Ten of the best boutique Australian hotels and spas
Who says bigger is better? Boutique hotels offer a more intimate and personal experience than many of the big hotels can and many of them now incorporate day spas which offer the same personal level of service. Fewer rooms and fewer guests should mean that the staff can concentrate on you and your needs which should lead to a much more relaxed and enjoyable stay. Some boutique hotels have quirky and unique features and generally an air of understated luxury. Staying in a boutique hotel doesn’t have to break the bank, there is plenty of variety in price and if your wallet can’t stretch to an overnight stay you can still enjoy the atmosphere of these gorgeous hotels by visiting their day spas.
Australia is home to some of the best boutique hotels and spas in the world located in the most amazing locations you can imagine. Gorgeous restaurants, sumptuous accommodation and beautiful luxurious spas are all just part of what makes these boutique hotels and spas special. Sometimes less really is more.
So just for you here are ten of the best boutique Australian hotels and spas according to my spa guide.
1. Bannisters Point Lodge at Mollymook Beach NSW is just 3 hours south of Sydney and is set on a stunning clifftop with amazing ocean views. This beautiful 4.5 star hotel has just 32 rooms each with a private balcony to enjoy the spectacular views. No stay would be complete without a visit to Bannisters Day Spa. Enjoy complimentary use of the hamman steam room before you indulge in a delicious body wrap or a hot stone massage in the outdoor cabana which has 3 treatment areas and a 12 person spa. With the acclaimed Rick Stein at Bannisters seafood restaurant and a pool side pizza and cocktail bar to complete the experience this is truly a very special boutique hotel and spa offering everything you need for a totally indulgent break. Perfect for a honeymoon or babymoon.
2. Indulge Spa Retreat at Immerse in the Yarra Valley VIC combines everything that is fantastic about this gorgeous area of Victoria. Enjoy a little wine tasting at the cellar door, indulge in a touch of vinotherapy at Indulge Spa Retreat, and take a wander through their gardens and vineyard before enjoying a scrumptious meal in the Good Food Guide listed Cafe Immerse and retiring to one of the 14 luxurious rooms each complete with private deck and views of the vines. Indulge Spa Retreat has wellness packages as accessible to corporate groups as they are to groups of friends. You could come away with more than a relaxed state of mind, you could come back with a healthier body and mind. Utter heaven!
3. Byron Bay, NSW is one of the most beautiful, chillaxed places in Australia and Rae’s on Wategos is a beautiful place to stay when you visit. With just seven luxurious rooms you will experience personal service beyond your imagination. It’s easy to see why this hotel is popular with celebrities as well as us normal people. Voted one of the world’s top 25 hotels by Conde Nast Traveller magazine, Rae’s spa reflects the understated opulence and intimacy of the hotel offering indulgent treatments like The Pink Orchid facial which uses gemstones, charka point therapy and acupressure. If it’s good enough for Richard Branson, who counts it as one of his favourite hotels, then it’s good enough for us!
4. Saffire on the Freycinet Peninsula, TAS is a stunning example of a boutique sanctuary. Designed to rise up out of the landscape, Saffire has 20 rooms all with private decks overlooking Great Oyster Bay and offers a one to one service to its guests. Contemporary fittings and furnishings give a sense of space and calm to the rooms while ipod units and lcd screen tvs add real luxury. The menu at Spa Saffire includes the seriously indulgent Jewel Collection of facials which use the skin beautification elements of diamonds, gold and sapphire, wow! This place is so special that even Oprah’s Ultimate Australian Adventure guests came for a visit recently.
5. Looking for an urban boutique hotel and spa in the heart of Melbourne? Then you can’t go past The OIsen in South Yarra, VIC. Murals and prints by the hotel’s namesake Australian artist Dr John Olsen adds to the cool sophisticated feel of this five star urban oasis. While away the hours people watching when you take a dip in the famous glass bottom pool over Chapel Street before heading into Norbu Urban Retreat which offers technology from today alongside ancient healing therapies. Amongst the many treatments this stunningly modern spa provides are detoxification programs, naturopathy, acupuncture, endermologie and massage. The Olsen is a perfect place to escape the city streets of Melbourne.
6. Between the hinterland and the sea, bellachara at Gerringong on the NSW south coast is a stunning hotel and day spa just 2 hours south of Sydney. Offering a personal experience bellachara has just 52 rooms, 2 pools and a delicious restaurant add in a luxurious day spa and bellachara really is a slice of boutique hotel heaven. Pop the kids into the supervised kids club while you relax and spoil yourself with a treatment in the glamorous day spa located on the top floor with views over the ocean. After your bellachara body wrap using semi precious stones relax with bubbles in the day spa’s private lounge and balcony. This is a perfect venue for your wedding or special get away.
7. Situated in a funky laneway in Melbourne’s CBD, the Adelphi Hotel is the ultimate in discreet and sophisticated urban boutique accommodation. The Adelphi is an architectural icon with a focus on personal attention and style, they live the belief ‘less is more’. Sleek and modern, Spa @ Adelphi is an extension of the philosophy behind the hotel. A foot spa and ‘smudging’ of the room precedes all spa journeys and with treatments available from 10am to 10pm every day Spa @ Adelphi is there when you need it. There’s that personal attention again! After you have utilised the Turkish Rasul steam room and indulged in a massage you can order a herbal tea and sit on the deck beside the stunningly world famous roof top pool.
8. The Prince in St Kilda, VIC oozes elegance from its award winning Circa restaurant and its beachside location through to its heavenly Aurora Spa Retreat. 40 rooms make up the accommodation, each one decorated with natural timber and marble and furnished with the in-house skincare range, Aurora Spa Rituals. Whether you spend an hour, half a day or several days at Aurora and The Prince your experience is sure to be second to none. Indulge in the Wangarie Signature Retreat and escape for 2 hours into a haze while you are treated to an intensive facial followed by a back, feet and hand massage. Curl up in your fluffy white robe afterwards with herbal tea in the lounge while reading some inspiration literature. What a way to relax boutique style!
9. Designed by renowned London architect Sir Terry Farrell, The Richardson, Perth takes five star boutique luxury to a new level. The contemporary interior of the 74 rooms matches the modern sleek exterior of the hotel and the latest technology, flat screens and marble topped vanity units all add to the air of sleek exclusivity. The Spa at The Richardson is no less luxe and whether you book a ‘detoxify day’ or you pop in for an essential manicure you are sure to receive the same personal attention. Take a dip in the indoor heated pool or laze in the sauna to complete your spa experience.
10. Aquador Retreat in the Adelaide Hills, SA provides boutique accommodation and spa packages. Catering for a maximum of only 12 people in 8 double rooms means that the staff can give you all their attention and you can be assured that the blissed out state you discover on your spa escape will last well after your detox retreat ends. Sustainability was in the forefront of the owners mind when Aquador Retreat was built so you can feel good about taking care of the planet while taking care of yourself. The Wellness Centre focuses on hydrotherapy using underground water high in minerals and chlorine free while the signature treatment is a body exfoliation followed by a vichy shower massage, mini facial and shiatsu style pressure massage. Bliss!
Yes, we promised ten of the best but we’re breaking the rules and adding in one more sneaky boutique hotel and spa that we just couldn’t leave out.
Who says bigger is better? Boutique hotels offer a more intimate and personal experience than many of the big hotels can and many of them now incorporate day spas which offer the same personal level of service.
If you are looking to create a spa environment at home, getting some gorgeous chill out relaxation music is key. My spa guide and Spa Sounds bring you the top ten best selling relaxation music for spas.
We began in the spa industry as Floressence Day Spa: a large spa in Canberra's CBD. We have always had an interest in sustainability and over the years this grew into a personal and professional passion.
After seven years as Floressence, we were feeling limited by our environment in terms of reducing our carbon footprint and water consumption, and providing a truly 'green' spa experience for our clients.
Thus the Jindii Eco Spa concept was born - a smaller space in a quiet urban setting, purpose designed and built to be sustainable, functional, beautiful and enjoyable.
What was the inspiration behind Jindii Eco Spa?
Our inspiration comes from the Australian bush and indigenous cultures, our spa partners Li'Tya and a strong sense of community spirit. We wanted to provide a spa environment in which we could nuture our clients physically and spiritually, as well as share our passion for caring for the earth.
Each day we strive to share these ideals with our clients through organic, earth inspired treatments, lifestyle classes and community events.
What is the Jindii Eco Spa philosophy?
At Jindii, we have deep respect for the earth and for the many cultures we share it with. We are committed to providing first class spa experiences in ways that are both socially and environmentally responsible.
We also believe that the true spirit of Spa is not one of pampering but one of self care and nurturing.
To this end, a visit to Jindii is much more than a beauty treatment. Our team is here to provide clients the opportunity to be completely present in the moment, to unwind and just be.
Highs and lows of Jindii Eco Spa:
The journey from Floressence to Jindii was a long one, and not without its obstacles.
The decision to pack up and leave a busy, centrally located, premises in order to build Jindii's new space in a quieter location was a scary one, but one we knew we ultimately had to make. We prefer to think in terms of 'challenges' rather than lows, because indeed many of these challenges have brought us to where we are now.
In the early days, we struggled to source materials and builders that met our strict sustainability requirements. As will happen with building projects, this led to numerous delays and at times we really despaired that we may have made the wrong decision.
Our commitment paid off though, and one of the most rewarding experiences for us has been seeing the look on our clients faces when we launched Jindii Eco Spa in 2010.
Highlights have been many and varied. The support and loyalty we have been shown by our clients through the transition process gave us the energy to persist and we have loved sharing our successes with them. As word spread following our launch, we've been encouraged by the number of people in the community who share our beliefs and philosophy, and are touched at how they have since become great supporters of Jindii.
These day to day highlights are what truly reward and sustain us, but it has also been exciting to be recognised professionally by our peers. This has happened in many small ways, but most notably with us winning two significant awards in 2010:
Best Day Spa - 5 treatment rooms or less (Urban) at the Australasian Spa Association Awards
Best Li'Tya Urban Spa in the Spirit of Spa Awards
How does Jindii Eco Spa give back to the community?
Jindii participates regularly in local community events, from NAIDOC Week celebrations to school fetes and charity fundraisers.
As well as supporting a variety of causes, we view these events as an opportunity to share our passions through spa treatments and products, and to educate our community in the importance of self-nurturing.
Our preference for hands-on involvement has seen us at all manner of outdoor events sharing mini spa treatments with people from all walks of life.
What next for Jindii Eco Spa?
Since launching Jindii Eco Spa last year, we have introduced a range of lifestyle classes including yoga and mindfulness workshops, and we see this as key in our future growth and development.
Bianca Prichard (Jindii Owner/Director/Therapist) is currently developing a community program for indigenous women to share with them the many positive aspects of Spa, with the aim of introducing them to the industry as a potential career path. Most recently, Jindii EcoSpa has become involved with and has contributed to a special indigenous women’s camp through the Women’s Access to Justice Programme through the Legal Centre ACT. The participants received a special treatment card that will allow them to have access to the spa. The LI’TYA foundation has supported Bianca, her staff and Jindii EcoSpa with donations of Munthari Hand Hydrating Lotion for each woman to have as a gift and to be able to use for self nurturing.
In our series of spa stories, My spa guide finds some of Australia’s truly unique and beautiful spas with hidden stories of hard work, passion and determination in their creation.