Somewhere Special

So you are prepared to splash out to mark a special occasion? Travel editor Winsor Dobbin has a couple of suggestions, but you’d better start saving.

When you are paying $2500 a night for a couple you expect a special experience – and that is exactly what you get at Tasmania’s premier luxury lodge: Saffire Freycinet.

At first glance, Saffire might seem like an extravagance. But when you take into account everything that is on offer it is a very worthwhile experience for a special occasion; perhaps a major birthday or wedding anniversary.

The key to getting great value out this superb resort is to arrive hungry, thirsty and with a sense of adventure. Just about everything is included in your package; from luxury accommodation with magnificent views and perhaps your own private plunge pool, to three meals a day, unlimited drinks, including wines and spirits and access to your own personal mini bar.

Throw in a range of activities and some top-notch service to boot and this is a pretty extraordinary place to stay – if you can get a reservation.

First there are the views across beautiful Great Oyster Bay to the Hazards Mountains; and access to a superb beach that is almost always deserted. You have location, location, location.

Choose from luxury suites, signature suites and private pavilions starting from $2300 a night. Even entry level accommodation includes 80m² of luxury with a king bed, LCD screen TV and complimentary movie selection, a sound system, private courtyard and outdoor deck with seating, wifi, a living area and bedroom and a double shower and bath with courtyard view. Even the blinds are electronically controlled. Impressive.

All packages include breakfast in Palate restaurant, an a la carte lunch, including beverages, dinner, including beverages, complimentary minibar and Saffire lounge beverages, complimentary experiences and a $100 property credit per suite for use on spa treatments, signature experiences or non-inclusive beverages.

Chef Paddy Prenter is delivering some outstanding dishes from the kitchen, aided by the fact that some of the finest food and wine in Tasmania is produced right on Saffire’s doorstep.

Think cool-climate boutique wines and crayfish, scallops and deep-sea fish caught by local fishermen. Add local grass-fed beef and lamb, and superb fresh vegetables and every meal is an experience. Choose from sparkling wines from local stars Bellebonne, Clover Hill and Kreglinger, or maybe a glass or two of Taittinger.

Still wines range from locals Stargazer, Hughes & Hughes and Sinapius to national favourites like Rockford, Tomfoolery and Ochota Barrels.

Imports include Domaine Jean Dauvissat Chablis and Domaine Vincent Paris Crozes-Hermitage. There is also a reserve list (at extra charge) for those who really want to give the credit card a nudge.

The menu highlights dishes like white soy-braised abalone with apple and pork glaze. or perhaps seared Stanley Bay scallops with roasted capsicum, parsley and macadamia, or maybe Robbins Island wagyu beef tartare. Your menu choices can be as serious, or as casual as you feel.

The included experiences feature donning a pair of waders for a visit to Freycinet Marine Farm; an immersive experience where you taste freshly shucked oysters straight from the lease and enjoy in situ, along with a glass of Tassie bubbles. Or perhaps learn all about bee-keeping and honey production, meet up with some Tasmanian Devils or go kayaking and bird watching on Pelican Bay.

The informed staff are excellent at suggesting local walks (exploring Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay) and other experiences, and you can relax afterwards in the spa, or your plunge pool.

I’m sold – and saving up for my next Saffire experience (truth be told it is way outside my usual price range). But the experience here is as good as at the best New Zealand luxury lodges.

For details and bookings see


So you and 39 of your closest friends have a special occasion that you would like to celebrate in serious style? 

How about the most indulgent hotel package in Australia for a cool $49,999 per night? 

Ovolo Hotels, an award-winning boutique designer hotel collection, has just launched Grey Goose Hotel By Ovolo – a collaboration between The Inchcolm in Brisbane and Grey Goose vodka. 

It is billed as being ideal for a corporate retreat, an indulgent gathering with friends or an intimate wedding. 

The deal includes accommodation for 40 people, a Grey Goose martini tower and five-hour beverage package, followed by a three-course dinner crafted by chef Ian Curley or MasterChef winner Diana Chan to the sounds of a live jazz band or DJ.

“This event is the perfect marriage of luxury accommodation combined with an elevated drinking and dining experience,” says Andrea Gualdi, beverage creative director for Ovolo Hotels. 

Guests will also have the opportunity to experience an intimate Martini Masterclass with Grey Goose’s Australian Brand Ambassador, learn how to shuck an oyster and indulge in the world of caviar with one of the world’s best producers of caviar, Simon Johnson. 

Find out more information at: