“Sumptuous country hotel with lake-filled gardens and a top-notch restaurant in the heart of the Margaret River wineries”
Carefully positioned in 6 buildings around the grounds are 20 rooms and suites, plus a large cottage, all very plush and very secluded. The décor is contemporary Australian, the style is uncluttered and understated, the lighting is subtle, and the materials are luxurious. Best of all, most have a private terrace or balcony from which to soak up views of the estate's lakes.
The Lodge Suite has 2 double bedrooms: a master bedroom with a marble ensuite holding a large spa bathtub and a separate shower, plus garden views, and a second bedroom facing the rose garden with a lounge area and its own marble ensuite. There’s also a Garden View Room has a sitting area, a kingsize bedroom and a walk-in shower.
The rest of the Garden View Rooms are in a single-storey wing next to the main lodge, which is architecturally less characterful but is fronted by pretty roses and lavender.
Flanking the main lake are the lake and terrace wings, holding the Lake View Suites and Garden Deluxe Rooms; those upstairs have balconies and those downstairs, terraces. Interiors bear a French influence: high ceilings, spacious lounges and wonderful views of the lake and gardens. Each has an open-plan spa bath and an ensuite bathroom with a shower.
There are 8 more Lake View Suites a short walk from the restaurant. They're surrounded by landscaped woodland; with sumptuous bathrooms offering spa tubs with forest views, plus separate showers.
Standing alone in 3 acres of rolling lawns, with a private putting green and even a helipad, is the crème de la crème, the Vineyard Residence. You can spread out in the palatial living-dining-kitchen area, or slip outside to an equally huge BBQ and a dining area. Upstairs, the master suite has 2 queensize beds, its own sitting area, a large ensuite bathroom and a walk-in wardrobe. The other 2 bedrooms have kingsize beds and share a marble bathroom. If you need more space, you can also book the 2-bedroom Residence Guest House (only available in conjunction with the Vineyard Residence).
You dine in style here, sitting by the lake on an alfresco deck shaded by peppermint and marri trees. The Cape Lodge Restaurant is only open to guests and their friends, with a glass-fronted kitchen so you can watch the staff in action.
Chef Michael Elfwing is justly proud of his menu - modern Australian with a Mediterranean twist - created from fresh local produce, often organic, and with subtle changes each day. We relished the seared scallops on grilled duck with a soy and black bean sauce, the twice-cooked spatchcock on greens, and the lamb loin stuffed with mushrooms. All dishes come in both entrée and main-course sizes; or there's a 5-course tasting menu for gourmands. Desserts were lemon and passionfruit curd tart, and poached summer fruits.
If you want something lighter you can sample the harvest produce platter in the lounge; seasonal platters are available for evening in-room dining, but must be ordered in advance.
The temperature-controlled wine cellar is truly remarkable: 14,000 bottles and 200 labels, mostly local, including many now unavailable vintages. In winter, the bar's fireplace is the perfect place for pre- and post-dinner drinks.
A large and hearty breakfast is served either lakeside or in your room. Don't miss the house-smoked salmon and soft poached eggs served on grilled bruschetta with a tomato, lime and corn salsa.
For lunch, hampers can be ordered for picnics. Or, if you plan a wine-tasting tour (and it would be a crime not to), ask staff to recommend the best of the many excellent winery restaurants. Voyager Estate has a striking "cellar door" Cape Dutch-style restaurant serving local concoctions such as pickled Geraldton octopus.