Catriona discovers a romantic French villa in South Australia's Adelaide Hills.
The Adelaide Hills area is chock-a-block with b&bs, but if you'd like to stay at one with a real taste of Provençe, The Orangerie in Stirling is perfect.
It is conveniently positioned between the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek wine growing areas.
Five years ago, Clare and David Tomkins turned their family home into a b&b, and as they always referred to one of the rooms as The Orangerie, thought it the perfect name for their venture.
There are two self-contained suites attached to the 100-year-old building which is set in a rambling garden of old European trees, fountains, statues, ponds and gazebos. It has a solar-heated saltwater pool and alfresco eating area.
The Orangerie Suite is in the provincial style with country kitchen, crisp white linen in the bedroom, tapestries, forged iron furniture and candelabra. It has a luxurious bathroom and separate laundry.
The Apartment has two queen bedrooms, one up and one down. It is appointed with antiques, marble fireplaces, gilt mirrors, artworks and an extensive library. Next to the sitting room is an ultra modern stainless steel and beech kitchen with Italian stone floor. The main bedroom upstairs is richly decorated with French fabrics, armoire and oil paintings. It has an adjoining rooftop garden for star gazing. The Apartment’s second bedroom has fine furnishings and ensuite bathroom.
Provisions are included for a gourmet breakfast of local produce, as well as chocolates, fruit, port and local wine. Bathrobes, toiletries, hairdryer and iron are in each suite.
The seasons each have something to offer. Spring arrives with lush outbursts of flowers and bulb plants, summer days are hot followed by balmy evenings, autumn is a mass of colour and winter is just right for brisk walks and time spent in front of an open fire.
There is an old grass tennis court in the grounds, more suited to a hit-and-giggle than serious tennis at the moment, but the owners are upgrading it to an all-weather surface. One of Adelaide's leading professional tennis coaches will be available to help you along with your game. Croquet, boules and in-house massages are also there for your enjoyment.