The Mornington Peninsula, about an hour’s drive south of Melbourne, boasts cinematic ocean vistas, exciting small vineyards and some of Australia’s best-regarded farms, but, surprisingly for all its attractions, enticing accommodation has, until now, been in short supply.
Set dramatically atop a ridgeline amongst Willow Creek’s 11-hectare vineyard, the 46-room Jackalope is the debut project of 29-year-old entrepreneur, Louis Li. Owing to his background in filmmaking, the hotel – a low-slung angular building by local firm Carr Design Group – reveals Li’s theatrical bent with an inky colour scheme that is topped by artist Emily Floyd’s 7m tall sculpture of a jackalope, the mythical jackrabbit with antelope horns, after which the hotel takes its name.
Melbourne-based Carr Design Group, has taken the brief to the extreme, with moody ebony hues that are revealed through black-painted walls, deep-soak Japanese bath tubs, muted furnishings by local outfit Zuster and outside, an inky 30m infinity pool that overlooks the vineyard and the adjoining yoga lawn.
There is Rare Hare, an immersive casual restaurant, but Doot Doot Doot could well be the hotel’s highlight: the four- or eight-course degustation menus lean heavily on Mornington Peninsula produce and are artfully prepared by chef Guy Stanaway, a former star at the luxe Aman resorts. The 1200-bottle cellar only includes wines from vineyards 11 hectares or smaller, while the adjacent cocktail bar, Flaggerdoot, is decked out with furniture by fashion iconoclast Rick Owens among others.