Spicers Tamarind Retreat, Maleny reivew: Weekend Away

THE SETTING

Welcome to the jungle, Sunshine Coast hinterland style. It might not quite be the forests of Borneo, but the resort has cleverly imparted an Asian theme on the resort – palms and tropical foliage creating a pleasing illusion that the daily grind of western civilisation is in a land far, far away.

THE SPACE

The towns of Montville and Maleny are not far away, but there's no real need to seek out entertainment. The Spicers crew has thought of that already. Within the retreat, there's a spa and cooking school. And there's a tropical-style pool with day beds just behind reception and an on-site Thai restaurant. Given the Thai theme, pamper packages and recipe learnings all have an oriental flavour.

THE KIT

The timber cottage has wicker furniture on the front balcony to overlook fields and lush tropical gardens – almost something you'd picture Rudyard Kipling doing in Singapore or India in the early 1900s, before retreating to his writing study. Things are a little more civilised these days, a stand-alone bath tub the feature of a bathroom which has bi-fold doors opening to a romantic terrace with two chairs and a small garden. Plush bedding and soft lighting in the bedroom, and a fireplace, relaxing couch and cable television top off the lap of luxury.

COMFORT FACTOR

If eating, drinking and massage are your thing, this is your place. The Spicers Group is known for its brand-wide service standards which are well and truly replicated at Tamarind. Like any good retreat, they know when to leave guests alone as much as they know when to jump in to offer some help. It's worth doing it all a little old-fashioned style here – quite simply lying back with a good book in preparation for the next meal, whatever that might be.

FOOD

Most publicity for Spicers Tamarind surrounds the food – the cooking school and the restaurant, which is known as one of the best in the region. The Tamarind earned one hat in the most recent Brisbane Times Good Food Guide and has a convenient set-price menu – two courses for $65, three for $75 and five for $95. The guide says of chef Daniel Jarrett: "His yin-yang approach to sparky Asian fare is evident in share-friendly dishes." A cook-to-order breakfast is also at the restaurant with a small selection of continental offerings and juices on a central table.

WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR

Maleny and Montville are just around the corner, but much closer is a stroll along a nicely beaten path to Gardners falls. A recent tale told of a Eurpoean visitor who dropped his kit and jumped right into the lagoon at the bottom of the falls. It must have been mid-week because it can get quite popular with local groups – some of them school-age – at weekends.

THE VERDICT

Everything down to the heated towel racks, plush linen on the bed, and manicured lawns around the pool makes for pleasant living here. But be sure to look out for packages which take the cost of spa packages and/or meals into the equation. It's the best way to manage a pampered weekend. Some rooms have outdoor hot tubs, while others have a deep bath.

HOW TO GET THERE

From Brisbane, follow the signs to Maleny. About 10km along Landsborough-Maleny Rd, Obi Rd Sth is on the right, just before the township. It's about 90km from the Brisbane CBD. There is helicopter access, but most people choose to drive.

ESSENTIALS

Spicers Tamarind Retreat, 88 Obi Lane Sth, Maleny, Sunshine Coast Hinterland.  Packages including accommodation, meals and massages start at around $329 mid-week. Room-only rates on weekends are considerably more expensive, starting at around $400 per night. Phone 1300 311 429, see spicersretreats.com/spicers-tamarind-retreat.

  • The writer was a guest of Spicers Tamarind Retreat.