Iconic Hunter Valley property Spicers Tower Lodge has been reimagined by Spicers Retreats, retaining its original nod to exclusivity and its Spanish Mission styling, writes Tina-Louise Jackson.

There aren’t many who can claim to have slept in the same bed as Elton John, or perhaps even Sting. But thanks to the late Len Evans – creator of Spicers Tower Lodge in the Hunter Valley, and celebrated as putting Australian wine on the international map – a hand-carved Rajasthani four-poster bed that once cradled these rock legends is one of the antiques at this unique Spanish Mission-styled property.

Devised as an exclusive resort by Evans in the late 1990s, Tower Lodge has been reimagined with a $6 million renovation by Spicers. Reopened in July 2022, it’s once again beckoning us to the Hunter to enjoy Spicers’ all-inclusive hospitality.

Spicers Tower Lodge Hunter Valley

Where rock legends have slept © Hamilton Lund

Riding in a Maserati

The trip takes two and a half hours from Sydney, but is made easier in the new Maserati Levante GT hybrid SUV. Maserati’s first move toward a fully electric version in 2023, the Levante GT combines a four-cylinder, two- litre engine with a 48V electric motor, delivering a fuel-efficient punch of 330bhp. The ride is smooth and the interior is supremely roomy and comfortable. It has smart semi-autonomous driving aids to ease the often monotonous motorway journey. Unmistakably Maserati, with a planet-friendly heart.

As we step through the impressive late- 19th century French coach-house doors of the lodge, I’m immediately transported back to regional Spain. It is a place close to my heart and European roots. The interior has natural tones, high vaulted ceilings and terracotta floor tiles, while an oversized fireplace dominates the main lounge to warm you on even the coldest of nights.

Slumbering at Spicers Tower Lodge

Art deco stonework, shuttered mullion windows and earthy patterns flow into the four suite styles.

The Estate Suite offers guests a secluded outdoor terrace, deck or balcony. The king-sized bed beckons with lush bedding. Plush robes and slippers ensure deluxe comfort when you’re not burrowed in the blankets.

Curl up beside the Grand Suite’s fireplace with a good book. If you can’t put it down, take it with you to the free-standing bath and settle in for a soothing soak. For classic charm and decadent luxuries, like your own private hot tub, retreat into a Grand Spa Suite.

Or for a rockstar stay, the Tower Suite takes the cake. The stunning open-plan design encapsulates Spanish charm, finished with elegantly appointed furnishings. Lounge in the hot tub as the sun sets before cosying up beside the fireplace with a wine in hand. But of course, the real star of the show is the four-poster bed in which the likes of Elton John have snoozed. Here, you’ll slumber like a rock legend.

Spicers Tower Lodge Hunter Valley

Arrive in style with Maserati © Tina-Louise Jackson

Wine and dine at Spicers Tower Lodge

Lunch is a hearty four-course affair. Or, if you opt for the oysters with Txakoli mignonette, it’s five.

Dinner starts with an apéritif by the fireplace, served with pintxos (small tapas-syle plates). A five-course menu follows, served in your preference of order. Foie Etxenike with truffled butter and quince terrine is divine. Whilst mains include Txuleta 1886 beef with roasted piquillo peppers, smoked potatoes and wild greens. Or, vine-smoked lamb loin.

Back in our room a teapot and chamomile tea has been prepared. As if I’d need help sleeping after such delicious food. I fall into the vast four-poster, faint strains of Tiny Dancer playing in my head as I drift off. Waking to distinctly Mediterranean- esque skies, breakfast is in the courtyard. I choose chorizo with eggs, served with a rich cheese and potato flan, eggs poached then fried for a crunchy exterior and a deliciously molten centre. It’s so good I eat it the following morning, despite every intention to sample more of the menu.

While it would be easy to curl up with a book and glass of wine in the quiet comfort of the Tower Suite, the gleaming Maserati begs to be taken for a drive through the countryside.

Dining at Spicers Tower Lodge will transport you Basque

© Judit Losh

Wineries, activities and lasting impressions

The Levante GT is just as comfortable negotiating the winding, vine-lined lanes, with an off-road setting that lifts the suspension to reach even the most remote winery in the same style and comfort as on the motorway.

The team at Spicers Tower Lodge can arrange private winery experiences should you prefer not to drive. Back at the lodge, there’s a daily masterclass each afternoon. Choose from afternoon tea served with Basque cheesecake. Or, for some light exercise, archery, frisbee golf and lawn games. There’s also an outdoor pool and sauna.

It’s often said that it’s not always the place that makes the stay special, it’s how that place makes you feel. Lasting memories have been created at Tower Lodge. With service at the heart of the property, each interaction a guest has with staff creates an impression. For me, that impression makes me want to linger longer.

Spicers Tower Lodge pool

The pool framed by pillars © Hamilton Lund

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