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123 Alpine Terrace, Mt Tamborine
P: 07 5545 3300
Cost: One-night, mid-week villa and breakfast deals start at $295 and can be as high as $415 during peak times. Discounts for multi-night stays.
There are six villas which sit in rainforest surrounds, and a three-bedroom house with stunning hinterland views.
After opening the front door to the villa, the first things which demands attention are the high ceiling and Eurpoean-style sandstone brickwork which separates neighbouring villas built as a duplex. Look to the left, it's a village in France. To the right, a tropical rainforest which at night is taken over by the croaking of green frogs.
To the right of the entrance is a bathroom with black tiles and gold fittings. There's a shower, but the highlight is a double spa which sits adjacent to a full-length window into a small private garden.
Rainforest surrounds, but the spacious architecture demands warmth. That can be done via the reverse cycle air-conditioning. But most will be here on a romantic getaway which means the fireplace is more apt.
There are modern blinds on the windows. On the outside, there are few cobwebs which are a natural progression of the rainforest setting. Inside, however, is clean and cosy, and the classical furniture is geared for the cooler mountain climate.
In the middle of the open-plan villa is raised platform with a four-poster bed, complete with plenty of pillows and a thick doona.
The dining room is inside the main building which features a large wood fireplace and romantic lounge. The wooden balcony overlooks a waterfall and creek which runs into nearby national park.
It doesn't open for lunch or dinner. But the made-to-order breakfast is a treat, and widely commended by guests. The chutney which accompanies poached eggs is made on-site, and resort owner Gary Poole has been crowned one of the mountain's leading businesspeople for his work to promote local produce.
As a tourism ambassador, he's also a good source of information, and will openly offer suggestions for lunch and dinner - whether it be the cafes in the nearby village, or other theme-based restaurants which are popular in the hinterland region.
Tamborine Mountain Distillery is Australia's smallest operating Pot Still distillery and is open Saturdays. Arabica is locally-grown coffee, there are wineries, and don't be afraid to ask Escarpment staff which bakery makes the best pies.
Escarpment is designed as a romantic getaway. Gary Poole is the fourth owner and tells of an eclectic bunch of previous owners, each of whom have left their mark on the property, whether it be via the furniture, archeticture or gardens.
Wander to the back of the property which overlooks rolling valleys of national park. It's here many have proposed marriage, or exchanged vows. Gary tells how on a couple of occasions, a helicopter has risen up the cliff-face to emerge in front of a waiting wedding party.
Wander to the front of the property where there's a small rainforest walk built by volunteer backpackers. It's named Stephan's way after its chief maker, and this is where he proposed to his now wife.
Or simply wander up to the on-site spa where there are a range of treatments, and a hidden cinema retreat designed specifically for two people.
There's plenty to do on Mt Tamborine. A hop on, hop off bus takes tourists to about 20 attractions on and is ideal for those who don't want to drive.
But once you've driven down the driveway, past the surrounding rainforest and into the retreat, it's clearly a matter of choice whether or not to leave the beautiful surrounds of Escarpment.
It's possible to eat as close as next door at the local pub, choose one of the quality restaurants scattered along the main road, or eat in. The kitchenette doesn't have cooking facilities but reception can provide a microwave and toaster before 5pm.
After a relaxing massage, a stroll through the rainforest, lazy bath with bubbles, and taking a seat in the villa's sunken lounge, the stay-in option becomes attractive. So it's worth being prepared with enough snacks to keep the stomach grumbles at bay.
Equally, if the plan is to eat out, be sure to book. Some of the better restaurants - including The Old Church and Songbirds - do book out, especially on weekends.
- Simon Holt was guest of Escarpment Retreat.