The Grande Hotel, Hepburn Springs

Last week I met the most amazing taxi driver on the face of the planet. Serge, one of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs only taxi drivers, chauffeured us to and from our dinner at The Grande Hotel, offered handy tips about the weather and opened our doors for us like a real gentleman. It was like stepping back to another time.

Following boredom in retirement, Serge now drives the local folk, and visitors, to and from the culinary capitals of the region – The Grande Hotel being just one of the sought after spots to dine. And it’s gorgeous olde worlde charm makes it all the more special.

grande hotel

We turned up on Locals Night as it were, where 2 or 3 courses were on offer for bargain prices. There was the fireplace, a piano and tables of couples looking at each other adoringly over candlelight. All the romance.


Little Miss Melbourne and I elected to go with two courses, and share the entree and dessert. Scallops as a starter were beautifully presented and delish before our mains – meatballs for me and duck for LMM – arrived. Champagne continued to be drunk while we chatted to the Maitre’d, and the owner of The Grande, who later gave us a tour of this impressive estate.

Feeling full and satisfied, we moved to the lounge chairs by the fire to enjoy cheese and quince paste before tea in the adjoining room that might best be described as a smoking lounge (without the smoking part).

IMAG1985_1A gorgeous old photo of the owners mother on the mantlepiece is a lovely touch

The whole building is delightfully southern, and in a word, Grand. Also apparently haunted! The food is prepared by a renowned hatted chef, the staff were all wonderfully pleasant and chatty and while it was dark, it felt like the outlook over Wombat Forest would not disappoint.

The Grande Hotel
1 Church Avenue
Hepburn Springs 

Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa

One of life’s sheer pleasures is just having a bath. Whether you are drinking tea or wine, lying in soothing hot water, gently scented with salts or oils, is the most relaxing of acts and one that can empower, rejuvenate and energise.  On my recent sojourn to Daylesford, I visited the Herpburn Bathhouse and Spa, for bathing, spa-ing and eating. A perfect afternoon, really.


The Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa is located barely 90 minutes from Melbourne in the delightful wellness region, just up the road from Daylesford. The buildings and surrounds were established in 1895 and visitors have been bathing in the mineral water’s of the region ever since. A renovation in recent years means the facilities are modern and tranquil. An amazing place to escape to.


We started our afternoon at the Hepburn Pavillion Cafe, a quaint cafe on the ground of the bathhouse ideal for a light lunch or sweet treat. Starting with sparkling wine, and finishing with tea, the platters of tapas style tasting plates made for a delicious meal that wasn’t too heavy before we headed to the spa for our treatments. (The cafe also does gluten free scones, so don’t leave before you try them!)


Up the hill at the bathhouse, private bathing in a mineral bath was a welcome start to our treatment. Using the detox salts, I enjoyed 30 minutes in the water with my eyes closed and bubbles on before heading to the Spa for a Spring Rain Water Therapy.

private bath

An interesting alternative to the standard massage when you visit the region, the Spring Rain treatment sees you lie on a bed where your skin is polished with a sugar scrub and a delicious chocolate mask is smoothed over your body to firm and tone. The Vichy shower overhead then removes the products, massaging while you wash away your stresses and anxieties.


It is an odd sensation, to be lying on a bed under a shower, but the end result is feeling renewed and fresh. The whole afternoon was a divine experience and one which I’d recommend to anyone for some R&R time. Spoil yourself!

Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa
Private Bathing from $70pp
Spring Rain Water Therapy $203 (Fri-Mon)

Frangos Frangos

I’ve had a fair bit of *stuff* going on in the past few months, above and beyond the kind of day to day dramas that we all experience. While I post happy facebook status updates and continue to flit about town in my heels holding a champagne glass, the happenings behind closed doors have stressed me out quite a bit, so a night away in Daylesford with Little Miss Melbourne was a very welcome escape, and timely.

frangos frangos

Frangos Frangos is located up one end of the Daylesford Main St, and I had always thought it was just a restaurant and retail store, but no, hidden behind the facade (which would not look out of place in Italy or France) is a gorgeous boutique hotel with twelve beautifully fitted out rooms. Checking in with the general manager, Bernard, was a delight, as he showed us to Room 5 – Rouge – named for its red feature wall.


With a bathroom bigger than my entire apartment (and a tub to die for!) the hotel room was comfortable, and lovingly fitted out. Mirrors, shutters and glass doors made the intimate space appear much larger, and a mini bar with the essentials (Veuve!) was well stocked.


A drink with Bernard in the sitting room before dinner was reminiscent of cocktail hour. The room is opulent, with a magnificent balcony and furniture not out of place in a 1920s film. Chaise lounges and antique sidetables are bathed in sunshine and a mere sip of champagne takes you away.


Nothing is too much trouble for the staff (calling a taxi, recommending somewhere to eat) and they’ll greet you by name if you see them in the street. Breakfast at the adjoining KouKla cafe the following morning was delicious, and a welcome start to the day. So good in fact, that we came back for lunch after hearing that they served the best pizza in town.


There are plenty of accommodation options in Daylesford, but this experience was truly one that is a step up from just renting a house. I’d also suggest Frangos Frangos would be divine for an intimate wedding, with a delicious courtyard out the back, and the facilities (a restaurant and bar) that would easily accommodate events with style and grace.

Frangos Frangos
82 Vincent Street
Daylesford VIC 3460