design for a hotel of standing but it is certain to become a modern-day classic for those who enjoy design at its best when they travel.

The Stellar Collective

Lillie Thompson

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