Sunday, 26 May 2013

Way out west, where the wine is fine

For anyone heading to Margaret River for a few days of wine tasting and pampering there used to be only one choice: the venerable Cape Lodge. 

Then, a few years back, a new gunslinger arrived in town. Adults-only Windmills Break is just across the road from Cape Lodge but with a more relaxed vibe; more Duffy than Delta. 

You could take the standard approach: a three-hour plus drive from Perth stopping in at a couple of wineries along the way, or the time-saving approach; flying in direct from Perth Airport by helicopter.

At Windmills Break, with just 13 rooms in the heart of the vineyards, it doesn’t really matter how you arrive: the welcome here is warm, the facilities top-notch, the ambience relaxed.

The 80-minute chopper flight, around $700 per person, offers fabulous views of the region’s spectacular beaches and wineries before you land on the resort’s tennis courts and flights are also available from Windmills Break to some of the area’s best cellar door restaurants.

You may, of course. prefer to be a little more cautious with your travel arrangements and more profligate with your spending on wine in a region where they have been blessed with seven cracking vintages in a row. 

Windmills Break is named after a local surf beach near Yallingup - at the northern end of Margaret River. But, and I take issue with this, the resort is not on the beach.

Rather, it is perfectly positioned for discovering the superb wineries located on and around Caves Road – and it is just across the road from iconic Cape Lodge and its world-renowned restaurant. Or choose from Voyager Estate, Cullen, Vasse Felix, Xanadu and Leeuwin Estate. 

There’s everything you need to wind down after a hard day of wine tasting; pool and spa, small gym, tennis courts and free internet access, including use of a laptop.

The rooms (10 in the main building and three separate suites) feature king-size beds (which are disturbingly comfortable), large LCD televisions with satellite channels, iPod docks, mini bars, spa baths, free access to an extensive DVD collection and private courtyards.  Some have kitchenettes. 

The five-star resort has a lovely bush setting and is situated in 10 acres of gardens. The area surrounding the infinity pool is a great spot to catch a few rays late in the day, while the deck is the perfect spot for a sundowner or two. And for those who need pampering, there is an in-house massage service.

Public areas and rooms are decorated with spectacular landscape photos taken by leading local snapper Christian Fletcher.

Windmills Break, Caves Road, Yallingup, Margaret River. (08) 9755 2341.

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