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Top 3 Valentine's Day love shacks

11:00 AEST Thu Feb 10 2011
Valentine's Day is a favourite of Getaway. Everyone's curious as to who will receive flowers and cards from anonymous admirers, and there are always plenty of sweet goodies in the office.

Catriona Rowntree, Kate Ceberano and the token male, Jules Lund, had a look at a few romantic places for lovers to celebrate their special day.

Catriona's pick: Saffire Freycinet

Saffire Lodge is on the Tasmania's Freycinet Peninsula, less than three hours from Hobart and Launceston. The stunning property stands on what was once a caravan park and is the state's only property to be on the Luxury Lodges of Australia list.

It overlooks Great Oyster Bay and the pink granite Hazard Mountain Range. Tasmania's most creative architects made the most of the landscape and views. White sandy beaches, sapphire waters and grey-green native landscape provided an inspirational palette, with stone, timber and leather finishing it all off. Local products and designs have been used throughout.

Saffire has just 20 suites offering privacy while taking in views and allowing natural light to enter. A blend of classic and contemporary furnishings include pieces by Eames and deep red hand-woven rugs. Slipping between 1000-threadcount sheets makes the king beds simply luxurious.

Palate, a two-tiered restaurant, showcases the best Tasmania has to offer in cuisine terms, and there's plenty of that. Dine on degustation menus matched with local wines, à la carte or talk with head chef Hugh Whitehouse about your favourite dish.

After dinner, guests tend to gravitate to the beautiful lounge for a nightcap and log fire when the weather is cool.

If you're feeling active, there are plenty of options, including a gourmet picnic, a visit to an oyster farm, quad-biking, kayaking or joining in a cooking lesson.

Guests are treated to a 60-minute welcoming spa experience with a choice of treatments. When you are completely relaxed, escape to your private deck which overlooks a beautiful courtyard.

Between May and August humpback and southern right whales will be seen on their annual migration, and is a favourite playground for dolphins. Calamari, squid, oysters, crayfish and endless varieties of table fish swarm in the waters.

Kate's pick: Tower Lodge

Tower Lodge is a luxurious small hotel in the heart of the Hunter Valley, just two hours from Sydney. It's won a string of awards for its accommodation, food and wines. The World Luxury Hotel Awards recognised its understated luxury in all areas with the Global Luxury Lodge of the Year award in 2010.

Ten lodge rooms radiate from a central courtyard. Nine have king beds and the other two queen beds. It is suitable for disabled guests. Two other rooms are the Oriental and Chairman's Suite. All are furnished with antiques, recycled timbers and rich fabrics and have dressing room and deep double-spa bath. Some have wood-burning fireplaces. The Oriental Suite has an outdoor plunge tub and a 300-year-old bed from Rajasthan.

Nine Restaurant, named because it is nine feet underground in the original Tower Lodge's cellar, offers a warm, earthy ambience for up to 12 diners.

Chef Daniel Hunt has designed nine seasonal degustation menus using Hunter Valley produce where possible, paired with one of six wine lists made up of premium local vintages and imported varieties. At the end of the meal, guests are presented with a recipe book featuring all nine menus.

Jules' pick: The Love Shack Retreat

Just 75km south-east of Melbourne is the seaside town of Rosebud. On the shores of Port Phillip Bay, the second largest town on the Mornington Peninsula is a popular destination, particularly with families who love the sandy beaches and shallow water.

Just 300m from the beach, the Love Shack Retreat is a cosy, romantic cottage. It is modern and has a log fire for snug nights and is air-conditioned for summer. Guests have private use of the property, including the outdoor heated spa.

You can book The Love Shack and The Spa Retreat together. They can be opened up to create one house.

Location

Tasmania's Freycinet Peninsula, the Hunter Valley in New South Wales and Rosebud on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula.

Cost

Urban Beach Retreats' Love Shack starts at $125 a night. Bedding and linen are included. They have two other accommodation options and can cater for 27 guests.

Tower Lodge rooms start at $660 a night mid-week and $710 on weekends per night. Breakfast, afternoon tea and pre-dinner drinks are included. Weekend packages are $2174 for two nights, which includes accommodation, breakfast, afternoon tea, pre-dinner drinks, dinner in Robert's Restaurant, dinner in Restaurant 9 and two one-hour massages.

Saffire Freycinet rooms start at $1250 for a deluxe suite. Breakfast, lunch and select beverages are included until 6pm, in-suite mini-bar and a spa treatment are included. Guests are invited to join in a group cooking activity at no cost.

Prices correct at February 10, 2011.

For further information The Love Shack Retreat
6 Morgan Street
Rosebud, Victoria 3939
Ph: (03) 5986 4119
www.urbanbeachretreats.com.au
info@urbanbeachretreats.com.au

Tower Lodge
6 Halls Road
Pokolbin, NSW 2320
Ph: (02) 4998 7022
Fax: (02) 4998 7164
www.towerlodge.com.au
retreat@towerestate.com

Saffire Freycinet
2352 Coles Bay Road
Coles Bay, Tasmania 7215
Ph: (03) 6256 7888
www.saffire-freycinet.com.au
ea@saffire-freycinet.com.au

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