Mount Lofty House, Adelaide Hills, South Australia: A historic vineyard hotel's $6 million makeover

Mount Lofty House in the Adelaide Hills could have been forgiven for taking an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach to business. After all, the hotel, restaurant and event space, which occupies an 1852 historic property, has been a much-loved and award-winning special occasion venue since the mid-1980s.  In a highly competitive industry such as hospitality, however, reinvention and renewal are important, even for venerable success stories.

To that end, the five-star hotel has recently completed an extensive $6 million renovation of its reception, restaurant, bar and conference areas, as well as its 32 guest rooms. (This is ahead of the opening later this year of a new separate, 14-suite luxury lodge on the estate, Sequoia at Mount Lofty House.)

In creating the changes, renowned South Australian designers Claire Kneebone and Georgie Shepherd were careful to ensure contemporary design went hand-in-hand with the spirit of history that is central to the property's success. It was originally built  as a summer house by the Hardy family  – who planted the Adelaide Hills' first vineyards –  and the 12-hectare Mount Lofty Estate is regarded as a South Australian treasure.

The Arthur Waterhouse Lounge and Mount Lofty's three-hat restaurant, Hardy's Verandah, are now joined by the original wine cellar which was carved into rock under the house and has been updated to hold 3500 bottles and host private tasting sessions.  One of the estate's original stables has been converted into the luxurious Stables Day Spa.

From $349 midweek for a classic room. See