From the moment you drive into Spicers Clovelly Estate, you know you’re somewhere special. When check-in is one of the friendliest ever you know that the staff here, care. And when you enter your uber-comfortable suite you know you’re in the hands of true hospitality professionals.
The Spicers Retreats portfolio boasts 7 individual escapes across South East Queensland and New South Wales Hunter Valley. They have sought a unique concept of Australian hospitality – ‘relaxed luxury’; and they deliver every moment of your stay.
Clovelly Estate is nestled in Montville – a quieter corner of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Montville sits atop a ridge and is more serene than the spectacular beaches it overlooks. It’s the kind of place where roadside stalls of impossibly fresh fruits and vegetables are tended by honour boxes. It’s where the air is clean and the sky so dense with stars it seems you couldn’t possibly still be so close to the city.
The main guesthouse oozes French provincial inside and out. The gardens are manicured but still have that threat of growing wild that only Aussie gardens have. Interior walls are painted café au lait or softest dove grey. It’s all about the details and they all add up to create an understated luxury.
In the suites, every detail has been carefully considered from the soft furnishings to the etched water carafe on the bedside table. There is real milk not UHT in the homely pop-top bottle in the fridge. Floor to ceiling marble bathrooms come with a spa bath built for two with headrests and ThisMagnificentLife’s favourite amenities label Appelles. Not to mention the heated towel rails and heated floor for the rare chilly morning.
Keep an eye on the blackboard by the front door for the day’s activities including tours of the property, wine and canapés on the terrace or a cocktail-making-class at nearby Spicer’s sibling Tamarind Retreat.
A range of specials and packages that might combine a 5-course degustation, suite and breakfast are a perfect way to sample all there is to offer at Clovelly Estate. Listed as Romantic, Gourmet, Active, Spa and mid-week escape, there is something for all.
Clovelly Estate’s restaurant The Long Apron is Modern European with more than a little French accent. Food is often cooked in a manner relying on traditional technique or in a very 21stcentury innovative method. According to the latest Fairfax Good Food Guide it is “the jewel in the Spicers Group’s rather impressive crown”. It also retained its two-hat status in the latest guide.
In what could be best described as a very European move, Spicers earlier this year appointed Clovelly’s Executive Chef Cameron Matthews as Clovelly’s General Manager while retaining his existing role. Cameron has been at Clovelly since before it opened and has been the man who has steered the restaurant to be one of only two regional Queensland restaurants with two hats.
The extremely affable and driven Executive Chef/GM told TML he knew from the moment he read the job description for Chef at Clovelly, it was his. He loves Montville, the Sunshine Coast and the Spicers philosophy. He is constantly fine-tuning both the kitchen and the resort and believes perfection is in sight. Happily, he and Spicers agree that Clovelly Estate is a restaurant with rooms.
We were lucky to experience Cameron’s cooking twice as we also attended the launch of the Real Food Festival at Spicers Clovelly. Starting with a risotto of Woombye ‘Blackall Blue’ with organic strawberries, his commitment to genuine local produce shows on the plate. The triumphant finisher was Cedar St Cheeserie’s ‘a love supreme’ with Hunchy roadside pineapple caramelized in Sunshine Coast Brewery’s Pale Ale with white chocolate and macadamias from Mill Hill Road.
At dinner, there were more surprises. The amuse bouche usually reveals how the restaurant surprises and delights their diners. This night it was no exception. Everything from a ‘sashimi of watermelon’ that defies description to delicate profiteroles filled with parmesan cream to duck ‘jamon’ and rillettes with a coating of blueberry dust and duck with fish ‘crackling’.
Amazing house-baked bread and ‘curry yellow’ Guernsey butter. Mains of Spicer’s station veal, glazed snails, juice of roasted greens, stems and leaves and perfectly cooked medium rare Wagyu with aniseed, aged carrot and blueberry and onion tincture.
Dessert can be a reckoner but in the interest of our readers, we will always deliver a verdict. Apples, Artichokes, hay ice cream, caramel apple skins, apple granita and walnut milk shows the brilliance of the kitchen. And fermented rice pudding, strawberries, black olive praline with strawberry sorbet shows a contemporary twist on comfort food at its finest.
The Long Apron shows the attention to detail and intricacy that you would expect from a 2 hatted restaurant but with a relaxed attitude that is in keeping with the Spicers Retreats tag line: ‘Put everything back life takes out”.
At the Long Apron, it is always about the produce. Cameron is a passionate head cheerleader of Sunshine Coast ingredients. He is always happy to share a yarn about local cherry tomatoes or Walkers Nomadic Chickens. He promotes the region both on the plate and with his unwavering support of the Real Food Festival.
Spa Anise is the on-site Day Spa that delivers rejuvenating massages, facials and other treatments in suitably soothing treatment rooms. Spa Anise is an extension of the tranquil country environment offering quick pick-me-ups or life-changing indulgences that employ ancient techniques and pure botanicals.
The Spicers Clovelly Estate offering is unique; it is welcoming, nurturing and unforgettable. But all potential guests should understand that although the resort is rejuvenating – there might be an overwhelming desire to never, ever leave.