Nestled in the hinterland, midway between the Gold Coast and the mountains in Willow Vale, is Ruffles Lodge, a five-star retreat offering fine dining and an excellent collection of Australian boutique wines.
Owners John and Jan Nicholls are widely travelled and have extensive experience in hospitality. In 1999, after selling their catamaran business, they found the perfect 25 hectares to build their dream property and their retirement was over.
Ruffles has three villas and an executive suite set amongst landscaped gardens and native forest. Birds and animals are drawn by the native plants and make wonderful visitors.
Villas one and two are separated by a porch; villa three stands alone. All enjoy 180-degree views beyond the rural land to the high-rise buildings of Surfers Paradise way in the distance. The interior design exudes style and warmth thanks to the use of beautiful timbers. Each has a covered deck and enormous, well appointed bathrooms. Beds are king size and quality linen and toiletries have been used.
The Queenslander-style main building has a large verandah, stone walls, high ceiling and aged timber, re-milled from 100-year-old wharves along the Brisbane River.
Dinner starts at 7pm, with drinks and hors d’oeuvres served in either the pool gazebo, terrace or dining room, depending on weather. The gazebo has a wood-fired oven, as well as views across rambling hills to the ocean and the 19-metre Infinity pool is heated.
Beside the pool is a therapeutic spa where a comprehensive range of treatments can be enjoyed.
There are 16 golf courses within 30 minutes. Ruffles Lodge has a single 85-metre par three practice area with bunker, putting and chipping areas, so you can get your eye in.