This hotel is a superb mix of old world charm, grandeur magnificence and a modern lure of fine food, splendid rooms and pampering.
The building which is now the Mansion Hotel was built by brothers Thomas and Andrew Chirnside, Scottish immigrant squatters, in the early 1870s.
The 60-room castle was the largest private residence ever constructed in Victoria and was the jewel in the crown of the brothers' 36,000ha pastoral empire. It was recognised as the best example of an English estate in Australia.
The mansion was passed to the Roman Catholic Church in the 1920s, an adjoining 200 room wing was built and for most of the 20th century it was a Corpus Christi Seminary.
It was purchased by the Victorian Government in 1973 and they ensured its preservation and restoration. In 1997 the Mansion Group won a tender to develop and manage the property as a five-star boutique hotel.
It is listed on the National Estate register, classified by the National Trust and is a member of the exclusive Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
Just 20 minutes from the centre of Melbourne, the hotel has 92 contemporary rooms and suites, all oozing style in the fashion of the great European country spas.
But there's plenty to do if you can bear to leave your room. A game of snooker, a few hours in the wonderful library, a visit to the Aveda spa, complete with a 17m pool, plus tours of the grounds are an absolute must.
You can wander through the grounds and admire the lake, grotto, farm and parterre garden and visit the property's new Shadowfax Winery and Vineyard. It already produces premium reds and whites each year.
Joseph's Restaurant and Bar are within the hotel and are open for three meals each day. The pleasure of the food, coupled with great garden views, makes for a wonderfully peaceful and romantic experience.
House guests are also free to tour Chirnside Mansion and Victoria's State Rose Garden. This has more than 4000 rose bushes, including sweet-smelling old-fashioned roses, and is an absolute picture of colour.
Other activities in the area include a visit to the nearby equestrian centre, the local golf course and Victoria's open range zoo.