Sometimes in the depths of winter, when various versions of 'man-flu' are getting you down, and there seems no end to the cold and wet, a brief getaway with your partner can be all the medicine you need.
Recently The Husband and I were lucky enough to do exactly that, and spent a magic 27 hours (yes, we were counting) away from the children and all normal weekend responsibilities, at the delightful Bayside Retreat Mt Eliza.
Located a mere 45 minutes or so from home, we set off around noon on the Saturday and had arrived at Mt Eliza village in time for lunch at The Village Pantry
The gluten-free diet was ditched for the occasion, as we feasted on large homemade sausage rolls and salad. The indulgence was worth the guilt, so much so that we continued on to share home made carrot cake.
The Village Pantry is a big, warm and inviting space decorated with blonde wood and white walls. Tables, bench seats and couches compete for space with the long counter that proudly displays all the mouth-watering options available.
Once sated from our lunch, we took the quick drive to our retreat.
As you turn into the driveway and drive up through the beautiful gardens, you feel as if you have arrived at someone's English country estate.
Our hosts, Jutta and Charles Portelli, who live in the main (read: very large) house to which the retreat is attached, are there to welcome us and show us our accommodation.
The Portelli's have converted the retreat from it's previous life as a somewhat dated 70's granny-flat by hand themselves, and should be justifiably proud of the finished product.
The apartment consists of a large open kitchen / living / dining area, bedroom and decadent bathroom.
Meticulous attention has been paid to detail in the design and furnishing of the apartment.
Jutta's German heritage is obvious (every appliance is Miele, from the hidden dishwasher and fridge to the vacuum cleaner) and sits very comfortably along side the furniture which is all from Australian designers such as Tide (Dining Table and Bedside Tables) and Zuster Design (Coffee Tables)
The three seater 'Arthur G' couch immediately called out to me, and after quickly unpacking I spent the rest of the afternoon happily perched on it, reading the Saturday papers and enjoying the view out to the lush gardens.
It was so quiet at the retreat, we sometimes wondered if we were the only people around for miles. We certainly didn't see or hear the Portelli's- although there was a whiz-bang fancy intercom that we could have used to call them if we needed them.
Which in retrospect, we should have used. And here is my only note of caution – make sure you ask Jutta to explain how to work the hydronic heaters. We were so busy taking in the beauty of the apartment that we didn't listen properly to her explanation, and suffered during a hot evening in bed!
There are wonderful individual touches scattered throughout the apartment, from the handmade (and designed by Jutta) headboard in the bedroom, to the renaissance inspired kitchen splash back that it is an artwork in of itself.
The TV is cleverly recessed into the wall to look less like a TV and more like a painting, and the bathroom mirror has special adjustable lighting, which is perfect for those needing major work before heading out to dinner.
The shower head in the large, light filled bathroom with it's outlook onto yet more lovely gardens and the tennis court, is one of those fancy 'rain head' ones.
The resulting shower was one of the best and most relaxing showers I have had in a long time. So much so that I stayed in much longer than is normal for me, or strictly necessary.
Mt Eliza has a number of dining options within easy reach of the retreat, and we choose Three Wild Ducks for dinner.
While the food was good, if not great, and did take over an hour for our main courses to arrive (for which the maître'd humbly apologized and provided free French buzz to compensate), we enjoyed the energy of the place, which was completely full.
For breakfast on Sunday we dined in, as it seemed such a waste not to enjoy the lovely kitchen. We sat at the 'Tide' dining table with the spongy chairs and feasted on yet more of the serenity.
Our brief getaway was rounded out by a drive to Mornington and stroll along the cliffs enjoying the bracing sea winds.
When we eventually (and reluctantly) arrived home, we were recharged and ready to tackle that man-flu head on.
If you are looking for a weekend retreat, then for readers of this review, Jutta offers a special discounted price of $130 per night (discounted from the normal $160), two-night minimum.