The Benev review, Beechworth: The surprising, amazing thing you'll find in your hotel room

Our rating

4 out of 5

 The Place

Built around 1863, the Murray Ovens Benevolent Asylum on the outskirts of Beechworth was designed to provide accommodation and care for permanently injured gold miners and homeless women and children. It then became an aged care home until about 2005, after which time it fell into neglect until it was rescued by the current owners in 2015, who injected millions of dollars to turn it into The Benev, the lavish accommodation it is today. Manicured lawns draw your eyes to this National Trust building's magnificent Flemish gables.

The Location

A five or 10-minute stroll outside of central Beechworth, The Benev has a fantastic hilltop locale overlooking the township.

The Space

Central to The Benev's ethos is wellness and mindfulness, and the modern spa attached to the accommodation is designed for pampering with this in mind. Your journey begins as you're seated in sunny rooms next to the garden sans mobile phone and invited to sip tea - and unusually, wine - to reflect, before and after treatments. The experience ends in a well-stocked shop selling tempting items to help with your respite. The "wellness suites" next to the spa overlook the same pleasant lawn and garden, which you can enjoy from the verandah outside the rooms, from sunlounges (weather permitting) or from the spa.

Guests can check themselves in to the main building with the wave of a hand and a code, forgoing the need for any staff to be on site. In the main building is a light-filled communal lounge, kitchen and dining area.

The Room

After being forced to bathe in a tub with waist-long hair for two years while living in England, I can honestly say I hate baths with a fire of a thousand suns. But when I catch sight of the enormous deep-stone tub, I immediately toil over the essential oils, herbs and salts from my "private wellness bar", pour in the suggested milk serving and dive into that thing faster than you can say "Cleopatra", who I immediately channel, supping the provided prosecco and listening to a new book from the room's speakers via bluetooth.

For added ambience, there is a fire burning in the corner of the room, and there are soft robes to wrap yourself in afterwards. The extremely comfortable bed is in tumbling distance. The room is modern with polished concrete floors, low, modern lighting that lights automatically under the tub when you walk into the rainshower. The colour scheme is earthy; tones of forest green and fawn, and the fabric is all linen. The shower has luxury amenities from Sans (ceuticals) and essential oils to drizzle onto the shower floor for added zen. Around the room there are dried flower arrangements and small timber stools, a wardrobe, and separate toilet.


The rooms are not serviced, however, service in the spa is excellent, with someone to lead you through the experience from the moment you walk through the front door  for a (minimum) 90-minute massage. Dictate the course of your massage before you arrive via a questionnaire to address any nagging issues and the rest is taken care of. The massages here are five-star and the massage rooms and beds as luxurious as the rooms.

The Food

My room has a tiny, well-equipped kitchen space that includes coffee plunger, tea maker, sink and fridge, with glassware, cutlery and crockery. There's a great kit for breakfast, including home-made granola, yoghurt, fruit, organic juices, nuts, coffee, plus special blends of herbal tea. If you run out of any of these items, the "honesty kitchen" in the communal lounge has a full supply of things you may need - including wine, healthy snacks, cheese and other such supplies. Everything is of a high standard.

Stepping Out

The Benev supplies guests with suggestions of how to approach a "slow day" which includes exploring the region by bicycle, reading, meditating, rising early and retiring at 8pm. I unfortunately only adhere to the early rise and early to bed; I'm not sure this assisted with my respite at all, but time was short and there were simply too many wineries around Beechworth to be enjoyed. And Bridge Road Brewery does a damn fine wood-fired pizza to accompany their beer tasting paddles (possibly the most gargantuan I've experienced). Popular with locals, family-run Cellar Door Wine Bar is a great place to try local wines if you can't get out of town.


The Verdict

This is the perfect place to indulge in an off-grid, luxury de-stressing experience.


9 Warner Road, Beechworth; Ph: (03) 5728 3033;; Rooms from $460 a night.


Definitely the massage. Do not miss.


There's a lot of messaging pre-check-in that can get confusing, especially if you are already on the road. Consolidation into one message might be key.


4 stars

The writer was a guest of Visit Victoria