Read our writer's views on this property below
Brae suites, Birregurra, Victoria
Lying between the Princes Highway and the Great Ocean Road, this bucolic part of the Otway Ranges is one of Victoria's hidden gems. From the pretty little village of Birregurra, head along undulating country roads lined with hedgerows and shady gums to find the unassuming gateway to a 12-hectare orchard and vegetable farm that is home to the restaurant Brae, recently named number 65 on an official list of the world's best and number two in the annual line-up of Australia's finest.
Chef Dan Hunter and his wife and business partner, Julianne Bagnato, have created six luxury suites to be an extension of the fine-dining Brae restaurant experience.
The Six Degrees Architects-designed, environmentally efficient, attached villas – with interiors by Studio Round – reflect the attention to eclectic detail that defines the restaurant. Just as everything about dining at Brae – from plate to playlist – is a statement of Hunter's personality, so too are the suites.
A short walk from the restaurant's front door, they have sheltered front terraces with outdoor tables, and also back terraces that look across sleepy paddocks where sundown sees lines of sheep being guided home for the night against a big sky splashed with colour.
There's a mid-century bungalow aesthetic at play, with warm wood paneling and heated slate floors complemented by recycled bricks and glass, and brightness coming through big windows and simple white subway tiles in the bathrooms. Each suite has a unique mural by Great Ocean Road local artist Rhys Lee.
The exteriors of galvanised metal and brick mean the structure comprising the suites sits sympathetically on the landscape like a large shearing shed.
Obviously, the dining experience is the main star here, but make sure you leave plenty of time to enjoy your suite. It's a cool pad to hang out in. There's the stargazing window above the bed dressed in organic linen and luxury throws, the fine wool carpets and custom furniture by Dave Murray, a deep bath with cinematic countryside views and a Thorens turntable and sweet sound system accompanied by a Hunter-selected vinyl collection. And then there is the cocktail bar stacked with a small but seriously great artisan wine and spirit collection, with snacks made in Brae's kitchen.
Hunter's extraordinary degustation is world-famous. The dishes are as tasty as they are clever, as satisfying as they are intriguing, they certainly won't leave you hungry.
Which makes the simple breakfast welcome: house-made bread, preserves, yoghurt, muesli and stewed fruit are there when you check in and fresh pastries delivered at 8am.
The Great Ocean Road is a picturesque hour's drive away. Birregurra has some nice cafes and galleries and a yearly festival. Throughout the Otways, find further cute villages, and along the drive between Geelong and Birregurra you can check out some great wineries, including Mount Duneed, which has a large cellar door restaurant and plays host to Day on the Green concerts.
Otway Fly Treetop Adventures is also in the region, offering elevated tree-top walks and zip lines with views across the surrounding rainforest.
Birregurra's B&Bs have done, and continue to do, a great job housing those who come from Melbourne and beyond to experience dining at Brae. But as a synergic adjunct to the event dining on offer, this truly is an event stay.
Brae: 4285 Cape Otway Road, Birregurra, Victoria. Phone (03) 5236 2226. See braerestaurant.com
Accommodation, including breakfast, from $425 a night (Monday) to $565 a night (Friday, Saturday, public holiday).
Snuggling in on the roomy sofa watching the light change across the paddocks with a glass of wine and some house snacks while listening to side two of David Bowie's Low album.
The in-room tipples are very pricey. Lucky for us, we had picked up a bottle or two from Mount Duneed on the way there.
Julietta Jameson was a guest of Brae.