April 21, 2020
Read. Sip. Cheese. Read. Sip. Sleep … my perfect 24 hours at Spicers Peak
It’s all about me. Well, for the next 24 hours that is.
Standing in the grounds of Spicers Peak Lodge, having arrived only minutes earlier and already with a glass of wine in hand, looking out across the expansive and verdant, grassed paddock that surrounds the retreat, I’m feeling – and please pardon the cliché – on top of the world.
And there’s some literal justification to that. Spicers Peak Lodge general manager, Martin Hamilton, informs me this position atop Cedar Mountain, south-west of Brisbane, some 1100m above sea level, makes the property the “highest non-alpine lodge in Australia”.
Turning to look back at the retreat’s structure – elegant and compact, with its A-frame rooflines, floor-to-ceiling windows, coppery cedar wood trim and stone chimney stacks – it actually evokes northern American alpine lodge chic. But with wallabies bouncing casually across the field and with the Main Range National Park dominating the horizon like a rumpled aqua blanket, what harkens of The Adirondacks is quintessentially Australian.
Yet, it does feel like I’m a world away. Perhaps the two-hour drive here from the city has heightened both the sense of ‘escape’ and the anticipation of 24 hours of ‘me-time’. It was interesting to watch the sky-scraped vista of Brisbane City recede in the rear-vision mirror – along with it went the crowds, the noise, and a nagging need to keep pace.
Upon arrival, there’s no check-in – or “transaction”, as Martin describes it. The car’s valeted away. The bags are spirited to the room. And that wine appeared magically in hand.
I’m keen to know how Peak Lodge deals with guests, like me, who have come for nothing more than me-time. Or as Greta Garbo would purr: “I vont to be alone.”
Martin smiles. “Oh absolutely, it’s very much a personal experience here. We’re only a 12-room property so the service is extremely personal,” he says. “If our guests just want to be left alone, then everyone’s aware they just want some downtime. Staff are respectful and make that happen for them. If guests want to do activities, or get in the spa, or just detach and escape their busy lives, we’re happy to make that happen for them.”
Glancing at the jacuzzi and infinity pool as I start to head back inside the main lodge, I echo Martin’s words to myself to “make that happen”. How glorious it will be to sit in that spa and watch the late afternoon sky turn to ripples of orange and pink and grey. But alas, it is not to be. I’m about to discover that me-time for me is more about rest than relaxation and that it is best not to plan too far ahead. Here’s how the next 24 hours played out, and I’m estimating I spent 50 per cent of them in blissful slumber …
Noon: First look at my room. It’s homely, warm. I don’t think I want to leave it. The bed faces a gorgeous Scottish bluestone fireplace which has a daybed off to one side; beside that, doors open to a deck and that amazing landscape beyond. The bathroom has a deep spa bath which begs to be used well and often.
12.30pm: A light lunch of lamb rump and carrots in The Peak restaurant. Well, I call it light because I refrain from ordering an entrée of Mucovy duck salad; and I pass on the lemon curd tart. The reason being I’m booked for a spa treatment soon after and I don’t want to fall asleep during it …
1.45pm: I fall asleep during a spa treatment. It’s the two-hour Mountain Escape treatment at the onsite Spa Anise day spa which is exfoliation, a spearmint and ginko foot rub that smells as good as it feels, facial and scalp ritual, and the most relaxing massage ever.
3.45pm: Wandering back to my room, I notice what I missed before in the main lodge, there are books secreted all over the place, in little low bookshelves and on mantles. I spy a title by a Queensland writer that I’ve been meaning to read, so I grab it and squirrel it away to my room.
4pm: Close the doors to the deck, close the shutters. Stoke a fire into existence and listen to it crackle and breathe. Open a bottle of champagne. Settle onto the daybed. Open the book. Sip. Read. Sip. Read. Sip. Sleep …
6.30pm: Bleary and wary of wanting to leave the cosiness of the room, I order room service. I opt for the marron dish, and a selection of cheeses and fruits to snack on later.
8pm: Bath and bed, the intention being to watch TV. But I pick up the book again. A piece of cheese. Read. Sip of champagne. Read. Cheese. Read. Sip. Sleep…
Midnight: Wake. Realise I’m still on top of the covers. And so is the cheese platter. Hastily correct situation. Sleep.
9am: Awake, dressed and, after a short stroll, I’m positioned on a gorgeous little jetty area that sits on a dam where you can look back up at the lodge. Breakfast has been prepared for me and set up on a table, picnic-style. There are walks I can do, where I can spot koalas if I’m lucky. There’s a tennis court I could practice my serving on. There’s that pool. There’s even a pool table back inside the lodge where I could snooker myself for an hour or so before it’s time to leave. But there’s still at least another cup of green tea in the pot, and I’ve brought that book down with me. I really must try and finish it. Only 220 pages of 260 to go. Well, I did sleep a lot yesterday. Maybe if I slink down in this chair, tip my hat over my face and keep still, they mightn’t see me. They might think I’ve already checked out and left. Maybe. Maybe I’ll just close my eyes and think about that for a minute …
Spicers Peak Lodge