Smiths Beach Resort, Yallingup
An address next to one of the state’s best beaches; an on-site restaurant and provedore; spacious rooms that make the most of the region’s abundant sun: Smiths Beach Resort truly is the south-west holiday home of our (Lotto) dreams. Although this 55-room luxury eco-hotel is perfect for a do-nothing getaway, its location at the northern end of Margaret River puts guests within striking distance of Wilyabrup’s pioneering wineries; many great restaurants; some of the region’s best craft breweries (including Eagle Bay); plus lots of great outdoor activities.
The Premier Mill, Katanning
A cafe owner walks into a crumbling Wheatbelt flour mill and says, “I think I’m going to turn this into a standard-setting regional hotel”. It helps, of course, that the cafe owner in question is Nigel Oakey, of Dome fame. And as evidenced by the polish and detail of Katanning’s Premier Mill Hotel, Oakey is a man who gets things done. With Bang & Olufsen speakers, carefully restored machinery and a buzzy basement bar, this stylish 22-room hotel effortlessly marries city style with its pastoral setting.
Farmers’ Home Hotel, Northam
Not content with opening just one landmark regional hotel, Oakey then turned his attention to Northam’s Shamrock Hotel, a “pretty rough, run-down old pub”. After five years of planning and transforming, he unveiled Farmers’ Home Hotel earlier this year –and it’s a new standard-bearer for accommodation in the Avon Valley. Like the Premier Mill, this 16-room boutique hotel is faithful to the site’s rural history (the building dates back to the early 1800s), but it has all the luxurious details and amenities you’d want in modern accommodation, including custom-made furnishings, Aesop products in the bathroom and a chic in-house bar-eatery.
The Gerald, Geraldton
A one-time office tower built in the ’70s has been reborn as The Gerald, an elegant, modern hotel close to Geraldton’s main artery, Marine Terrace (and just a couple of blocks from the beach). Each of the 40 rooms is adorned with original art and contemporary furnishings (Barbara O’Donovan is artist-in-residence), and the apartments have kitchenettes and living areas. (Studio rooms are also available.) The best accommodation is the two-bedroom, seventh-floor apartment with magnificent ocean views and a private glass-walled balcony. The hotel’s rooftop al fresco bar-eatery, The Old Man & The Sea, is open nightly and nods to the area’s fishing history.
Aiyana Retreat, Denmark
Stop. Stay. Breathe. Unwind. These four luxury chalets at Aiyana Retreat, located in a lush pocket of the Great Southern region, are calibrated for maximum relaxation. Handcrafted ceramics and local timber feature in all these earthy, comfortable homes, and outdoor showers help bring the outside in. The wineries, studios and Instagram-ready sights of Denmark await, and it’s worth making the 40-minute drive to destination fish’n’chipper Peaceful Bay Fish and Chips.