When the places you stay at are pivotal to your travel experience–be it by virtue of a uniquely artistic design, a special location, in-house events or unusual services that offer extra insight into the city or town you’re visiting
Eco-Luxury Dreams Fulfilled at The Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, South Australia
By Shana Ting Lipton
[Originally published on About.com/New York Times Company]
If a consortium of international power elites were to meet to discuss world domination, it would be at a long table in the pristine and sleek restaurant at the Southern Ocean Lodge (SOL). Here, before a breathtaking view of the craggy beach, the Southern Ocean seems to go on forever–or at least 3000 miles until it hits land in Antarctica.
That’s the sort of lofty notion that fuels unrestrained ambition, while paradoxically inducing a sense of peace. In laymen’s terms–in fact, even for a fairly seasoned traveler–this exclusive South Australian retreat feels like the sweeping, remote, near-mythical setting of a James Bond film.
Its positioning, on the largely eco-conserved Kangaroo Island (K.I.), is ideal. Take a flight from Adelaide and you’re at Kingscote airport in less than 20 minutes. A drive and ferry takes a few hours. In a couple of hours one can traverse the island East to West (the Lodge is situated on its southern tip).
The SOL’s design–by local architect Max Pritchard–is such that it blends unobtrusively with the natural landscape. Lodgings sit atop limestone cliffs and all have great views. Each room is named after a K.I. shipwreck (as it’s known as the ‘shipwreck island’). God is in the details here–from heated floors and local amenities like sea salts to tasty treats like the Aussie sweet ‘lamingtons’ displayed on a net-covered dish on arrival.
Life–if you would consider four days (the average stay) at the Lodge ‘life’–is Utopian enough that it’s difficult to imagine leaving the premises. However, for visitors with perpetual wanderlust, the SOL offers activities on or near its 200 acre confines. You can, for instance, partake of canapes and cocktails on the jacuzzi-side balcony and then get whisked away on a nocturnal kangaroo spotting excursion.
Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio had mentioned that eating at their restaurant was one of his all time top dining experiences. I myself sampled two particularly memorable dishes: a mouth-watering Moroccan spiced quail with char grilled vegetables and spiced K.I. sheep’s milk yogurt, and the best affogato I’ve ever had (topped with native Island Sting honey liqueur). The eatery’s visual tone is set by South Australian artist Janine Mackintosh’s pieces constructed from dry leaves.
My stay was sponsored by the South Australian Tourism Commission, but I can imagine the cost of a stay for ‘civilians’ would seem jaw-dropping (starting at $1100 per person per night) until you see the place, and consider that meals, guided tours, snacks and amenities are included. The feeling that all–with the exception of on-site spa treatments–is paid for from the start lends itself to a serene stay. The exception, of course, are those heated ‘world take-over’ meetings with your global elite cohorts. It’s hard not to think in such over-zealous terms when a stay in this special spot makes you feel like the world is already yours.
Read Full Review With Rating at About.com Australian and New Zealand Travel
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