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  >  Destinations   >  Australia   >  Spicers Clovelly Estate review

Surrounded by gracious old trees, formal gardens and manicured lawns, Spicers Clovelly Estate offers couples and groups of friends a sophisticated rural getaway with a focus on the finer things in life. French-provincial architecture adds a touch of European charm to this country escape which was originally settled by the Brown family in 1908. We arrived on the kind of wet, rainy day that is perfect for curling up with a good book. White linens, a natural colour palette and contemporary European decor feature throughout the accommodation which is predominantly located in the main house. This gives Spicers Clovelly Estate the feeling of an ultra-luxe B&B.  

Autumn colours line the driveway
Autumn colours line the driveway

With just 10 suites and one three bedroom cottage, Clovelly offers a boutique accommodation experience. We loved our room’s elegant decor, heated bathroom floor and double shower but the comings and goings of staff and guests in the corridor outside detracted from the romance factor somewhat. I suspect this thoroughfare to the main area of the lodge was busier than usual as it offered a handy way to avoid the rain. The two rooms opening onto this corridor may not be the best choice, especially during wet weather.

Our room in the main lodge
Our room in the main lodge

The magnificent gardens offered plenty of spots to sit and enjoy the country views and sweet scent of perfumed blooms nodding in the breeze. Even though the weather wasn’t the best, we still managed to slip outside between showers to enjoy the beauty of our surroundings. On our walk around the grounds, we discovered a large swimming pool offering picturesque views of the gardens and rolling hills which would be delightful in warmer weather.

Tables dot the lawns
Tables dot the lawns

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Still pretty, despite the rain
Still pretty, despite the rain

Guests at Spicers Clovelly Estate receive complimentary green fees at the nearby Maleny Golf Course. Other activities include lawn games such as croquet and boules, complimentary mountain bike hire and evening drinks down at the lake deck overlooking Lake Baroon. When it is raining, the evenings drinks and honour bar are relocated to the library in front of the fire.

The Lake Deck
The Lake Deck
Honour bar at the library
Honour bar at the library
The Library
The library at Spicers Clovelly Estate
Wine list at The Long Apron
Wine list at The Long Apron

While the accommodation is beautiful, it is the on-site restaurant – The Long Apron – which is the jewel in this retreat’s crown. The elegant, sophisticated European inspired dishes on offer here are reason enough to stay, especially if you opt for the wine matched option. We didn’t and are still regretting our decision to enjoy a few glasses before dinner instead of matching our wines with the exquisite 5 course menu which allowed a choice of one of three dishes for each course.

Sitting area with The Long Apron in the background
Sitting area with The Long Apron in the background

Guests who stay in-house tend to dine at The Long Apron for dinner and are therefore not in a hurry for breakfast first thing in the morning. Breakfast at Spicers Clovelly Estate begins at a very civilised 8am, encouraging a leisurely lie in and a later start, a philosophy that is ideally suited to this luxurious retreat. We loved ordering off a menu rather than having to get up and down to help ourselves from a buffet. Not surprisingly, with a two-hatted restaurant on-site, the breakfast was especially good with a focus on the area’s impressive local produce.

Breakfast fruit plate
Breakfast fruit plate

While the retreat was classically elegant and the food divine, Spicers Clovelly Estate would be nothing without the staff who encapsulated the philosophy of refined yet relaxed service. Come for the food (and the exceptional wine list) and stay the night so you can enjoy it to the full. 

Disclosure: The writer was a guest of Spicers Clovelly Estate.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.