If you thought the Mornington Peninsula needed a boost of creativity then look no further than Jackalope Hotel. Like it’s namesake creature of American folklore, Jackalope is designed to offer guests an escape from reality. Arriving in early 2017, this mythical hybrid of old and new is just what the region needed. Already winning the accolades of Hotel of the Year, New Hotel of the Year and Regional Hotel of the Year in the Gourmet Traveller Hotel Awards 2017, Jackalope has set tongues wagging for a conceptual approach to art and it’s dark colour palette which is at odds with the more traditional accommodation offerings near by. I visited Jackalope in September 2017 and was impressed with what I saw.
With 46 rooms, a 30-metre outdoor pool over looking the vineyards, on-property winery and cellar door, a casual and fine-dining restaurant, plus a cocktail bar, Jackalope has filled the much needed gap where mid-sized luxury hotels were lacking on the Mornington Peninsula. Plus it’s only about 1 hour from Melbourne and the nearest helicopter landing is only 15 minutes away.
Quirky commissioned art installations, nightclub style hallways and unusual architecture all add up to one fantastic feast for the eyes. Despite it being out of place, it all seems to make sense once you’re there.
The 42 luxury rooms have private terraces and the option of deep soak baths in four luxury suites. Sizes range from 52-85 sqm and you can choose from Garden view or Vineyard view (recommended). In contrast to the abundant art in the common areas, the room interiors are decidedly understated with simple black walls and lush furnishings leaving the view as the key piece of art.
My recommendation would be to take a Signature suite with loft ceilings, an expansive 30 sqm terrace overlooking the vines, a double sided indoor/outdoor fireplace, a six-seater indoor dining table, kitchenette, cocktail bar and a personal wine cellar.
- Inside: 85 sqm/914 sqft
- Terrace: 30 sqm/333 sqft
- West-facing (sunset aspect), overlooking Willow Creek vineyard
- King Bed
- Alfresco dining for six and outdoor lounge
- Double-sided indoor/outdoor fireplace
- Kitchenette, bar, private wine cellar
- Deep soak, black stone bath tub
- Complimentary breakfast served in Doot Doot Doot
- Complimentary minibar (excluding wine)
Whilst there is no on-site spa, the hotel has several in-house masseurs ready to take your relaxation to the next level. You can enjoy a massage in the privacy of your own room (followed by a soak in your deep Japanese bath) or there are other private areas to accommodate you.
When it’s time for an afternoon beverage then Jackalope won’t disappoint. You certainly wouldn’t expect to find an on-site cocktail bar like Flagerdoot amongst the vineyards. Sample the alchemy of experimental in-house creations such as ‘Mushroom & Maple’ made from Shiitake mushroom, maple, chocolate bitters, bourbon whiskey. With dark parquet floors, handpicked gold leather seating and a chic, industrial-chemistry lab feel to it, Flagerdoot attracts the curious hoards on a weekend, eager to see what all the fuss is about.
Also attracting day visitors and guests alike are the two superb dining options and rumours of the delicious food at Jackalope are true. Doot Doot Doot, the upmarket fine-dining option has a ten thousand bulb chandelier, five-course seasonal degustation of local produce fresh from the kitchen garden and a unique selection of limited-release wines. It’s visually impressive by day and even more so at night when then chandelier comes alive.
Open for lunch: noon – 3pm, Saturday and Sunday and dinner: 6pm – 9pm (last order), 7 days.
For more casual dining head to Rare Hare. I ate a sumptuous lunch there and despite the winter rain outside it was warm and toasty and buzzing with diners. Highly recommended is the Negroni cured trout with horseradish cream and dill on rye toast, and the Salmon cutlet cured in white miso, sesame and ginger. Open from Monday to Thursday 11am to 5pm and Friday to Sunday from 11am to 9pm it makes a great place for a lazy long lunch or a dinner whether you’re staying in the hotel or not.
Nearby Red Hill properties Polperro and Port Phillip Estate both mentioned that they send guests to Jackelope to dine.
Before or after you feast, visit the Cellar Door of Willow Creek Vineyard. The entrance of Rare Hare backs on to a great room where wine barrels line up to the ceiling and guests can sample the wares. If you like Rosé you’ll be in for a treat.
It was winter during my visit but the 30 metre pool will be the perfect place for guests to wile away a sunny summer afternoon, glass of wine in hand. Overlooking the vineyard, it’s for guests only and even in the winter the steamy attached jacuzzi was being used.
Overall the hotel feels like a place to enjoy with friends or for a celebration rather than for romance and peace and quiet. Maybe this is due to the two on-site restaurants and quirky cocktail bar, or maybe it’s just the funky vibe of the place – it’s all about good times, great laughs and a unique experience to be shared. Jackalope has made an impression and is here to stay. To add Jackalope to an Australian itinerary contact firstname.lastname@example.org.