Award-winning Lake House in Daylesford just 90 minutes from Melbourne is as famous for its fine dining as it is for its boutique accommodation. Set within picturesque spa country, this family-run Luxury Lodge of Australia is a foodie’s delight and offers one of the best cellars in the country. Larissa Wolf-Tasker fills us in about this magical property.
Describe Lake House in 3 words.
Gourmet | Country-chic | Service
Tell us a little bit about Lake House and what makes it so unique beyond great food, great wine and a very comfortable place to sleep?
Lake House is family owned and operated. It began as a restaurant in 1984 when Alla & Allan, husband and wife (artist and chef) opened the doors of their Lake House which had taken four years of building, plotting and planting. More than 30 years later Lake House is still owned and operated by the family including myself, my partner and 120 industry professionals.
The property is situated on six acres of country gardens; much of it planted by the previous generation, on the edge of lake Daylesford. It’s a rambling seasonal garden with old established fruit trees, fragrant old fashioned roses, lilac, magnolia and Daphne.
Lake House is near to the village of Daylesford which is filled with quirky shops, bars, cafes and galleries. A short stroll or bike ride will get you into the heart of the village within ten minutes but guests more often than not will spend hours exploring the main street and laneways on route.
This region is a land of extinct volcanos and boasts the largest concentration of naturally occurring mineral water springs in Australia. There is now an enormous spa industry built around the health giving properties of this mineral water and you can see the evidence on the springs on site where the waters flow above ground in creeks, water features and shallow pools. A local water diviner came on site to discover the underground springs and we now have water available for people to drink on site as well as bath in. The volcanic activity millions of years ago also ensured productive volcanic soil resulting in a diverse organic and biodynamic farming industry. As a result our restaurant has a consistent supply of extraordinary produce. It’s a pretty special place.
How is Lake House pushing the boundaries in guest experiences?
Our purpose built Cooking School gives guests an opportunity to get their hands dirty in either an intimate class of ten or amongst a masterclass with some of Australia’s leading chefs. The full calendar for the year ahead is always released in December and spaces fill quickly.
What’s a recent (last six months) innovation at Lake House?
We are always moving forward and now in our fourth decade the Lake House continues to grow and evolve with refurbished accommodation, brand new facilities and plenty of wistful country inspiration. The Lake House Team have never been known to rest on our laurels; now launching the newly refurbished Waterfront Suites. This update comes hot on the heels of the new Waterfront Pavilion – a private dining room for up to 40 guests on the lagoon shore, The Lagoon Deck – a place to enjoy afternoon aperitivo high in the poplars overlooking lake Daylesford, and the refurbished Lodge Studios and Suites in the original homestead.
What activity should guests not miss during their stay at Lake House?
A Signature Salus Bliss – it’s a combination of soft body polish, rhythmic massage and hot volcanic stones
Best dining experience at Lake House ?
Our restaurant is a destination in itself. Dining in the restaurant is the signature experience of a stay at Lake House and our tasting menu that changes with the seasons is a definite must-do. The Lake House Restaurant is listed as one of Australia’s best and this year alone has been included in every major national industry and media award.
Please describe a typical guest at Lake House.
There are no typical guests. We practise a very bespoke style of hospitality. Every day and every guest is a new opportunity to create very special memories.
Is Lake House child friendly?
Yes however we are on an unfenced lake and ask parents to be mindful of the natural landscape. Onsite there are plenty of activities for kids – feeding the kookaburras, geese and ducks, fishing, flying kites, tennis, basketball, lake walks etc. Nearby there is also quad biking, clay pigeon shooting, horse riding, three golf courses and the Wildlife Park.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We have a few more unusual parts to the property. Our own resident artist Allan Wolf-Tasker’s studio is on site. At the moment he is working on a new exhibition “Lake Daylesford” which will be shown in Melbourne in November 2016. His studio is open to hotel guests or by appointment. We also display the work of several local artists throughout the gardens, in the public space and in the hotel rooms themselves.
The Lake House is also regularly featured on shows such as Masterchef. Culinary Director Alla Wolf-Tasker AM is an icon in the hospitality industry and is often representing Australia’s food and wine in partnership with Tourism Australia overseas.