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May 2011, issue 39

Australian Traveller

Best B&Bs in Western Australia

 Our guide to the best B&Bs in Western Australia

RIVER’ESQUE
We mentioned River’esque as a great place to stay in our article on Margaret River last issue, but we couldn’t overlook including this fantastic accommodation option for this story because it truly is one of the most exceptional B&Bs in the region. The private, freestanding, two-storey, Balinese-style chalet features a wide verandah with day beds, an outdoor shower, spa bath, canopied four-poster bed and Indonesian touches such as incense and fresh-picked frangipanis.
SOMETHING SPECIAL: River’esque was voted one of the Top 10 Romantic Retreats back in issue #7 of Australian Traveller and it’s gone from strength the strength since. Owner Di says it’s a popular venue for super-small weddings and even elopements!
HOW MUCH? $240 per night per room midweek in winter; high season and weekend rates see a maximum of $280 per night per couple.
WHILE YOU’RE HERE: Wine, dine and drop a line – there’s great beach fishing in Margaret River; have a surf – ask ex-pro surfer Rob for his pick of the local breaks.
CONTACT: Di and Rob Conneeley.
Ashton St, Margaret River.
(08) 9757 2493; www.riveresque.com


March 2011, issue 38

Australian Traveller

Out & About: Margaret River

Western Australia’s beloved south-coast holiday spot is world renowned for its premium wine, mouth-watering produce, white sandy beaches and amazing surf breaks, writes Dimity Noble. Need any more excuses to go?
BEST ACCOMMODATION
*RIVER’ESQUE: There are loads of B&Bs to choose from in Margaret River, but this (pictured left) is the pick of the bunch – a free-standing two-bedroom, two-storey, Balinese-style villa that boasts a spa with a view. Autumn rates are from $260 per couple mid-week. Ashton St, Margaret River; www.riveresque.com


February 2006, issue 07

Australian Traveller

Australia's Ten Most Romantic

Those secret corners of the country that are lighting it up in time for Valentine’s Day.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, Australian Traveller turned to its stable of experienced travel writers for romantic guidance. After all, what other group of individuals has seen so much of what this country has to offer? So the questions were posed: Where are Australia’s most romantic destinations? What are its dreamiest activities? The final result is this compilation of Ten Romantic Hotspots. And while we point out that they are in no particular order – and are certainly not the be-all and end-all of potential hideaways to take your intended for Valentine’s Day this year – they will most certainly impress, will definitely leave you in the mood, and might just give you that romantic idea you were searching for. Enjoy...

A Little Slice of Bali

Blokey sportfishing publisher Jim Harnwell is a softie at heart; when he’s not catching big fish in the wilds of the Kimberley or Cape York, he can think of nothing better than spending time with his wife and family. Margaret River is his pick for a romantic getaway, with the wineries, fine foods and classy lodgings  combining to create a sensory overload. “If a bottle of great red, some nice cheese and the sun setting through the gum trees doesn’t get you in the mood for love,” he says, “it may well be that you are dead.”

After a day spent touring wineries, olive groves and a variety of cafes, antique emporiums and assorted retail outlets – not to mention strolling along deserted beaches to watch surfers brave the booming Indian Ocean swells – my wife and I were feeling pretty shagged (in a very relaxed and pleasant way, I hasten to add). This was our first romantic trip away in almost five years. At home on the east coast our two young sons were safely in the care of grandparents; we didn’t have to do anything or be anywhere for at least a couple of days. This was a rare opportunity to pretend we were again the young, carefree couple that I dimly recall we were before kids, mortgages and careers got in the way of everything.

Friends on either side of the continent had urged us to spend a day or two in Margaret River, so we dawdled south from Perth. Inspection of the local Visitor Centre revealed a plethora of places to stay. The nice lady at the counter suggested quite a few cottages but none caught my eye – until I found a brochure on a place called River’esque. “Oh yes, that’s very nice,” the lady said. “Very luxurious. People rave about it.” We were sold.
Booked in, we went to a local deli and purchased all the food we used to eat before the arrival of kids saw our culinary adventures come to a sudden halt. Smoked salmon, Brie, nice bread, olives, sun-dried tomatoes. I had a couple of bottles of local Shiraz hidden in the boot of our rental car.

We found River’esque, a stylish Balinese-inspired chalet perched amongst eucalypts on a hill above the actual Margaret River. A note propped up against a smiling Buddha welcomed us and urged us to make ourselves at home. No sooner said than done. I had the first bottle open in a jiffy and we sipped the peppery wine as we explored the house.

Immaculately presented, it was hard not to feel instantly relaxed. The comfortable rooms flowed into one another, all leading to a marvellous balcony set among the treetops. We collapsed into the comfy armchairs before spreading our feast out on a low table and opening the second bottle of red. The evening passed in a blur of languid indulgence. We bathed in the moonlight in the fern-covered outdoor shower before running back in and leaping into the huge steaming bath.

The vast white bed in the upstairs room was so big and soft I almost lost my wife in it. But I found her eventually. The outcome of that is a whole other story. Let me just say that when we arrived at River’esque we had two children. When we left, a third, now known as Suzanna May, was on the way...


Postcards WA Magazine

Love Shacks

The Postcards WA crew has stayed nearly everywhere in the South-West – so where would they go for a wicked weekend? We uncover six romantic hideaways. They’re secluded, privately run and full of special touches – these are Margaret River’s secret love shacks.

River’esque

Romance factor: Make out like a Balinese princess and steal your prince away to this Indonesian-inspired hideaway.

The scented trail of frangipani blooms leading to the Balinese bungalow is the first hint that River’esque is the kind of place where honeymoons are remembered and wild weekends away become deliciously addictive. Guests here are simply spoiled by attention to detail.

Owners Di and Rob Conneeley scatter gardenias, frangipanis and bougainvilleas throughout this cosy, secluded haven – the blooms peek out of stone statues, sensuously decorate the beds and float in bowls on the balcony. The perfect hosts call by later to make sure you and your prince are perfectly comfortable – showing you how to light the fire if the night is chilly, inviting you for drinks if you feel like a little company, and telling you where to head for the best local swordfish.

“We just love Bali, it’s so relaxing, so peaceful,” says Di. “It’s also a very spiritual place, and Margaret River is like that too. We wanted our visitors to have that same feeling when they came to stay with us. They kick off their shoes, see the smiling Buddha and get straight into relaxation mode.” Many of the guests to River’esque return again and again. “Our special way of advertising is when people tell their friends,” Di says.

The amenities here are as indulgent as the hosts. The teak balcony holds dreamy daybeds dressed in embroidered silks, perfect for languid afternoons. Rugs are at hand for a sunset snuggle among the forest’s birds, or climb the stairs and roll your lover under a swathe of white net on the four-poster bed. A bowl of local berries is provided for the perfect late night dessert, as well as gourmet breakfast goodies to start the day.

Special touch: The outdoor shower is bound to inspire. What could be more indulgent than a bath for two under the stars?
Facilities: One chalet with two double bedrooms, two bathrooms (plus outdoor shower), spa, microwave, video, CD player and barbecue.
Contact: Di and Rob Conneeley on (08) 9757 2493, or email Di and Rob.

 

River'esque: After the style of a meandering river, flowing slowly to the sea.

To make a booking or request more information,
call (08) 9757 2493 or email Di and Rob at River'esque.