I've travelled a lot, to some very nice places, but the wow factor at this place is very, very high. The website and even the pics don't really do it justice. It's just a gorgeous property. I honestly have never stayed anywhere that smelled so great. From the lotions, to the aromatic oils in the room, to the oils they use to oil the wood floors, to the lemony wafts coming from the unique linens, it just has this subtle, great smell. Hard to explain. And the food, except for one very off day, was the best we had the entire trip, including at world-class restaurants in Sydney, the Barossa, and very good food at Lizard Island. They go out of their way to use local produce (honeys, wines, etc). The 24-hour open bar includes a wine cellar where you can just go in and grab a bottle of one of several high-quality vintages. This is not your ordinary all-inclusive.
Service was excellent. The staff is surprisingly young but very friendly and interesting.
Also included are the wonderful excurions. They set an itinerary for you and give it to you when you arrive, but you're not required to stick to it. We mostly did, and were glad of it. Our first day we went on a half-day 'Wonders of KI' tour with Tim of Exceptional Tours. It was just my s/o and I and Tim's land cruiser. This was our favorite of the 'tours' or excursions. Tim was so knowledgeable, and we saw all of the 'must-do's' (Remarkable Rocks, Admiral's Arch, saw seals, kangaroos, osprey, etc).
Other notable excursions included "Kangas and Kanapes" where you are treated to champagne and canapes while observing a field of grazing kangaroos.
The nocturnal walk was also one of our favorites, were we saw tons of wallabies, kangaroos, and koalas. This tour is the only one that wasn't included in the price, but at a mere $25 was more than worth it.
A guide from SOL also took us out to Seal Bay where we sat on a beach surrounded by sea lions.
Around the lodge, there are plenty of walks you can do on your own, any time of day or night, with stunning scenery, amazing wildlife, beachcombing, etc. One of our favorite walks was at sunset when we walked the ridgeline trail and saw echidnas and wallabies and not another person. You can also just sit in the gorgeous lodge with whatever wine or drink suits you and gaze out over the huge windows at the expanse of southern ocean.
We stayed four nights, I could have easily stayed twice that and found plenty to do. The spa is a great respite, with a gorgeous location at the top of the property enjoying sweeping views.
I stayed in an Ocean Retreat room which was just perfect. Huge, with a fabulous bathroom and very cool fireplace that we actually needed, even though it was December. It does get cool, particularly at night. It should be noted that as you can tell from pics of the lodge, the rooms are all located down one very long breezeway that is at an incline. Thus, if your room is located towards the end of the walkway, you have quite an uphill trek just to get to meals, etc. The whole place is this very interesting blend of outdoors adventure and decadent luxury. There were some children there but I can't see how most children would enjoy the place. There are no TVs or game room, and the food is a liitle complex and odd at times. The children that were there were whiny and obnoxious, but maybe they were just bored.
The only disappointment was that we had scheduled a day of scuba diving, but because of the weather, the dive operator cancelled. Oh well, we'll just have to go back!
Yes, it's quite expensive. But when you include in all of the unique and very personal excursions, worldclass food and wine, unbelieveable location, etc., it almost felt priceless.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island is Australia's most extraordinary luxury lodge experience. Exclusive and award-winning, the world-class lodge is sensitively designed to float amongst the coastal drama of the island's south west, offering an unforgettable blend of contemporary luxury and pure nature. Twenty-one luxurious suites welcome panoramic views of the great Southern Ocean and boundless coastal wilderness and feature lavish sleeping areas, sunken lounge and glass-surround ensuite. The Southern Spa features signature treatments with Kangaroo Island botanicals designed to relax and rejuvenate. All-inclusive rates, first name service and personalised experiential itinerary combine to offer guests the ultimate Kangaroo Island encounter. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Southern Ocean Hotel Kangaroo Island