When Jackalope opened in a Mornington Peninsula winery last year, it was like an alien spacecraft landing. The charred timber-clad building, full of arresting art and neon-lit corridors, is like nothing else in the region. Neither are the dark and handsome rooms, many with freestanding stone tubs, all with spacious balconies and complimentary minibars. Guests lounge beside a black infinity pool, contemplating the vineyard and an all-day menu, or shoot pool in the starkly contemporary bar housed in the 1876 homestead. Other diversions includes dégustation-only restaurant Doot Doot Doot and an excellent bistro, Rare Hare. Alien maybe, but Jackalope landed in the right place at the right time.
Jackalope's dedication to wine is endearing, from the glass-walled wine cellar at reception and estate-grown bottles in the bistro, to the 10,000-globe chandelier in the restaurant, designed to evoke the fermentation process.
Don't miss having a meal in Rare Hare, which has local ingredients and wine as its backbone, and a wood-burning oven as its heart.
Breakfast in Doot Doot Doot is a highlight. There's a mini buffet of fruit, baked goods and cereals, but concentrate on the hot dishes, the likes of chicken congee, spanner crab omelette, and heirloom tomatoes with stracciatella. In-room dining is smart, too, and includes a stellar club sandwich spiked with chicken skin and bacon jam.
Flaggerdoot bar has some of the best original cocktails in Victoria. Its list changes monthly and leans herbal, with drinks such as The Sage, a lively mix of jalapeño-infused tequila, Chartreuse, lime and sage.
This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Hotel Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.