Avid trail runner, freelance writer and a mother of four with a healthy obsession for the great outdoors. Join me in my discoveries along the Mornington Peninsula and further afield by subscribing to my articles.
Published June 6th 2019
Relax in your own private spa in the Dandenong Ranges
Nothing beats a cosy weekend away over the cool winter months, and especially so in the picturesque Dandenong Ranges. I find it's a great place to really relax and take some time out of our everyday life, without having the hassle of travelling too far from home.
And as it just so happened, my gorgeous kids (husband) surprised me with a gift voucher for a one night stay in the Dandenong Ranges at a place the 'kids picked out'... Well, it was a Mother's Day gift anyhow!
With 4 children to coordinate, managing to find a birthday party free, sports free, event-free day on the calendar was a bit of a task. But we managed to arrange one, and have the kids taken care of to book in for the weekend just gone. It was cold, wintery, and just perfect for a cosy weekend away!
The surprise accommodation was in fact Japanese Slipper B&B located in Upwey. The location is roughly 12km from the top of Mount Dandenong, or if it's easier to determine the location coming from Melbourne, it's 34 km south-east of Melbourne and 2 km west of Belgrave. Roughly a 50 min drive from the CBD.
The accommodation is not located within walking distance to the main shops, so you will need to drive into Upwey or Belgrave for the closest restaurants and cafes. But don't worry, there are heaps of great ones to choose from in the area! Or if you prefer to have dinner delivered, there were a heap of takeaway food pamphlets provided by the accommodation hosts.
The solid entrance doors through to our spa and room
Check in was anytime from 3pm, though I did notice that an earlier check-in could be pre-arranged depending on the availability of the suite. Although the accommodation website stated that it was self check-in, a host was quick to greet us and show us the ins and outs of our accommodation for the night.
The style of the accommodation was probably not something I would've personally chosen (for no particular reason other than I usually stick with airy, light and bright rooms), but in saying that it, I think it's always good to try something different too! The Aka suite, the smaller of the two available, was simple, clean, and had everything that we needed for a night.
The location was a bit of a surprise too! My mind naturally associated Olinda, Sassafrass, Sherbrooke, Mount Dandenong and so on with B&B accommodation in the Dandenongs. So I didn't assume Upwey at all! Upwey, however, is within a stone's throw of all these popular towns, and it's actually a great spot to explore the nearby town of Belgrave at night!
And that's exactly what we did...We went to the Cameo cinemas in Belgrave, which is a lovely art deco cinema built in 1935, to watch the latest release movie (I highly recommend doing this if you stay here!). The cinema has an irreplaceable old world charm, and it was clearly the place to be on the night. Locals and visitors were there in droves, the vibe was great, lots of laughter, plenty of wine flowing and popcorn popping.
The basic kitchenette with microwave, electric frypan, toaster and kettle
Afterwards, we grabbed some soup from Woolworths to take back to the accommodation to warm up for dinner. I know it doesn't sound all that appealing on a night away, but earlier we had eaten a big lunch, late in the day after a walk through the Tim Neville Arboretum, and really enjoyed warming up in front of an open fire at the lovely Olinda Cafe. Oh, and I was super keen to get back to our accommodation to make the most of a hot spa on a cool night!
Two things that I particularly love on a getaway in winter are an open fireplace and a hot spa! The accommodation didn't have a fireplace, but both of the suites available here have their own private spa.
Breakfast staples that were supplied by the hosts included: half a loaf of Baker's Delight bread, 6 eggs, 2 tomatoes, a homebrand pack of bacon rashers, 1ltr of Berri orange juice, and a carton of milk.
Instead of eating in, we decided to head back into Belgrave and ended up at Bensons Cafe.