There has never been a better time to explore our country and with international borders closed, Australian travellers are discovering exciting new experiences closer to home.

Mount Lofty House, Australia’s most awarded hotel in 2019, will welcome the return of interstate guests from July 20. The 30-acre estate in the Adelaide Hills offers the luxury of space, privacy and exclusivity. Known for its spectacular rolling hills and super-premium wine and produce, the region is quickly becoming a popular choice for Australians looking for an escape from everyday life.

Locally owned and operated, Mount Lofty House is ideally located within an hour of the five finest wine regions in Australia – Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Eden and Clare Valleys. With the airport only 30 minutes away, a trip door to door from Sydney or Melbourne will take less time than the Hunter or Yarra Valleys.

A bastion for old-fashioned hospitality, guests feel like celebrities from the moment they arrive; so much so they often ask if the hotel has mistaken them for someone else. The team at the Gatsby-esque estate contact each guest before they arrive to craft a bespoke itinerary.

Mount Lofty’s Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant is rated the number one fine dining restaurant in South Australia on TripAdvisor and was named best restaurant in a hotel in Australia at both the 2019 Australian Hotels Association National Awards & HM Awards. Gault Millau and the Australian Good Food Guide awarded the restaurant 3 Hats and named Hardy’s the state’s number one restaurant. Executive chef Jin Choi celebrates local produce, grown and foraged onsite and from the nearby Hills delivering a Valley to Verandah experience.

The cuisine is matched by a 5000-bottle wine list stored in the estate’s 170-year-old sandstone cellar. Curated by Head Sommelier Liinaa Berry, the wine list was named the finest in the state and rated 3 GlassesArthur Waterhouse Cocktail Lounge is the perfect place to start or finish the evening and was this year recognised as best Small Bar in South Australia.

“Our brand is all about celebrating special moments, human connection and making people feel special, which is more important now than ever, so we have worked hard to maintain that magical experience,” General Manager Jesse Kornoff says. “We have taken the opportunity of COVID to further improve our already exemplary guest experience, putting us in a unique position to provide the highest levels of luxury while guests can take time out.”

The hotel has worked with health experts to revise every one of its procedures to ensure they meet the highest standard of COVID-safe processes, while ensuring guests are only aware of these measures if they are looking for them.

Sequoia Lodge update

Separate to the original house with its own dedicated guest relations team and secure entrance to attract VIP guests, Sequoia will offer the ultimate six-star experience and be the first of its kind on mainland Australia.

A temporary pause in construction on the estate’s new super-luxe offering, Sequoia, because of government restrictions will now see the $15m lodge officially open in November.

Work is continuing on the luxury lodge’s guest reception and lounge, breakfast room, gardens, sundeck and natural spring-fed hot pools which will form a secluded sanctuary with uninterrupted panoramic views across the patchwork Piccadilly Valley.

Named after the three giant Californian Redwood trees planted by the original owner Arthur Hardy, Sequoia guests will have access to all of the property’s lavish amenities including Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant, Arthur Waterhouse Lounge and Stables Day Spa.

Guest will be able to choose from luxury bespoke experiences that celebrate South Australian stories that are not available to the general public. Food and wine feature centre stage – think lunch with some of the country’s top winemakers, a back vintage tasting of their icon wines and hosted behind the scenes tours.

Guests can get up close and personal with some of SA’s strongest luxury brands, tour the RM Williams factory in their own personalized pair of boots, or visit the nearby Jurlique farm where all the guest amenities available in Sequoia are sourced.

Nature will also be a key aspect of guest experiences with the surrounding Mount Lofty Ranges currently being considered as a UNESCO World Heritage site, in addition to having one of the country’s largest koala populations.

Connecting with the estate’s history and that of the original custodians of the land, another highlight for Sequoia guests will be the twilight valley-rim campfire experience where they can enjoy a glass of Adelaide Hills Pinot while listening to local Indigenous stories.