A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published January 27th 2016
A little bit of luxury in Olinda
My partner Dave and I recently decided to splurge a little for a joint birthday celebration. After extensive internet searches and scrutiny of reviews, we chose Woolrich Garden Retreat, located at 20 Woolrich Road, Olinda for an indulgent two-night stay.
Based on our online search, the aspects that particularly appealed about Woolrich Garden Retreat were that there seemed to be quite a lot of inclusions with the tariff (more on that below), the location - a short distance from Monbulk-Olinda Road - suggested it would be quiet, it was fully self-contained, and it was situated right next to the delightful Cloudehill Nursery and Gardens.
We stayed on Thursday and Friday nights, arriving around 9pm on our first evening. Shortly after our arrival, there was a knock on the door from our host, Chess, just checking in to make sure we had everything we needed and to say we were welcome to knock on the door if we had any questions.
To explain the set up, the Garden Retreat has been built under the main house. When I say 'under', the house is set on a slope, so the Retreat has its own terraced outlook over a balcony to the gardens. It's accessed by a separate entrance, and is otherwise completely separated from the house. A visit from Chess on the first night was the only time we saw anyone from the house - it really is a private retreat.
The first thing you notice are all the little touches. For instance, there's a carafe of port, a bottle of sparkling wine in the fridge, a fire set if we need it (we don't), fruit in a bowl, sweet biscuits - all included in the tariff. Moving to the bedroom, there are fluffy robes and slippers for our use, chocolates on the bedside tables and a range of pillows (soft to hard) to choose from.
The kitchen has everything one needs to happily prepare meals, including a convection stove, microwave and dishwasher. We quickly master the coffee maker (coffee pods are provided).
The kitchen is well equipped and the fridge well stocked with breakfast goodies
Breakfast is also included and we check the fridge to see what's on offer. There are lashings of bacon, sausages, eggs and many other breakfast favourites, plus a big cob of fresh home-made bread, butter etc.
We quickly settle in, and the quiet surroundings and comfortable king sized bed (which can be split into two singles for twin share) ensure a good night's sleep.
The next morning we were able to explore the gardens around the Retreat. They were full of pretty flowers, thriving in the cooler, wetter Olinda climate. It was a great place to take some photos.
Woolrich has its own stunning gardens, or walk next door to Cloudehill
There is an adjoining gate into Cloudehill (free entry for Woolrich guests), and while we intended to go for an amble in the grounds, the weather had other ideas. Alas the heavens opened and it rained and rained and rained. This gave us the opportunity to explore what else there was to do within the cottage. Fortunately there are various games and a selection of CDs and DVDs. We opted to play Monopoly - something neither of us had done since we were teenagers.
There was another way to while away some time - and that was in the delightful double spa bath. This is a generous sized tub, situated under a lovely picture window. Wallowing in the tub while the rain continued to pour down outside felt like a wicked luxury.
The large double spa is flanked by this beautiful picture window
We had planned to go out for dinner on the second night we were there (as there are numerous restaurants just a short drive away), but with the rain continuing to fall, decided against it. After all, we were still working our way through the breakfast provisions!
I was very impressed by Woolrich Garden Retreat. It feels like the owners have provided every little thing they can to make it a comfortable stay. It was clear a lot of though had gone into the lay out and fit out of the property. I'd love to go back - preferably in better weather! Highly recommended. Click here to make a booking.
For an extra charge, you can arrange to have a gourmet antipasto platter delivered. Massages can also be arranged.
A couple of things to note: Woolrich is smoke free and does not allow pets. Please also note there is a second building on the property - the Woolrich Cottage. This is a restored 1920s cottage with two bedrooms, and is separate from the main house. The tariff starts from $265 per night.
The images in this article were taken by the writer. They are not to be reproduced in any form without the express permission of WeekendNotes.