Meet a new Hunter Retreat

There are 60 new luxe studios in the Hunter Valley that look perfect for a weekend away, travel editor Winsor Dobbin reports.

The Hunter Valley will this month welcome a new eco retreat in the heart of the vineyards.

The Lane Retreat, on Palmers Lane in Pokolbin, is a new venture for Mulpha, the group behind two other popular Hunter destinations in Bimbadgen and Emma’s Cottage. It sits on the edge of Bimbadgen’s Palmers Lane vineyards.

Overlooking a dam that is visited daily by a local mob of kangaroos, Palmers Lane looks like the ideal spot for a gourmet couples weekend. I was given a sneak peek at the new precinct last month – while the final touches were being added ahead of the opening in mid-October.

The 60 architect-designed studios look very smart and will complement the winery and tourism offering at Bimbadgen’s home vineyard on McDonalds Road, where Esca restaurant is a popular lunch venue. With its own gourmet store and pantry for those keen to self-cater, the retreat was originally expected to be completed by spring 2022 but fell victim to Covid.

The Lane Retreat will have in-built solar energy and other environmentally friendly features. Set on 15 hectares of 50-year-old vineyards and natural bushland, the retreat has commanding views of the Brokenback Range. 

The nifty studios have a rustic chic vibe and feature king beds, sitting space, dining/study table and chairs, bathrooms with rain showers, outdoor decks with vineyard or mountain views, kitchenettes with coffee maker, toaster, microwave and mini bar, daily gourmet breakfast provisions and free wifi. 

And if you arrive late fear not. On booking, guests will receive a confirmation email containing a link that provides all the details of your stay. Simply check in via the GOKI link prior to your arrival and as soon as your room is ready, you will receive a notification with your unique code to allow you access to your room. 

For those with mobility issues, accessible studios are available. Both room categories start from $309 per night but look out for some opening specials. 

“As a group providing premium hospitality and experiences in blue chip locations, we are excited to be enhancing our Bimbadgen offerings while maintaining the integrity of the estate and environment,” said Mulpha GM Belinda Stapleton.

“This will mean another great on-site accommodation option for events and weddings at Palmers Lane, as well as providing fantastic getaway retreats for people visiting the Hunter.

“In recent times people have rediscovered the joy of places and simple pleasures closer to home and are looking to treat themselves to short breaks in great locations, with great amenities.

“It’s hard to beat one of Australia’s premier food and wine regions just two hours’ drive from Sydney.”

Guests can relax and sit by the communal swimming pool, or enjoy a glass of wine at one of two outdoor gathering areas before setting off to explore the many delights of the Hunter.

Fresh coffee, gourmet provisions, a selection of drinks and gifts are available daily at the Lane Pantry, with wine tastings and quality food at Bimbadgen’s cellar door just a three-minute drive away. 

Emma’s Cottage cellar door, with its own Alter wine range, is also nearby.

For full details and bookings visit

Mulpha may not be a high-profile name, but it is a business on the move. It already operates the excellent five-star InterContinental Sydney just a stroll from Circular Quay, and recently gained approval to develop a $200 million 17-storey lifestyle hotel in Sussex Street.

Construction is expected to commence in the first half of 2024 with completion expected in mid-2026.

Other elements of Mulpha’s portfolio include the InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort, InterContinental Hayman Island and a range of development projects including the Norwest Quarter in outer Sydney that incorporates apartments and a golf facility.

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