Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Novotel Vines Resort in Perth, Western Australia
Imagine waking up to this, on a cool crisp morning.
Beautiful vines, clear skies, and that calming sunrise. Breathe it all in.
The Vines Resort & Country Club is nestled right in Swan Valley with a championship golf course. You'll be surrounded by native bush, fascinating wildlife and lush trimmed gardens.
It's a Novotel property with 103 resort rooms and 54 condominiums (villas with two or three bedrooms). The 18-year old resort has been refurbished with contemporary accents.
Choose from Resort Style rooms to Deluxe Spa Suites with spa baths, or splurge for Executive Suites. All of these feature individual balconies or open courtyards overlooking the golf course, Darling Ranges or Resort vineyard.
The King size bed is so comfy. We spent two nights here, and it was just a joy to slip under the covers.
As you can tell, the rooms are really spacious. I remember at some hotels, you barely have room to wheel in your luggage. Not here. You could do cartwheels if you wanted.
I discovered this a day too late...mainly because I never switch on the TV. But FREE movies on demand??? And it's a pretty good selection too! Super thumbs up for this; I think all hotels should have free movies and wifi.
The bathroom looks new and very clean. But please bring your own toiletries and toothbrush to help reduce waste. They do have supplies at the concierge should you forget, though.
No bathtub in my room, but oh the rain shower is lovely.
Dinner was at the hotel's Muscats Restaurant, where we were greeted with welcome drinks. Muscats is the all-day dining restaurant, with buffet breakfast and dinner, along with a la carte dining selections.
We began with a platter of Toast, Olive Oil and Dukkah. This dukkah starter we would eventually see at almost every restaurant that we visited. The Middle Eastern mixture of crushed nuts and spices is seriously addictive.
Then we shared some starters.
Sesame crusted tuna with asian greens and roasted soy (AU$17)
Thick slices of fresh tuna well-seared on the outside but still raw within offer contrasting textures and flavours. Look at the effort the chef went to in creating a fence of (wasabi?) cream dollops surrounding the salad bed!
Beef carpaccio with nicoise salad and creamed truffle (AU$18)
This one was really nice with generous shavings of parmesan. The beef slices just melt in your mouth and the salad simply bursts with intense flavours.
The other starters include Confit duck spring roll (AU$20, left) with a delightful mango and coriander salsa and soy caramel; Pickled beetroot (AU$15, upper right) with candied pistachio, goats cheese beignets and rocket; and a Smoked salmon Roulade with cream cheese filling.
The mains are really hearty as per Australian portions.
Crispy Skinned Barramundi (AU$37)
Gorgeous. This was my favourite of the entire menu. The "crispy skin" alone made me order this, and I was well-rewarded. Succulent fresh fish topped by that beautiful salty crunch of skin. This comes with spiced lentils and crocodile popcorn. The two deepfried meatballs were indeed made of crocodile meat, with that unique taste that's part chicken, part game, part fish.
The Seafood Platter (AU$38) features catch-of-the-day, large king prawns, crushed peas, sautéed potato, drizzled with shellfish dressing. They do their seafood pretty well, and I liked the crushed pea accompaniment too.
The Aged Beef Fillet ($39) was lean but tender, grilled beautifully on the outside but still pink within. It comes with a huge wild mushroom ravioli, cauliflower soubise and potato fondant.
We went nuts with dessert: three kinds of Ice cream, Bitter chocolate fondant with yoghurt ice cream and roast banana gel; the Cheese platter; Lemon meringue with sable crumb, raspberry textures and baby meringue; and Mango cheesecake with shortbread crumb, mango gel and toasted white chocolate. All about AU$17 each (cheese platter a bit more).
But if you're going for only one, I highly recommend the Vines Snickers (AU$17). It's a deconstructed Snicker bar with peanut parfait, candied peanut, salt caramel and chocolate soil.
Let me show you more of the resort...
So peaceful and quiet.
The resort is huge with sprawling grounds, and a very pretty golf course.
There are conference and meeting room facilities. The resort is a 35-minute drive from Perth CBD, and feels like a getaway, so many companies like to hold conferences and retreats here. It's also popular for weddings.
Swimming pools - there are actually a few here. This is the 25m outdoor swimming pool with the heated outdoor spa under the gazebo. Alternatively, try the 4 full sized tennis courts, 2 indoor squash courts or the fully equipped gymnasium.
Or you can take it easy at Keishi Day Spa, which has its own private pool, it seems!
You must take a walk in the mornings.
I heard that they spotted two kangaroos on the golf course. So I went early the next day to see. Voila! Two of them boxing!
Then I went closer and...
Holy cow...there had to be like 40 of them on the golf course!
Look at them grazing and suntanning...man, they get the resort lifestyle too!
The kangaroos are really tame. You can come up pretty close. It was just phenomenal seeing them not in enclosures or a zoo.
Back to Muscats for breakfast. It has floor to ceiling glass windows facing the golf course, so you get lovely sunlight and a great view.
It's a wide enough selection, with something for everyone. Mostly a Western breakfast, but with healthy options like delicious fresh fruit, yoghurt and muesli.
I think we really enjoyed staying here. I would happily come back to explore more of the Swan Valley area - plenty of vineyards, breweries, farmers markets, coffee, ice cream, nougat, honey, chocolate, and so forth!
Major thanks to the Vines Resort for their lovely hospitality! Check out the other stories on this Western Australia trip!
NOVOTEL VINES RESORT & COUNTRY CLUB
Verdelho Drive, The Vines WA 6069
Tel: +61-8 9297 3000
This media trip was made possible by Accor Asia Pacific, Scoot and Tourism Western Australia
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