185 years ago, Arthur Hardy, a wealthy businessman and bon vivant decided to create a summer estate where he could leave the smothering heat of Australia’s Adelaide city for the cooler atmosphere on top of the nearby mountains overlooking the farms and city. He created a castle-like mansion with decadent with sprawling terraces, lawns and gardens. Today his creation is now the place where well-heeled guests from around the world come to a respite in the mountains, with luxurious accommodations, an epicurean dining experience, and an ideal location to take in all that this abundant area has to offer. Arthur Hardy’s mansion in the Adelaide Hills is now the world-renowned five-star boutique hotel, the Mount Lofty House.
When most think of Australia they’ll think of Sydney the business hub or Melbourne, known for its arts and culture or maybe the barrier reef in the north or Perth in the West. But Adelaide is Australia’s bread basket with all types of produce and meat. It is also known for its glorious wines produced from idyllic appellations in the Barossa and Clare Valleys and the Adelaide Hills. In the hills, you’ll drive past miles and miles of vineyards which produce many of the wines that you’ll see on the wine lists on the top wine lists around the world. It is here, amongst the vines that Arthur Hardy created his escape from the city in the Mount Lofty House.
Fifteen minutes from the center of Adelaide, ascending the mountains is the hotel entrance and driveway which leads past acres of vineyards of Chardonnay and Pinot grape vines. On the picturesque grounds, guests will notice the beautiful gardens, towering Redwood trees, and an oak tree grove planted 150 years ago. In this setting, on a knoll sits the Mount Lofty House. It is similar to an estate that one would find in the English countryside with arched windows and walkways with ivy-covered sandstone surfaces, and stained glass windows. From the terraces, common spaces and many of the rooms are postcard-like views of the surrounding farmlands and treetops of the Piccadilly Valley. Just beyond the twinkling lights of Adelaide can be seen at night.
In 1852 Arthur Hardy, a politician, lawyer, and businessman built Mount Lofty House as a summer residence to escape the sweltering heat of Adelaide city. Hardy was a sort of Great Gatsby of his time and known for hosting splendid dinner parties and opulent events where the area’s high-society would dance, drink and party until the wee hours of the morning. The spirit of that lavish lifestyle and opulent galas still echoes through the hotel's hallways today.
There are 33 rooms and suites which range from heritage style décor to ultra-modern. The Arthur Murry Suite is plush and spacious with a lovely sitting area with antique furnishings and large windows which flood the room with natural sunlight. There’s a lovely wrap around balcony where guests sit outside with a morning coffee to take in the beautiful landscapes and watch the sun ascend over the misted valleys below.
The Tower Suite is spacious with over 500 sq ft of living space set over two levels. The well-appointed living room is on the first floor with large windows overlooking the pool and manicured gardens. The furnishings are contemporary as well in the bedroom with is in the loft on the second floor with a spa bath and separate shower. The Tower Suite comes with a complimentary mini bar as well.
The dining experience at Mount Lofty House's Hardy's Veranda Restaurant or HVR is one of the finest in Australia as voted by Gourmet Traveler and a cadre of other fine dining awards. The setting is exquisite on the veranda of the mansion with crackling fireplaces, leather chairs, and crisp white linen tablecloth. This is occasional dining with couples there to celebrate a birthday or anniversary or groups of friends celebrating life.
After the setting, the next standout is the passion and professionalism of the team responsible for the dining experience. The waiters are dressed as if they are walking into a boardroom in suit and tie and are just as knowledgeable about each dish’s ingredients and preparation as most chefs. The sommelier is a key part of the dining experience and oversees an extensive wine list from there dungeon like wine cellar below. Adelaide Hills is wine country so the top wines from the region are featured along with an extensive offering of fine wines from around the world.
Before dinner, guests often congregate at their storied bar, the. Arthur Waterhouse Lounge. This is a proper British bar salon with fireplace and high back leather chairs overlooking the long bar with bottles of elixir stocked up to the top rooms 20’ ceiling. The seasoned barman is there to make the traditional drinks as well as some savory creations of his own.
Adelaide is one of the world’s top wine destinations with vineyards nearby. In fact, the hotel bottles its own wines which are commendable. The nearby appellations s of the Barossa and Clare Valley and their top wineries are a must do experience for any oenophile visiting the hotel.
Away from wine pursuits, Adelaide is a fantastic area and downtown is filled with interesting parks, museum and the Central Market filled with artesian food and produce from around the region is worthy of an afternoon.
For natural pursuits, a visit to the Cleland Conservation Park makes for an exceptional afternoon as well with a number of regional animals there to see as well as opportunities to get up close and personal with kangaroos and koalas. And for some less furry nature, next to the property is the Mount Lofty Botanical garden which is a beautiful natural reserve set over 250 acres with a lovely lake, all types of indigenous fauna and miles and miles of walking trails.
Close to home guest will want to spend time exploring the hotel’s two onsite working vineyards and many gardens, tennis or badminton or taking a dip in the hotel’s pool. After all that fine living, guest may wish to take their escape to another level of relaxation at the Stables Day Spa.
South Australia and Adelaide are a wonderful destination to explore an interesting and abundant part of Australia. The Mount Lofty House is the ideal place to explore all that this wonderful area has to offer.>
Glenn Harris is an accomplished journalist focusing on international travel, fine dining, and luxury lifestyle events. His wanderlust has taken him to over 95 countries where he is constantly straying off the beaten path uncovering new and often exotic finds. He particularly enjoys seeking out lesser known travel gems and places to stay, dine, or experiences to capture. ...(Read More)>
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