Friday, 27 September 2013

Saffire: a very special Tasmanian retreat

Cast your mind back just a few years and Tasmania was a culinary wasteland with just a handful of mediocre restaurants and a few struggling vignerons. 

But times, and fashions, change and today the island state is a gourmet hot spot dotted with world-class eateries and producing cool-climate wine that are much sought-after by sommeliers and aficionados worldwide.

Saffire, at beautiful Coles Bay on the Freycinet Peninsula, is one of the stunning highlights of the island state - the ultimate boutique getaway for those with cash to flash.
The $32 million resort, strikingly designed to look like a stingray from the air, has just 20 suites, all with remarkable views over white sandy beaches and Great Oyster Bay to the Hazards, a granite range that rises sharply from the peninsula.

The suites are furnished with state-of-the-art audio, visual and communications technology and have high-tech bathrooms and private decks.

At 140 square metres, the four premier suites are larger than many suburban homes; and boast their own plunge pools.

The Palate restaurant showcases Tasmania’s fresh produce with Hugh Whitehouse, formerly of the two-hat Darley’s at Lilianfels in the NSW Blue Mountains, in charge - and also conducting custom-designed cooking classes. Think dishes like carpaccio of local scallops with shima wasabi and baby fennel, or ragout of rabbit and roasted chestnuts wrapped in Tunisian pastry, although the menu changes daily.

The wine list highlights some of the state’s best drops – names like Stefano Lubiana, Craigow, Moorilla and Home Hill – with all wines served in Riedel glasses.

Several activities, meals and drinks are built in to the all-inclusive tariffs - which means guests must  select their options carefully to get maximum enjoyment from their stay, including a visit to the award-winning spa.

Inclusive options range from a quad bike wetlands excursion, an up-close visit to a marine farm ending with a tasting of local oysters and mussels accompanied by fine Tassie sparkling wine (below); a wilderness walk to Wineglass Bay – one of the world’s most beautiful beaches – or maybe a treatment in Spa Saffire, or an afternoon learning archery.

The resort also has its own luxury motor launch for exploring nearby bays and islands.

For wine lovers, the resort is on the doorstep of fine East Coast producers - including Freycinet and Spring Vale – and an impressive in-house list is served by a slick, knowledgeable team of sommeliers.

Saffire is certainly not cheap - but there is currently a "stay four nights pay for three" offer that considerably eases the pain.

# Saffire has just been named as Australia’s best resort-style accommodation by the Australian Hotels Association for the second straight year. 

Saffire is 2.5 hours from both Hobart and Launceston. Prices for the deluxe suites start at $1800 per suite per night including breakfast, lunch, degustation dinner and beverages, complimentary mini bar, free experiences and a $100 spa voucher. 

Luxury suites cost from $2000 per night and premium suites $2450 per night. See www.saffire-freycinet.com.au  Phone: (03) 6256 7888. 

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