Capella Lodge review, Lord Howe Island: Weekend away

Our rating

4.5 out of 5

THE PLACE 

Capella Lodge, Lord Howe Island.

THE LOCATION 

Why would you fly 600 kilometres to reach Lord Howe Island, a speck of land just 11 kilometres long? Because it is wild, beautiful, and remarkably untouched. Peaks soar at either end; in between lies Jurassic Park-style forest, criss-crossed by walking tracks, and pristine beaches that open on to the most southerly coral reef in the world. Fewer than 400 people live on the island, and the handful of cars stick to the 25km/h speed limit; most people get around by bicycle. While no part of the island could be described as buzzing, Capella Lodge is tucked at the southern end of the island, away from most of the other accommodation. 

THE SPACE 

It's all about the view. Nestled in a bushland setting overlooking Mount Gower and the sea, each of the nine suites – as well as the open-plan restaurant – features floor-to-ceiling windows to let you drink in the vista. Capella Lodge shares a sense of style with Southern Ocean Lodge and Longitude 131, its stablemates in the Baillie Lodges portfolio: think natural textures, neutral tones and tactile fabrics. However, its relaxed beach-house vibe is all its own, a laidback ambience that is reinforced by the no-room-keys policy.

THE ROOM 

I'm staying in the Lidgbird​ Pavilion, one of several two-storey suites on offer. Both the downstairs living area and the upstairs bedroom are spacious; there is also a balcony upstairs and a downstairs deck with a small plunge pool. My favourite touches include the outdoor bathtub, the downstairs gas fire, and the complimentary goodies in the mini-bar. The Wi-Fi is also complimentary, if none too fast. My favourite added extra, free of charge to those staying in the Lidgbird Pavilion, is an electric buggy for wheeling around the island.

THE FOOD 

Chef Cooper Dickson is Capella Lodge's secret weapon. He could be winning hats in Sydney or Melbourne, but says he is content on Lord Howe, foraging for fresh herbs and surfing in his off-hours. There don't seem to be many of those: breakfast and dinner are included in the room rate, and lunch is also available. Cocktail hour kicks off with tasty canapes, but pace yourself. Dinner is the real highlight, with dishes such as marinated kingfish with pickled cucumber and mustard granita, and blood orange doughnuts with rum ice-cream. 

STEPPING OUT

Lord Howe is all about the great outdoors, with hikes ranging from the easy stroll to Little Island to the gruelling climb up Mount Gower. Take a snorkel trip out to Comet's Hole, or simply chill out at Ned's Beach. The occasional beachcombing walks led by Capella Lodge staffer Caitlin should not be missed. 

THE VERDICT

Savouring one of Australia's most pristine landscapes while cocooned in luxury: what's not to love?  

ESSENTIALS

Capella Lodge, Lagoon Road, Lord Howe Island. Rooms start from $750 a person a night, including breakfast, dinner, sunset drinks and canapes. Phone 02 9918 4355, see lordhowe.com.

HIGHLIGHTS 

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Don't miss the weekly degustation dinner, held on Tuesday nights.

LOWLIGHTS 

With just one spa therapist available, book your treatment early.The quintessential luxury getaway starts here.

The writer was a guest of Capella Lodge and Qantas.