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Sequoia Lodge: An opulent escape in the Adelaide Hills

Fine dining, exquisite wines, a luxury homestead and a dreamy setting… Sequoia Lodge has it all, writes Cathy Wagstaff.

Dusk is falling as we approach the vine-lined entrance to Sequoia Lodge, high in the Adelaide Hills. The iron gates open and the grand Mount Lofty House appears before us. The recently built, 14-suite Sequoia shares the site, stretching out in single file along the ridge of the Piccadilly Valley with aerial views over vineyards, villages and bushland.

Our rooms have been readied; the fireplace aglow, ambient lighting and underfloor heating in the bathroom provide a warm welcome.

Impressive interiors

The rooms remind me of Southern Ocean Lodge with the sunken lounge and raised bed. Interiors are, however, taken to a whole new level. With an elevated Albert & Moore bath in prime position next to a glass wall lording over the valley below, ensuring the view is enjoyed from every aspect of the suite. The attention to detail is impressive.

Control panels are employed to do everything from moderate the temperature and select the music to control the lights and raise the TV from the sideboard separating bedroom from lounge. Original paintings by local artist Stephen Trebilcock complement warm timbers and natural stone.

Wining and dining

We dine in the historic Mount Lofty House at the three-hatted Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant, built in 1852 by flamboyant Arthur Hardy as his summer residence. The seven-course degustation is fastidiously matched with wines from around the world by expert sommelier Liinaa Berry.

A parade of exquisite plates are served. Squid, venison, crayfish ravioli, quail, wagyu so good brisket, black Angus tenderloin. The finale: dark chocolate and wattleseed ice cream. Chef Jin Choi favours local producers and vibrant flavours.

lounge room and balcony views at Sequoia Lodge
Lounge and balcony views at Sequoia Lodge

A taste of the Adelaide Hills

As dawn breaks, we enjoy an artisan breakfast in the Sequoia Lounge before heading out on the ‘McLaren Vale Producers’ experience, a 4WD tour with guide Simon Burley. The first stop is the breathtaking Onkaparinga Gorge, which dates back 600 million years and offers lofty views stretching to the coast. We sample wines at three of the finest small vineyards in the region: Bekkers Wine, Samson Tall and Yangarra Estate, and lunch at award-winning Salopian Inn. Dinner that night is ‘The Makers and Somms’ experience offered as an inclusion for all guests.

In an intimate setting hosted by general manager Jesse Kornoff, wine guru Liinaa and local vintners Michael Corbett and Erinn Klein, we discover the process of pairing wine with food, and how to apply this theory at home in a fun, informal atmosphere befitting both wine aficionados and novices.

Grand dreams come true

Sequoia, owned by Malcolm Bean and David Horbelt, is one of the finest luxury lodges in Australia. Service is paramount and natural beauty abundant.

Sight koalas, wallabies and kangaroos, relax in spring-fed hot pools, start your day with sunrise yoga, visit the Gatekeeper’s Day Spa (with products from the local Jurlique farm), enjoy exclusive experiences, and be entertained by mischievous Indigenous elder Mickey O’Brien as he shares the history of the land on which the property sits.

What a stay.

This article originally appeared in volume 41 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine. Subscribe to the latest issue today.