The beautiful accommodation you couldn't stop clicking in 2016
With more than 700 gorgeous properties in the Beautiful Accommodation collection, asking us to pick a favourite is like asking a parent to pick their favourite child. However, there are some properties that crop up in our most-visited pages all year round, so we’ve crunched the numbers to find our top stays of 2016. From a chic getaway on the Great Barrier Reef to a remote retreat on Flinders Island, these are the ones you just couldn’t stop clicking. A massive seven of the 10 are in Victoria, and four of them were in last year’s list as well, proving that truly beautiful accommodation never goes out of style…
We know you love a hard-to-find gem, so it’s no surprise that Harts Farm has made this list. Tucked away on a secluded property on the Mornington Peninsula, there’s only one suite available at a time, which means you’ll have this architecturally-designed villa all to yourself. Outside, take in the views of the dam, vineyard, olive grove and rolling hills, before heading inside to indulge in the lush linens, freestanding tub and inviting daybed.
Set right on the beachfront, surrounded by turquoise waters and white sand, this private paradise takes romance to the next level. And as if its unforgettable setting wasn’t enough, the eco-friendly East Bedarra Island Retreat also has all the trimmings you would expect of a world-class hideaway. The centrepiece is the open-air covered lounge deck with a 3D cinema overlooking a stunning natural swimming pool and private beach, so you can watch movies with the islands and stars as the backdrop.
Briars Cottage is one of Daylesford’s best-kept secrets, perfect for couples looking for a refreshing spa country escape. Warm colours decorate the cottage, creating a sense of tranquility that extends to the covered balcony, which features a spa overlooking the beautiful Doctors Gully. Both bedrooms have high-vaulted ceilings and separate bathrooms. The cottage is an easy five-minute drive from Daylesford and Hepburn Springs, but you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in a remote location given the quiet nature of the bushland surrounds.
When the busyness of life gets too much and an escape is essential, Botanica Editions awaits you. Set against the beautiful backdrop of Mt Riddell and Mt Toolebewong among stunning landscaped gardens, this haven holds two romantic, secluded retreats – The Willow House and Habitat House. These Yarra Valley homes have been lovingly restored to blend in with their peaceful surrounds and are true connect-with-nature retreats – ideal for a getaway to refresh with your special someone.
Those seeking a tranquil escape that celebrates its stunning surrounds in modern style will love Glass on Glasshouse. The three glass pavilion cottages (designed by national award-winning architect Norman Richards) combine a location of extraordinary beauty – looking across to the 25-million-year-old volcanic cores of the Glasshouse Mountains – with an unreservedly contemporary architectural genius. Every room takes advantage of the brilliant views and harmonizes with the overall design. The floor-to-ceiling glass walls dissolve the barrier between inside and outside, giving these cottages true wow factor.
Love the outdoors but don’t love the idea of sleeping mats and camper stoves? Head for Wilderness Retreats at Wilsons Promontory, a string of glamping tents sure to convert even the most reluctant camper into a nature-lover. The safari-style tents give guests the chance to experience all the Prom has to offer – bushwalks, ocean swims, wildlife encounters – but also provide plush beds, ensuites, hot showers and private decks.
A stay along the Great Ocean Road should offer the perfect blend of ocean views, exploring and indulgence. Ocean Inlet gives you all this in a perfect location. There is a mix of accommodation options here, too. The award-winning ground-level, two-bedroom Coral Cove is accessible for all and features an aquatic theme with a cute marine mural, aquarium porthole and aqua accents. The two-level Shorehouse is a stunner, with its upstairs lovers' lair complete with corner spa and views across Aireys Inlet and its iconic lighthouse.
For a luxe coastal retreat that will make you feel like royalty, you can’t go past Newhaven. Magnificent views over the bay and Mount Martha provide the backdrop to an unforgettable beach holiday. As you pull into the circular driveway, you’d be excused for thinking you’re in Malibu, California. The house sits boldly behind a huge palm tree, a striking contrast to its industrial-chic façade. The architecture continues to impress inside, with floor-to-ceiling glass capturing bay views and creating light-filled spaces.
Leader Reef in Victoria’s High Country is a winner in more ways than one. It was designed with both function and fashion in mind. The result? A contemporary enclave set in Bright’s stunning mountainous surrounds. The house is incredibly flexible, with two separate sections that can be closed off from one another. This layout makes Leader Reef ideal for families; the kids can play or sleep in one area, while the parents kick back in another. The pool and large outdoor deck will be a hit too.
In a quiet corner of Flinders Island you’ll find West End Beach House – an oceanfront, architect-designed beauty set on 25 acres of coastal reserve, with floor-to-ceiling glass on every side. The unbroken water views from the House are beyond beautiful, allowing you to watch the sun sink right into the Bass Strait. On a separate 25 acres adjacent to the House is the Cabin, boasting direct access to the secluded West End Beach, and offering magnificent vistas of the sea, shoreline, surrounding islands and mountains.