When you’re out and about on holiday, soaking up the sights, sounds and excitement of your chosen destination, there’s nothing more disappointing than retiring to a hotel room that looks out onto a car park. Starting now, the scenery is all pristine beaches, valley vistas, soaring city skylines and other picture-perfect sights. Do peruse these rooms with views while planning your next weekend break, but be warned: you might spend the whole trip inside your retreat. With scenery like this, who could blame you?
Kings Beach Retreats, Kings Head
In a place such as the Fleurieu Peninsula, it can be hard to choose: kick back and enjoy the transcendent charms of the natural environment, or get out amongst it and savour the plentiful produce arising from it.
There’s no decision necessary at Kings Beach Retreat; it offers both. Close to local wineries, restaurants, cafes, farmers’ markets, farm gates and the boutiques of local artisans, it’s a perfect base from which to explore the attractions of the Fleurieu Peninsula.
And when you’re ready to sink into relaxation, the property affords phenomenal 360-degree views of the rugged Waitpinga coast and beyond.
The property comprises three architectural accommodation options: the Main House that sleeps up to 13, and for couples, the Sea Retreat and Sand Retreat, the latter able to fit small families.
All are connected to a private access track to sheltered Kings Beach as well as being a short walk to the Heysen Trail, an extraordinary coastal hike.
The Retreat at Chapel Hill Winery, McLaren Vale
The lofty edges of Onkaparinga Gorge make for one of the most spectacular drives in South Australia.
Encased in the lushly forested Onkaparinga National Park, it nuzzles up to McLaren Vale’s undulating vineyards and rustic beauty.
Located right where the two meet, Chapel Hill Winery is not only blessed with bountiful terroir, but also beguiling vistas. And Visitors can soak it in, from the wondrous vantage point of The Retreat at Chapel Hill, a stone-built villa atop the hill.
A destination in itself, The Retreat at Chapel Hill sleeps up to 14 and features a huge open plan living area with cinematic window expanses framing views of the vineyards and bush land.
Beyond it a sprawling deck is the ideal place to watch the sun set over the vines, a photographer’s dream.
It’s a magic base from which to explore nearby wineries, walk, fish, canoe or rock climb in the park. Several times a year, The Retreat hosts cooking classes, in which guests create their own meal to enjoy with Chapel Hill wines before retiring to the property’s simple, elegant and comfortable bedrooms.
LifeTime Retreats, Kangaroo Island
Brother and sister duo, Nick and Rachel Hannaford are passionate about Kangaroo Island, investing their creativity into ensuring visitors come away with the same love of this special part of South Australia.
The Hannafords run LifeTime Retreats, a collection of elegantly relaxed beach houses, each in a unique location with views to die for.
The Cliff House, overlooking the white half-moon sand and jeweled waters washing into the cove of Snelling’s Beach, has an amazing circular tower bedroom with a panoramic window looking out to sea and an outdoor cliff-edge Jacuzzi in a corner of a terrace positioned perfectly for the view. There are stairs leading directly down to the beach.
The Sky House is a couple’s roost that affords a breathtaking panorama of Kangaroo Island’s rolling pasture leading down to the hypnotic curves of the coast and the sapphire ocean beyond. Sheoaks is similarly lofty, with an uninterrupted seaside and pastoral backdrop, sleeping seven.
Families love Settler’s Homestead, a three-bedroom home with huge windows letting in the bush-and-beach aspect.
Antechamber Bay retreats, Kangaroo Island
Antechamber Bay Retreats is a taste of traditional Kangaroo Island life. It’s on Creek Bay Farm, once home to whaler and sealer Nat Thomas and his Aboriginal wife Betsy and a remarkable parcel of land: 1400 hectares all up, 900 of still working farmland and nearly 500 of bush, edged by 4km of private beach, 3km of Kangaroo Island coast and 7km of boundary with the national park.
For more than 15 years, the Gilfillan family has welcomed guests to the property just outside the town of Penneshaw, hosting them in two secluded retreats: Nat's and The Kona. Both are positioned on the farm to make the most of awe-inspiring seascapes. The views are uninterrupted – except for maybe grazing kangaroos and sheep.
The Kona overlooks Antechamber Bay and Backstairs Passage, with Cape St Albans and Cape Couts in frame. Virtually every room of the solid stone National Trust listed Nat’s Retreat looks across the bay, with a wraparound verandah enticing inhabitants outdoors.
Gum Creek Station, Flinders Ranges
To be able to take your time and immerse in the rugged 540 million-year-old landscape of the Flinders Ranges is to experience something awe-inspiring. There’s an unsurpassed magnificence to this country, which changes from minute to minute as the sun moves across its mighty rock formations and wildlife drifts across the face of it.
Gum Creek Lodge offers the unforgettable experience of staying in the heart of this extraordinary ancient land. The landholding stretches along the northern boundary of the Flinders Ranges National Park and the guest lodge is strategically positioned on a ridge top near the homestead to capture a peaceful outlook over a valley of river red gums and native pines.
By day, hike, bike or drive along ridges and out across 200 square kilometres of private country to see a seemingly unending array of dramatic outback scenes. And at night, witness an altogether different view, but one just as spectacular: a dazzling sky full of stars uninterrupted by any human interference.
The lodge itself is a handsome, site-appropriate piece of architecture, with open fireplace, wood fired pizza oven and luxury comforts powered by a solar/wind system and rainwater.
Birks Harbour Marina and Luxury Retreats, Fleurieu Peninsula
Beguiling Goolwa at the mouth of the mighty Murray River has many charms; many of them to do with the water. This historic river port town is storybook perfect in its gentle character that almost seems to belong to another time. It hosts a biennial Wooden Boat Festival and attracts vintage boat and water sport lovers year round.
Capturing the allure of this peaceful, picturesque enclave, Birks Harbour Marina is a luxury retreat where time falls away and all there is to do is enjoy aquatic glory and exquisite gardens.
The property dates back to the early 1900s when Napier Birks, a chemist from Adelaide created his private marina and waterfront home, indulging in his passions for gardening and boats.
Today, the property offers guests two separate Birks River Retreats in the original house and The Boathouse, an open-plan romantic haven with absolute frontage to the marina and its historic wooden boats tinkling in the tide. All are sublimely decorated in period and nautical theme.
Stoke the wood fire, relax in the claw foot bath with a book, or sip a special South Australian wine on the expansive deck as you soak up that gorgeous view. You can even take a dip in the shared swimming pool.
Mount Lofty House, Adelaide Hills
You only need to head 15 minutes out of Adelaide for South Australian wine country beauty in super abundance.
Mount Lofty House exemplifies it, encapsulating all that is famous about the Adelaide Hills: sublime vineyards, heritage architecture, exemplary hospitality and cinematic vistas.
The MGallery property dates from 1852 when it was established as the summer home for the famous Hardy family. Today, it’s a much-loved boutique hotel and restaurant, hosting weddings, special occasions and guests seeking a genteel stay combined with outstanding South Australian cuisine and wines.
Then there’s the view, over manicured gardens, rosebushes, treetops, and hedges, and vineyards, across the patchwork valley below. Balconies, verandahs, lawns and other vantage points invite guests, South Australian wine in hand, to gaze at length across the majestic Piccadilly Valley.
Top the day with sunrise yoga on the lawn and tale with a port on a starlit portico.
Adelaide Luxury Beach House, Henley Beach
There are many unique characteristics about Adelaide that make it such a fantastic city to visit.
But one of its most enviable is its proximity to so many different environments. Within a short radius you can find bushland, wine country, farm gates, hip suburbs and stunning seaside villages.
Henley Beach is only 10km out of the city and offers jaw dropping coastal outlooks across the Gulf St Vincent and Southern Ocean.
Adelaide Luxury Beach House captures a stunning slice of that, and, amazingly, this example of the kind of accommodation usually reserved for well-heeled residents, is available to visitors.
Covering 300 square metres, and easily accommodating 12 people, there’s no less than five outdoor areas and an ocean view that is unsurpassed. Find multiple living areas and super comfortable, relaxed lounging in a luxury villa designed for stylish holidaymaking.
Even the back of the house offers an outlook. It frames an evocative slice of the Adelaide Hills.
Clare View Accommodation, Clare Valley
Ideally located in the small but perfectly formed Clare Valley wine region, guests rave about Clare View Accommodation. The property affords 360-degree views, an excellent vantage for both sunrises and sunsets across the picturesque Clare.
It comprises two separate houses, 150m apart: Clare View House that sleeps eight across three bedrooms and two bathrooms; and Clare View Cottage which sleeps four across two bedrooms, each with their own bathroom. Or groups can take the whole property, an ideal scenario for special occasions and family holidays.
The accommodation is set on 11 hectares atop the higher vantages of the Clare Valley, where alpacas, cows and sheep roam.
It’s quiet, serene and secluded – your only interlopers will be kangaroos and native birds. It may be hard to leave – but another great feature of the property is its proximity to the Clare Valley Riesling Trail. You need only go 3km to join it. So organise bicycles for all.
Ibis Adelaide, Adelaide
A game changer and flagship for the global brand, Adelaide’s funky ibis hotel has five-star views. Snaffle the right room, and you’ll be looking out over the Adelaide Hills in uninterrupted fashion.
Regardless, the cityscapes afforded by this smart, stylish hotel are photograph-worthy.
Compact, highly functional and cutting-edge stylish rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows that connect visitors to a cool sector of the city and beyond to the hills. This is a remarkably well-designed hotel that feels like an event stay despite its budget price tag.
No view from your room? The Ibis Kitchen, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and the adjacent bar are connected to a roomy terrace that captures the Grenfell Street aspect as well as glimpses to the hills.
But do see if you can snaffle a corner Queen Superior Room , located fifth floor and above, for those stunning Adelaide Hills views.