Escape entrenched in beauty – Lancemore Milawa by The Stella Collective

Jan 12, 2023
  • Article by Charlotte Huston

After undergoing a multimillion-dollar refurbishment, Lancemore Milawa is showing off its face-lift by Melbourne-based studio The Stella Collective.

Located at the gateway of King Valley in Victoria’s northeast, wedged between the twisting grapevines of Brown Brothers winery, the 40-room lodge now welcomes guests to the High Country with a contemporary Mediterranean embrace.

Embedded with a sun-kissed palette reminiscent of the Moors and provides a nostalgic nod to the hotel’s original fit-out.

“Our design language is always encapsulated by the feeling of escaping to somewhere entrenched in beauty with a modern Mediterranean, Moorish infusion to it,” says  British-born Syrian and The Stella Collective founder and principal designer Hana Hakim.

“Lancemore CEO Julian Clarke felt our aesthetic was a perfect fit for the hotel because when his mother Jan designed it 20 years ago, she had been inspired by her travels to Morocco and used those experiences as the backdrop of her design.

“That was a lovely starting point for us.

The two-storey hotel is surrounded by distant mountain peaks and pasturelands – reminiscent of a living canvas that evokes all seasons.

“Our palette, textures, and finishes all reflect this – everything is really raw and robust. It has a grounded and glamorous beauty to it.”

“The seasons are so visible in this part of the world,” adds Hakim.

“The region really helped us understand how to design each space. With summer being hot and dry, and winter cold and rainy, we focused on weaving those elements into the design so that it feels incredibly inviting, romantic and cosy in the cooler months or open, fresh and exotic when it’s warm.”

Under the new revamp, guests now enter the hotel through a reimagined foyer. Rooms keys are collected from a mosaic-lined counter and an oversized terracotta urn, which offer a preview of the material palette to come.

On the ground floor, the hotel’s main gathering places are located. The first is Merlot, an onsite restaurant named for the grapevines it overlooks and features a sophisticated dining room and adjoining bar.

The venue is grounded by warm white walls and polished concrete floors with floating banquettes, delectable ecru-coloured curtains and natural timber seating – all designed to “transition seamlessly with the climate”, according to Hakim.

Moving to the bar, the works of Sidney Nolan add colour and storytelling through their depiction of Ned Kelly.

Staying on the ground floor, next is the Vineyard Room – decked out with floor-to-ceiling windows framing views across the grapevines. This relaxation zone cocoons guests with low-slung sofas and linen-lined armchairs from day to night.

The Vineyard Room is Hakim’s favourite room, namely for its eye-catching pewter chandelier that depicts palm leaves with a nod to the Hollywood Regency style, and a striking fireplace.

“We implemented the crescent moon-shaped fireplace to anchor the conversation pit. With the U-shaped maxi sofa and burgundy tile tables – it sets such a beautiful scene for guests to enjoy,” she explains.

Upstairs, a lounge space presents guests with a quieter reading room environment where linen and Mexican equipale cedar seating is arranged beneath a beaded chandelier and arched windows open a sightline across the landscape.

In each room and suite, polished concrete floors, sisal rugs, and custom-made teak joinery complement custom bouclé love seats or linen-covered sofas.

The Stella Collective also included pattern throws, brass sconces and commissioned artworks to add visual punch. “The artworks were hand-painted in Morocco,” explains Hakim.

“We wanted to bring something to the rooms that were very now, supporting the artisans from Morocco just as Jan did back in the day.”

Divided over the hotel’s two levels, and in keeping with the theme of the love for all seasons, the rooms and suites offer a choice of sunrise or sunset views.

“The upper options spill out to shared balconies with masses of wisteria in spring. The lower rooms and suites open to ground-level courtyards, overlooking the fishpond and rambling rose bushes to the east or manicured gardens to the west.”

At the top of the outdoor stairs, accompanied by plants in terracotta pots, the upper-level function terrace provides views across the eastern gardens and Moroccan-inspired courtyard.

The courtyard is anchored by an aqua-blue mosaic-tiled fountain and is where guests can venture to the outdoors from the dining room to enjoy drinks and dining, seated at wire-frame chairs or reclined in string hammocks.

“I honestly can’t believe the beauty of the vineyards, the gardens and the climate. Milawa is a very special pocket of Victoria,” adds Hakim.

“I didn’t realise something like this existed within Australia. I hope we’ve added to the region by bringing grounded glam to the High Country.”

Photography by Lillie Thompson.

Conversation • 0 comments

Add to this conversation

show/hide

Reply

Your email address will not be published.