The iconic food and wine retreat on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula has a stylish new look that oozes modern elegance
Surrounded by magnificent rambling gardens studded with iceberg roses, banks of pink petunias, manicured hedges and conifers standing sentinel, Lindenderry at Red Hill has undergone a beautiful metamorphosis.
Located in the heart of the Mornington Peninsula, just a one-hour drive from Melbourne, the 40-bedroom, elegant country bolthole has shed its outdated look from when it opened 20 years ago in favour of a sleek revamp – think country chic with attitude.
Julian Clark, CEO of the family-owned, Melbourne-based Lancemore Group that includes Lindenderry, describes it as a “reincarnation” and a contemporary fusion of European country hotel design with a distinctly Australian touch.
Step inside and you not only see the difference but feel it too; there’s a vibrancy to match the fresh look that’s espoused by new general manager, Carl Forrest, formerly of the Lancemore-managed Yarra Valley Lodge, the award-winning Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld and the Art Series Hotel Group.
The multi-million-dollar refurbishment by leading Australian design team Hecker Guthrie is all-encompassing from the suites to the common areas, restaurant and bar.
Nature in all its glory has been the inspiration with subtle hues of grey, green and blue informing the decor throughout the white-washed, low-rise property nestled among almost 14 hectares of sprawling gardens, woodlands and vines.
Strategically placed picture windows provide garden glimpses that remind you to slow down, indulge your senses and savour the serenity.
Indulging is made easy in the chic accommodations. Astute attention to detail runs through the suites, dressed in soft grey, green and taupe, and four communal spaces including the luxurious, curved Peninsula lounge, library, billiards lounge and indoor pool.
Art and nature blend seamlessly with a John Peart painting from Lancemore founder Jan Clark’s private art collection and other notable pieces gracing the walls.
The Courtyard, Linden, Garden and Balcony wings offer different views of the stunning property. My spacious Garden Suite exudes luxe touches including a marble-framed fireplace, soft buttery leather sofa, a writing desk and a bed that’s hard to leave. But pull back the curtains and the garden and lake beckon. The sleek bathroom has a generous tub with quality bath products and fluffy towels and robes.
Feeling peckish? The minibar stocks award-winning Lindenderry Chardonnay, local Bass & Flinders gin, and Red Hill Pilsner along with home-grown artisanal products.
Executive chef Paul Witherington, formerly of London’s Soho House and Port Phillip Estate, creates magic with hand-selected seasonal produce, offering a choice of à la carte and five-course tasting menus.
Overlooking the vines and rose courtyard, The Dining Room features a soothing moss green and taupe decor with specially-crafted blonde timber furniture and curved- back chairs. It’s spacious but cosy with a fire for chilly days and nights.
Witherington says he’s spoilt for choice when it comes to quality local produce. “Our location means we have access to the most incredible produce from fresh seafood to artisan cheese and chocolatiers to olive groves; I aim to serve clever food that celebrates the local produce, exudes metropolitan chic and, at the same time, epitomises the country comfort guests crave,” he says.
Menu standouts include duck liver parfait with Lindenderry Pinot Noir jelly, zucchini pickle and brioche, while the squid ink pasta with Flinders mussels, calamari and goat’s curd, and the roasted quail with creamed corn, chorizo and consommé also deserve praise.
Don’t leave without trying the indulgent white chocolate panna cotta, lemon sponge and delectable lavender ice cream. The service is excellent and informed, and the 200-bottle wine list boasts local, national and international drops.
Rows of manicured chardonnay, blanc de blanc and pinot noir vines form a postcard backdrop to the onsite Lindenderry Wines.
The rustic cellar door, rated five stars by James Halliday of Wine Companion fame, offers a chance to sip and savour some top drops produced by talented winemaker Barney Flanders including an excellent hand-sorted Grampians shiraz.
A paddle of signature vintages complements the wood-fired pizzas including the San Marzano tomato and buffalo mozzarella with basil, and the roast pumpkin and blue cheese. For a sweet finale, wood-roasted scones with house-made jam and cream and the famous Mornington choc tops with chocolate, rock salt and caramel are fabulous.
Outside, wander through arched-wooded groves that look like fairy haunts and pass lily-strewn ponds and banks of hydrangeas or venture to the lake where fish make a splash at random.
Feeling energetic? There’s tennis and croquet on offer, but if you just want to take it easy, order a picnic hamper, spread out the rug and soak up the beautiful surrounds.
Lindenderry offers a romantic luxury getaway with a touch of glamour and is the ideal base to explore Mornington Peninsula’s thriving world-class food and wine scene. But from the minute you turn into the pretty tree-lined drive, Lindenderry’s country charm is seductive and you may well want to stay put – now that the metamorphosis is complete.