Read our writer's views on this property below
There's not a lot around Mt Cotton – windy roads, dense national park bushland, a few views, a winery and an upmarket driving school. Then, tucked away in some of that bushland, on the side of the road, is Mt Cotton Guesthouse and Retreat. Oddly, it's the whole lot of nothing which makes it a whole lot of something.
There's a hot tub tucked away in the middle of a garden; cabins are set on the edge of a small lake, and Asian ornaments scream peace and serenity. Yet, try to enter the main building on a Sunday afternoon and there won't be a spare seat as day guests chatter over sweets and a cuppa for high tea. Walkers will appreciate the 20 hectares of koala refuge, and there are 75 types of bird to look out for.
In the corner of the eco lodge sits a spirit house, one of the décor's many Asian influences. In open-plan format, there's a small kitchen, dining table for two and lounge which sits in front of a wall-mounted television. The bed sits off to the one end. It's simple, yet well enough designed that it's easy to forget this is one room. Outside, there's a covered deck with comfortable daybed and small sitting area, overlooking a lily-covered lake. The bathroom is functional and clean.
Once the recliner lounge is popped, and a good book opened, it's tough to get up. Mt Cotton Guesthouse could be considered a stopping point for those visiting Sirromet or the Adrenalin Driving Academy. But it's far more than that – which is why the owners have been intent on including the word "retreat" into the name. The common area acts as a restaurant packed with plants and collectables. The hot tub is tucked away. And there's a visiting massage service willing to do the trip in.
It's possible to dine in, but the kitchen offers a home-cooked roast meal hard to pass up, complete with all the trimmings, including potato bake and crackling. Similarly, breakfast is an irresistible homestyle treat – fruit, cereal and a hot-cooked meal to order. Cockatoos will break the silence, and come close to the kitchen for a feed of seed. Don't forget the high tea on weekends. For $40, two-hour sessions include – all homemade – scones and jams, pannacotta, chocolate truffles, Portuguese custard tarts, savoury tartlets, and ribbon sandwiches.
WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR
The two nearest tourist attractions are within 10 minutes' drive – Sirromet Winery where there is often a Day on the Green concert, and Adrenalin Driving Training where people are taught to drive fast, safely. Then there's the 20 hectares of koala reserve which is open to walkers and bird watchers. Weary feet will at night find their way to the garden hot tub.
The award-winning eco cabins don't have all the luxuries of a five-star resort, but they have plenty of character and personalised service which can't be found at a 400-room skyscraper. And there's a certain serenity about this place. There are too many mod cons for it to be a kickback from the love, peace and mungbeans era - coffee machine and Bluetooth speaker to name but two. But it must be said that a Combi van wouldn't be totally out of place. Mt Cotton Guesthouse won't be on the top of most people's getaway list, but it's an unlikely place to unwind and forget about city life for a while – and a secret hideaway which regular visitors might prefer to keep to themselves.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Brisbane, head towards the Gold Coast and take Exit 30 to Cleveland. Follow the Touriist Drive sign with the dugong. At the traffic lights about 1km along Redland Bay Rd, turn left into California Creek Rd. Turn left into West Mt Cotton Rd and it's a further 1.9km.
Mt Cotton Guesthouse, 355 West Mt Cotton Rd, Mt Cotton. There are B&B rooms starting at $190 mid-week. Eco-cabin packages start at around $240 on weekdays and $270 on weekends, including breakfast, port and chocolates, and late checkout for two people. Phone 0418 745 167, see mtcottonguesthouse.com.au.
The writer was a guest of Mt Cotton Guesthouse.