Get a sense of the faraway in off-grid wilderness and historic accommodation – or get close to the action at Adelaide's sports and cultural establishments.
McLaren Flat Rd, McLaren Vale; cabn.life
THE LOCATION The clever people behind CABN hold the locations of their wilderness pods secret until the last minute, adding to your feeling of escape. CABN X occupies a corner of McLaren Vale where shiraz vines meet sheep paddocks and ancient gum trees. The site is 40 minutes' drive from Adelaide, and five minutes from McLaren Flat.
THE PLACE CABN X comprises two off-grid tiny homes, named William and Giles. Functioning like well-appointed yachts, they're set before a sea of vines and anchored by generous timber decking. William is charcoal inside and out, with light flooding through sliding glass doors and a "moon roof" over the bed. There's a galley kitchen, a generous stone-lined bathroom with stand-alone tub and – surprise! – a small sauna room. Outside is a fire pit, barbecue and sunken bath.
THE EXPERIENCE Fill the outside bath, pop the comp bottle of Gemtree "April's Dance" bubbles and watch the sun set on a huge slice of the McLaren. Nature will oblige throughout your stay: think kangaroos in the vines while you eat breakfast (fat bacon, golden eggs, crusty bread, all provided) and a boobook owl keeping noisy sentinel while you sit around the fire pit. If you must, BYO TV.
DON'T MISS Walking to Gemtree's smooth cellar door on the brow of the hill. If you'd prefer, they'll happily pick you up in a Polaris Ag-vehicle for a tour.
FROM $595 a night; two-night minimum stay. – Max Anderson
Sequoia Lodge looks into the Piccadilly Valley. Photo: Aaron Citti
1 Mawson Dr, Crafers; (08) 8130 9230; sequoialodge.com.au
THE LOCATION Mount Lofty House has it all: heritage (the grand mansion and gardens date to 1852), fine dining (Hardy's Verandah Restaurant has three hats) and elevation (it sits close to Mount Lofty Summit). At 727 metres, the estate looks into the Piccadilly Valley, a sensational spread of artisan growers and cool-climate winemakers. The otherworldly environs belie the 15-minute transit from Adelaide's CBD.
Sequoia is rightly obsessed with its horizons. Photo: Supplied
THE PLACE Sequoia's 14 luxury suites and dedicated lodge are built on an escarpment in front of the old mansion. The property affects a contemporary alpine aesthetic using local sandstone and spotted gum, with fabrics of burgundy and emerald, and flora-filled canvases by local artist Stephen Trebilcock. Outside are three pools of artesian spring water heated up to 42 degrees, plus the Gatekeeper Day Spa.
THE EXPERIENCE Sequoia is rightly obsessed with its horizons. If the TV obscures the view from the bed, or the bed head obscures the view from the bath, push a button and both obstacles sink out of sight. Complimentary experiences similarly connect with the vistas: do wine tastings with local growers, guided forest walks and history tours of the old house. Gratis in-room bubbles are made from vines on the estate. Breakfast is also included.
DON'T MISS Sequoia has a dedicated kitchen, but the seven-course wine-paired degustation in HVR ($345 a head) is a must. While you'll feast on the views and savour the local growers, this culinary adventure is decidedly international.
FROM $1000 a night. – Max Anderson
Eos by SkyCity, located in the heart of Adelaide. Photo: Sam Noonan
Eos by SkyCity
Festival Dr, Adelaide; (08) 7077 3588; skycityadelaide.com.au
THE LOCATION Positioned between the River Torrens and North Terrace in the City of Churches, Eos by SkyCity overlooks that most worshipped of landmarks, the Adelaide Oval.
THE PLACE If it's design cred you're craving, look no further. International firm Buchan Architects (Westfield Chadstone among many other high-profile projects) created the curved, shining 12-storey, gold-glass exterior. Melbourne's Hecker Guthrie (various beautiful retail and residential works) and Adelaide's Walter Brooke (Adelaide Oval redevelopment) created the consistently airy interiors of the 120-room hotel. Works by local artists including glassblower and Jam Factory alumnus Liam Fleming feature throughout. Part of the casino precinct in the heritage-listed Adelaide Railway Station, the hotel's entrance is by underground concourse.
THE EXPERIENCE From the marble-metallic lobby where you're greeted by staff kitted out in duck-egg blue to the Leisure Deck with heated pool, spa, sauna and steam room, the name of the game here is modern glamour. That theme extends to generously sized, muted grey rooms of floor-to-ceiling windows and velvet armchairs. Help yourself to the complimentary mini bar with local snacks and water bottled by the hotel. Behind the fluted-glass door, find a marble bathroom with stand-alone bath, its own decadent relaxation space. Just be sure to leave the tub in time for sunset cocktails with hill and coast views at rooftop bar, Sol.
DON'T MISS A meal at Sol Restaurant led by chef Kane Pollard, a champion of the state's food producers.
FROM $399 a night. – Jane Reddy
The bathroom overlooking organic shiraz vineyards at Old Chaff Mill Retreat. Photo: Maxx Corkindale
Old Chaff Mill Retreat
371 Plains Rd, Sellicks Hill; 0412 186 033; oldchaffmill.com.au
THE LOCATION Flanked by the Mount Lofty Ranges and the white-sand beaches of the Fleurieu Peninsula, this intimate retreat is at the southern tip of the McLaren Vale wine region, a 45-minute drive from Adelaide.
THE PLACE Owners Richard Jasek and Bernice Devereaux spent six years transforming an abandoned 19th-century stone granary into this character-filled, two-suite retreat. In addition to some innovative repurposing (the old chaff hatch is now a pantry door and the rusted drive shaft a clothes rail), they've added well-equipped kitchens, recycled timber floors and swish contemporary bathrooms with stand-alone tubs.
The restored 19th-century stone granary at the southern tip of the McLaren Vale wine region. Photo: Supplied
THE EXPERIENCE The two-storey suites are full of intriguing details, such as a wall-mounted vintage rotary phone, a retro LP sound system (with bluetooth) and a glass pane revealing the building's original footings. Thoughtful touches abound, from delicate posies of wildflowers to a complimentary bottle of organic shiraz. Stays include a generous continental breakfast pack and both suites offer sweeping views over a tranquil montage of vineyards and olive and almond groves.
DON'T MISS A treatment from qualified beauty therapist Devereaux in the on-site spa, which has been converted from an old dairy.
FROM $475 a night, plus $100 cleaning fee; two-night minimum stay. – Rob McFarland
Hotel Indigo's Merrymaker Rooftop Bar, within striding distance of Adelaide Central Market. Photo: Supplied
Hotel Indigo Adelaide Markets
23-29 Market St, Adelaide; (08) 8472 2400; adelaide.hotelindigo.com
THE LOCATION Hotel Indigo – a boutique arm of Intercontinental Hotel Group – is within striding distance of the famed Adelaide Central Market. It's on a tiny side street off the restaurant hub, right in the middle of the city's increasingly buzzy Chinatown.
THE PLACE Bright and modern with playful pops of pink, Indigo pays homage to the late, flamboyant and formidable former premier and arts champion Don Dunstan (the pink shorts he wore to parliament are iconic) as well as Adelaide's "festival state" reputation, with posters from past events adorning the walls. With an ethos of inclusivity, the striking foyer and Market & Meander restaurant open onto the street, welcoming locals, who are lured to its kaleidoscopic rooftop bar – the city's highest.
THE EXPERIENCE This hotel is a visual feast of contemporary art that invites you to experience Adelaide's vibrant and often trailblazing history and culture within its walls as well as outside. Relax poolside or in its meticulously designed rooms: the premiums offer floor-to-ceiling windows with splendid views of the CBD and the glittering Southern Ocean.
DON'T MISS The Central Market is an obvious choice. Tour it with Food Tours Australia.
FROM $195 a night. – Kylie McLaughlin