Treat your loved one to a getaway at one of these romantic stays. From a cosy retreat designed to help you unwind to an alpine escape with an irresistible outdoor bath and an ultra-cool city stay, these hotels are sure to impress.
Extraordinary bath: Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, Cradle Mountain, Tas
There are few things more alluring than steam rising off an open-air bath in the alpine wilderness. At the quietly luxurious Cradle Mountain Lodge, the premium King Billy Suites have a bubbling spa built into a private timber deck – just the ticket for relaxing, stargazing and spotting the wildlife that calls this World Heritage landscape home.
There’s another deep soaking tub inside the rustic-chic cabins, along with everything you need to fortify against blasts of cold come autumn and winter – including a double-sided log fire, mohair throws and a sumptuously dressed four-poster bed.
Perched on the edge of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, this relaxed stay lets its location do the talking. A boardwalk links each cabin to the main lodge, with its welcoming communal areas, and as you return from dining on Tasmanian produce in the Highland Restaurant each evening, you’re likely to encounter wombats, wallabies and other native critters.
The network of surrounding wilderness trails will let you stretch your legs a little or a lot. Choose your own adventure, safe in the knowledge that your haven awaits after a day of hiking. The cabins are TV-free zones and wi-fi is reserved for the lodge’s common areas only; all the better for surrendering to soul-affirming nature without distractions beyond a glass of local wine from the minibar.
Extraordinary bed: Little National Hotel, Canberra, ACT
Sweet dreams are made of this. The bed, tucked into its own cosy nook in front of the floor-to-ceiling window, is the hero of any stay at the Little National Hotel – an exquisite king-sized sanctuary with a mattress so plush, it’s known as the Arms of Morpheus. The cushy set-up gently insists you make extra time in your schedule for curling up with a pot of T2 tea and a good book; in front of a movie (yes, a flat-screen TV is part of this pod); or simply with your special someone.
Cancel all thoughts of setting an alarm – whenever you roll out of bed, there’s no need to go far. Little National delivers all the creature comforts you could need, from quality caffeination at the ground-floor Ritual café to sunset cocktails at the sixth-floor lounge bar, which is warmed by two central fireplaces when it’s wintry and has views of Capital Hill.
When Canberra’s cultural big guns eventually draw you outside, the aesthetic fix of the National Gallery of Australia is an easy 20-minute stroll away, while the vibrant collection of city-leading venues at Hotel Realm across the street covers all bases – including casual burgers at Ostani and upmarket French fare at Buvette Bistro & Wine Bar.
Extraordinary Bar: W Melbourne, Vic
Curious by name, the bar at W Melbourne is equally curious by nature. A world within a world, the subterranean space is accessed via a hidden laneway door behind the hotel’s main entrance at the striking Collins Arch development. Head down the dimly lit spiral staircase to a cocoon-like salon where intimate booths set the scene for a weekend to remember.
The team behind the luxury hotel group’s first Melbourne address – which opened in February – has clearly done its homework on what makes the city tick. From the personality-filled guestrooms to the cocktail menu, the W is a cinematic expression of Melbourne’s creative soul. Look no further than A Curious Ristretto, a play on an Espresso Martini with nutmeg smoke swirling out from beneath a peelable layer of beeswax.
Each suite has its own cocktail bar and is filled with off-beat pieces, like a Ned Kelly helmet reimagined as a faux-fur-lined fascinator. The penthouse, aptly named Extreme WOW, boasts a balcony the size of the average Melbourne apartment and looks out over the city skyline.
A splash in the immense 14th-floor indoor pool, which has its own bar and DJ booth beneath a sweeping mirrored roof, is irresistible. When hunger calls, mod-Oz restaurant Lollo and cosy 30-seater Japanese restaurant Warabi are right downstairs.