Stayed on a Fri & Sat night at the start of August in the 3 bedroom cottage called ‘Cedar Lodge’. 2 couples (1 Queen bed room each) and 1 other adult (in the singles bedroom which was actually 4 singles configured as 2 sets of bunk beds).
The cottage is accurately depicted in pictures on their website (albeit it perhaps looks a little more ‘tired’ up close and personal). I agree with a previous assessment that it is “more self catering than boutique”.
In the 3 BRM Cedar Lodge there is only one bathroom to service everyone; worth noting is the toilet is inside the bathroom which may be a pain if there are 6 to 8 sharing. The bathroom itself has a lovely big shower and big spa. It has 2 entries, one from the front entry hallway and one leads directly into one of the queen bed rooms (an advantage for this room as it makes it a bit like an ensuite, however the couple in the room said they could hear the rest of us going to the loo all night – caused by a bus trip to several wineries but that’s another story!).
One queen room and the single bed(s) room are directly off the lounge and kitchen area. Not far to the loo but without the noise. The queen rooms had electric blankets on the beds; I forgot to ask my friend who was in the single room (sorry). Rooms quite small but mine did have a built in robe and shelves and did fit 2 side tables near bed head (so had all I needed).
Wood heater had a wood bin inside and another outside; fully stocked. Given it was winter we had it going non-stop and it was nice in the lounge area but didn’t really warm the rest of the cottage up. Very atmospheric though.
Breakfast was included and while basic it was ample. Several varieties of individual serving size cereals, 2 styles of bread, real butter and real milk in the fridge along with many assorted jams, vegemite, marmalade etc. Tea/coffee/sugar/salt/pepper all supplied. Good amount of utensils, etc, for anyone that wants to whip up an easy lunch or dinner using the kitchen. Full size fridge. Good size microwave, etc. Very large table that would seat 10+ easily (seating supplied for 8).
Large, pretty gardens and small lake are nice to go for a stroll around. I agree with other posters that have mentioned it may be a good space for children to run around (and they also have a few small animals and a small children’s playground). I also liked how the cottages are spread a little apart so we could not hear any other guests and hopefully they could not hear us! :)
Wendy at reception (Owner I think) was very nice and made various food and winery recommendations. They also sell discounted tickets to Healesville Sanctuary and some of the bus winery tours (which we purchased tickets to Wild Wombat Winery Tours for the Saturday – a good day out in a mini bus with a guide/driver who really did know her wines very well and made our day most enjoyable) as well as other attractions. This was extremely convenient.
There are a myriad of board games, card games, DVD’s (inc new releases), etc, at the front reception. They are free to use. Wendy also keeps many brochures and pamphlets of the surrounding area at reception along with maps.
A car is ‘almost’ a necessity (I say ‘almost’ as you could walk to Healesville Sanctuary and door to door pick up/drop off service is available with the bus winery tours) as it is not in a location where you can just stroll to the shops for dinner, etc. I believe a car is needed to get the most out of the surrounding, beautiful countryside and attractions.
I have given a rating of 3 of 5 stars based on the following:
- only one bathroom for 3 bedrooms (sleeps 8)
- bathroom is 'noisy' for those in adjoining queen room when others use during quiet of night
- one wood heater and no other heating is ambient but not very warm in the middle of winter (although it is fine for those sitting on the couch closest to it)
- cottages ~5km from town so without a car it is not as great for 'location' (but perfect with one!)
- breakfast, while sufficient and real butter/milk appreciated, is basic considering the cost of the cottage...
- ... and please bear in mind that I am rating it against other properties that I have stayed in in many locations and comparing value for money, etc, and that is very subjective sometimes (at best).
I would award 4 stars if 4, or less, people were staying in the cottage as you would have a bit more privacy regarding toileting and personal matters; and also if you get the cottage on a reduced rate or on 'special' (but a 'bugbear' of mine is how expensive this area of Victoria is for accommodation, others will have no issue with the full price as it is comparable to others in the area).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Voted as the number one place to stay in the Yarra Valley by the RACV's BEST 101 PLACES TO STAY IN VICTORIA. Our 6 cottages are fully self contained and have a spa bath, fully equipped kitchen, laundry, log fire and tastefully decorated in an Australian theme. The garden surroundings offer a solar heated undercover pool and spa as well as a BBQ area at the edge of the lake, with spectacular views. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sanctuary Park Cottages Healesville, Yarra Valley