Home to the largest number of naturally occurring mineral springs in Australia Daylesford, and sister town, Hepburn Springs are known as Spa Country. Rich in minerals like magnesium and sodium bicarbonate, bathing in spring water is an age-old practice believed in many cultures to remedy everything from eczema to arthritis. The Salus Spa at The Lakehouse is, without a doubt, the region’s most stylish way to ‘take to the water’, as Sigourney discovered on her recent trip.
Lake Daylesford is like a little slice of Europe in Victoria and The Lakehouse is it’s most stylish accommodation. While it’s infinitely smaller, there’s something about this pretty body of water that reminds me of Lake Como – and I’m not alone - Swiss Italians were drawn to the area after the gold rush as it made them nostalgic for home. Aside from being famous for their delicious naturally occurring springs, the region is also a popular foodie haunt, with local producers and providores offering ample temptations.
This is actually the second time Damien and I have stayed at The Lakehouse and on the drive down we reminisce our last trip. They manage to just nail that weekender escape thing so stylishly – the décor is exquisite, the food is top notch and the spa is just the icing on the cake.
Nestled into the hillside overlooking the lake, the spa is designed with huge windows to take in the greenery and picture-perfect position. As I descend the stairs down to the reception, I notice a bubbling brook gurgling prettily beside me. Once inside, it’s all fresh turquoise hues and dappled afternoon light. There are David Bromley artworks on the walls that apparently come from owner Alla Wolf-Tasker’s private collection.
My therapist Tiffany welcomes me and leads me through to fill out my consultation form. Fittingly – for a water-themed location - they use delicious British brand Elemis, a range that harnesses the healing powers of the ocean. Today I’m booked in to experience a fabulous Beautiful Bump treatment that consists of a beautiful nurturing massage and body scrub. The best part? It all happens on a specially-designed bed, which has a hollow for my bump so I can lie face down. I haven’t lay on my stomach for months and it’s incredible soothing. As Tiffany rhythmically moves around my body, limb by limb, I begin to feel a bit like I’m in the womb myself, such is the calming and coddling effect of her touch.
The scrub – a mix of frangipani and coconut - smells absolutely incredible and renovates my scaly, neglected skin beautifully. Tiffany runs me a shower and I wash it off, admiring the toddlers-bottom softness left in its place. I emerge from the spa feeling like a different person altogether, and eager to see what other Lakehouse delights await in my room.
We are booked in to stay at the new Sutton Suite, – a deliciously plush room with a huge bedroom and bathroom, sun drenched courtyard, walk-in robe and living room complete with kitchenette and fireplace. It’s a popular choice for honeymooners as it’s incredibly private and romantic.
When I come out of the spa, dusk is fast approaching and there’s a bracing chill in the air. With a flick of the wall switch in our room, the gas fireplace sparks up, filling the space with a cosy ambience. Above us hangs the most magnificent antler chandelier and on the coffee table sit a stunning assortment of Australian native wildflowers. Slate grey walls and luxe-country inspired décor give the room a sense of refined grandeur. A jar of local honey sits on the kitchen sink with a welcome note sits next to a Nespresso machine. I clock a deliciously deep bath in the bathroom and add ‘long soak’ to my mental itinerary.
We take a quick walk before dinner and encounter some friendly kookaburras who are so still and omnipresent that I swear they’re the same ones we saw two years ago. The setting sun has turned the lake to liquid gold and ducks cruise through the water, leaving delicate swirls in their wake. After several minutes of reverie we wander back to the restaurant – currently a holder of two chef hats - ready to start an epic gastronomic journey. The meal is full of delicious and hearty local produce served in surprising and innovative ways. We linger over rich oxtail and marrow dumplings that are served with the fluffiest, butteriest most indulgent truffled brioche I’ve ever tasted and my main course of soft pasta ‘pillows’ of herbed ricotta and goats curd with local morrels and white asparagus is like a cheese and Spring veggie slumber party in my mouth. We roll back to our suite and hit the cushiony king-sized bed, content and infinitely more relaxed than when we arrived.
Review by Sigourney Cantelo.
Daylesford VIC 3460
(03) 5348 3329