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Remarkable Living

Just an hour from Melbourne, Jackalope Hotel is set within a lush vineyard

An hour away from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne lies the laidback charm of the Mornington Peninsula. And Jackalope Hotel, a boutique property that overlooks Willow Creek vineyard, makes a great home away from home.

Just an hour from Melbourne, Jackalope Hotel is set within a lush vineyard

Jackalope Hotel overlooks Willow Creek vineyard. The light installation is evocative of bubbles and the process of wine fermentation. (Photo: Threesixzero Productions)

For visitors to Australia, a getaway to the Mornington Peninsula is a highly recommended activity. There, you will find beautiful beaches, picturesque landscapes, and an abundance of farms and wineries to whet your appetite for all things gourmet. And if that’s not enough, there’s the Jackalope Hotel.

Named after a mythical jackrabbit-antelope creature, Jackalope Hotel is designer’s dream. An hour’s drive from Melbourne, this boutique hotel is a stark contrast to its laidback landscape. Its low-slung angular structure is clad in black, the hue oft associated with the height of style, and it incorporates an 18th-century heritage farmhouse that overlooks a grape-laced vineyard.

The hotel is named after a mythical half-jackrabbit, half-antelope. (Photo: Threesixzero Productions)

Geraldine McFaul, a winemaker at Willow Creek vineyard, has been making wine on the peninsular for 24 years. She said: “When I first started, there was the old house and a big area of lawn where the hotel is now, and the carpark.” She said that while the hotel has not changed much, the vineyard “has brought a new cohort of people to the Mornington Peninsula”.

She remembered that when the hotel was first built, she didn’t think it was going to blend in as the area had many small trees. But things have changed: “You really only have to walk up to the back of the vineyard and look back. It sits sort of behind the pines… and seems to have really adapted to the landscape.”

Willow Creek vineyard. (Photo: Threesixzero Productions)

Guests will also appreciate the interiors of the hotel – an inky, classy decor and an impressive light installation that is suggestive of the narrative of alchemy, of turning an element into a precious material, much like grapes being turned into wine in the winemaking process, allowing guests to enjoy its riches in the process.

Ollie Tucker, an assistant director of food and beverage at the hotel and a sommelier, enthused about being near the wine producers. “Being able to be in the vineyard or in the winery working with Gerry [McFaul] and seeing the whole wine making process from start to finish, rather than just the finished product, was something pretty special,” he said.    

The hotel's inky interiors stands in sharp contrast to the lightness and openness of the surrounding landscape. (Photo: Threesixzero Productions)

Besides the fine wine, there’s also the wonderful local produce. Said McFaul: “It’s just incredibly satisfying to see people enjoying something you’ve made and something that has grown here.” Tucker added: “We are very lucky we have a strong focus on our kitchen garden, so in a lot of our dishes, we are able to show people what is growing well in the garden at that time.”

With the cool climes helped by ocean breezes in the area, guests can experience the different seasons all year around. They can see for themselves what is grown and produced in the Mornington Peninsula and best of all, eat and enjoy nature’s abundance, with a glass of wine in hand, of course.     

Adapted from the series Remarkable Living. Watch full episodes on CNA, every Sunday at 7pm.

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Source: CNA/ds