Review: Jackalope Mornington Peninsula is an escape into extravagance

Barely an hour from Melbourne lies an uncorked gem for oenophiles and sybarites, near and far.

Overall Rating

By Sid Raja , January 12 2023
Jackalope Mornington Peninsula is an escape into extravagance
Country

Australia

City

Mornington Peninsula

Hotel

Jackalope Mornington Peninsula

Rating

5 Star

Room

Vineyard Room

Notes
The Good
  • Relaxing, tranquil environment
  • Free minibar and popcorn on tap
  • World-class food and wine
The Bad
  • Nothing of note
X-Factor
  • Infinity pool overlooking the vineyard
Location
Rooms
Meals
Overall

Introduction

Australia is renowned for the delicious diversity of its wine regions; its various subclimates contributing to the specialised formulation of crisp whites, rich reds and mesmerising rosés.

Each area and its cellar doors are bastions of indulgence, and the accommodations many proffer within are just as exceptional  among them Jackalope Mornington Peninsula, one of the crown jewels of Australia’s winery hotel scene.

Nestled within 27 acres at Willow Creek Vineyard, Jackalope is a juxtaposition of sultry rooms, darkened corridors and neon lights, gazing out to row upon row of vines draped across the property.

Location & Impressions

Tucked away amidst the rolling hills and expansive plains of Victoria’s thriving Mornington Peninsula, just over an hour from Melbourne, this stylish 42-room hotel offers a luxurious interlude between excursions to the sheltered beaches, natural hot springs and national parks for which the region is famed.

Breathe in the crisp regional air for an instant hit of relaxation.
Breathe in the crisp regional air for an instant hit of relaxation.

The hotel itself is an easy sell: the low-slung angular avant-garde building blending contemporary urban style with a laid-back rustic setting.

Its elevated hilltop position offers vineyard views of the provincial region, home to world-class, cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs.

Walk row after row of vines in various stages of development.
Walk row after row of vines in various stages of development.

Interior design is a core focus of the hotel and is something of an art form.

Speaking of art, there are numerous mysterious, even quizzical, examples of contemporary expressionism dotted around the premises.

The jackalope sculpture is an example of the artwork on display.
The jackalope sculpture is an example of the artwork on display.

These start with a seven-metre-tall jackalope sculpture – a mythical part jackrabbit, part antelope – by Australian artist Emily Floyd.

Inside, the hotel’s creative narrative ‘alchemy’ brings public areas to life with elements of copper and gold, coloured neon and a series of commissions from world renowned artists such as Rick Owens and Rolf Sachs.

Room

Jackalope features four types of accommodations across its 42 rooms, ranging from the 38sqm Vineyard and Terrace Rooms – some including deep-soak Japanese bath tubs – to the expansive 85sqm Lairs Signature Suites. 

Vineyard rooms are among the four room types at Jackalope Mornington Peninsula.
Vineyard rooms are among the four room types at Jackalope Mornington Peninsula.

While all rooms boast private terraces, less than half include views over the vineyard itself. Lower rates and larger terraces compensate the remainder.

Our keys opened the doors to a standard – minus bath tub – Vineyard Room, well appointed with custom furnishings and a classic and moody palette of ivory, black and grey.

Ensuites are spacious, with plenty of room to lay out your belongings.
Ensuites are spacious, with plenty of room to lay out your belongings.

To the right of the entrance is a generous wardrobe housing an iron and ironing board, the safe and a courtesy umbrella, should the heavens decide to open while you’re exploring the grounds.

Ensuites are spacious, open plan and feature a double vanity, heated floor and a sizeable double-headed rain shower, complemented by an excellent selection of bespoke Hunter LAB amenities.

Waking up overlooking the vines is a heavenly way to start the day.
Waking up overlooking the vines is a heavenly way to start the day.

The room opens up to showcase a plush, king-size bed on the left side, tucked between two bedside tables containing the master light switch and a Samsung tablet that provides useful information about the hotel’s amenities, services and highlights of the surrounding area.

The Samsung tablet is also your way to communicate any special requests to hotel staff.
The Samsung tablet is also your way to communicate any special requests to hotel staff.

A luminous sitting area is enhanced by floor-to-ceiling windows which open up the room and allow in plenty of natural light.

The in-room television is a 43-inch flat screen mounted in an diagonal position in the corner. The positioning allows you to enjoy the TV from both the couch and bed. 

Considering the space available, the television was an underwhelming inclusion.
Considering the space available, the television was an underwhelming inclusion.

If you would like to use it, you’ll find local and pay-TV channels along with a menu of complimentary on-demand new release movies available. Combined with the complimentary cinema-style popcorn service, this was a wonder way to relax in the evening. 

The room rate includes daily breakfast served in the upscale ‘Doot Doot Doot’ restaurant, high-speed internet access and a complimentary mini bar loaded and replenished with soft drinks, cider and local beers.

Work

As the home of one of Australia’s leading vineyards, expect many of the hotel’s activities to revolve around a delicious glass of its home-grown wine.

Even on a drizzly day, the pool looks serene and inviting.
Even on a drizzly day, the pool looks serene and inviting.

These include cellar-door crawls and tasting flights to immersion treatments such as a Pinot Grape Skin foot soak and body scrub.

Accentuating the experience is the opportunity to indulge in roasted marshmallows by a crackling fire, glass in hand, or if you’ve had a bigger day, to retire to your suite for a relaxing movie from the on-demand collection, complete with bottomless popcorn.

Jackalope's cellar door houses hundreds of bottles available for tasting.
Jackalope's cellar door houses hundreds of bottles available for tasting.

For a more complete itinerary, Jackalope guests can be carried away on a carefully curated seven-day itinerary which includes personalised introductions to local wine makers and guided tastings at some of the region’s best wineries.

Eat

Breakfast is served à la carte each morning in Doot Doot Doot. Here, guests are invited to choose from a breakfast menu of fresh local fare that goes beyond your usual waffles.

Jackalope's gourmet omelette was perfect in its texture.
Jackalope's gourmet omelette was perfect in its texture.

For dinner, the venue transforms into an upscale destination dining experience, open six nights per week from 6pm with a five-course tasting menu. The wine pairing was both intriguing and delicious and featured both local and international wines.

The restaurant delivers playful dishes beneath a cloud of 10,000 amber globes, which change intensity to mimic bubbling that occurs during the wine fermentation process. 

For guests after a more casual setting, the Rare Hare cellar door-inspired restaurant boasts indoor and outdoor dining with vineyard views.

Doot Doot Doot seats guests around its feature wood-fired oven as a centrepiece.
Doot Doot Doot seats guests around its feature wood-fired oven as a centrepiece.

The venue is centred around a wood-fired oven, which occupies pride of place, enveloped by its 90-strong dining area. It’s open daily for lunch and on Friday and Saturday for dinner.

Flaggerdoot Cocktail Lounge is set in the property’s original 1876 house and has been reborn as the hotel’s bar, sitting at the end of the winding driveway.

Jackalope draws on some of the freshest regional produce in its creations.
Jackalope draws on some of the freshest regional produce in its creations.

It’s the perfect spot for a playful post-dinner drink and an ode to design, where edgy installations, contemporary art and an electric blue pool table backdrops a thoughtfully curated selection of whiskeys, gins and less conventional cocktails.

The hotel also offers a room service menu from midday to 11pm which can also be enjoyed on the terrace.

Relax

Surrounded by fresh air and ambient serenity, Jackalope Mornington Peninsula lends itself to a culture of peace, tranquillity and relaxation. 

Make your own path by exploring beyond a nearby lake.
Make your own path by exploring beyond a nearby lake.

Ideal to catch a couple of hours of sun, the hotel’s private pool deck boasts two options in the form of a very instagrammable 30-metre infinity pool overlooking the vines, with a heated spa to caress the muscles.

For an extra touch of relaxation, massage services headline a selection of face and body treatments available either in room or in a poolside spa pavilion, which is also bookable for private dining experiences. 

If you'd prefer to eat al fresco, take them to an available spot on the terrace.
If you'd prefer to eat al fresco, take them to an available spot on the terrace.

If exercise is what you’re after, there are yoga sessions offered every Monday morning through summer as well as several nearby hiking trails to enjoy scenic walks along Victoria’s natural landscapes. There's no gym on site, but the hotel can organise for access to a local one 10 minutes drive away. 

Verdict

Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne despite being barely an hour in the car.

Rooms at Jackalope are spacious and a perfect retreat after a day exploring the region.
Rooms at Jackalope are spacious and a perfect retreat after a day exploring the region.

But once you leave the city behind, the lush green horizons awaken your senses and transform your mind.

Whether you’re craving poolside glamour with a backsplash of sunset, an intimate suite overlooking the infinite vineyards of one of Australia’s best wine regions, fine dining set to a natural soundtrack or a regional canvas to explore, there’s a room at the Jackalope Mornington Peninsula with your name on it.

The writer stayed as a guest of Jackalope Mornington Peninsula.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Aug 2017

Total posts 7

Restaurant there is great. But you can do it on a day trip from Melbourne. Eye-watering expensive accommodation. Not great value.. 

07 May 2019

Total posts 9

Stayed there twice. Worth every cent! 


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