A vivid history and flavour at Werribee Mansion

Werribee Mansion Hotel and Spa is a magnificent architectural sight.
Werribee Mansion Hotel and Spa is a magnificent architectural sight.

Not so long ago I sang the praises of Wyndham City, a short 30-minute drive out of Melbourne. Well, during my exploration of the area I came across what I would call the jewel in the Werribee crown. It’s a taste of history, luxury, decadency and nature all in one small pocket of the Wyndham City region.

Werribee Mansion Hotel and Spa is the location that I speak of and it is an absolutely fantastic venue for a weekend away or for an even better experience may I suggest a mid-week escape? I offer the midweek option as the mansion grounds are so visually impressive that they prove fairly popular on weekends. 

The Mansion itself has a very interesting history, one that began in 1874 and has seen many transformations over the ensuing years, from pastoral empire to catholic seminary to its current life as a museum piece and five star hotel and spa.

Werribee Mansion Hotel and Spa is a historic location that has also served as a pastoral empire and a catholic seminary in the past.

Werribee Mansion Hotel and Spa is a historic location that has also served as a pastoral empire and a catholic seminary in the past.

Currently ranked in the top 25 hotels in Australia, there are varied room choices all with their own individual impression and flavour but sharing a chic finish that you would expect from any 5-star establishment. The generously sized junior suites and superior rooms were added to the location when architects Wood Marsh performed some of their handy work, and in doing so created the complete experience that has turned the mansion into an award-winning boutique venue.

Werribee Mansion's suites are comfortably appointed.

Werribee Mansion's suites are comfortably appointed.

With the main building being heritage listed and The Heritage rooms once being homes to the former students of the St Joseph’s seminary, they are on the smaller side, but they still supply all the modern amenities that you may wish for whilst maintaining the opulent period features.

As the priests in training did during their time, you can also strive for contemplation and this can only be helped by engaging yourself in the on-site spa, which apart from offering all the delightful pampering you can imagine, also has some of my favourites. Enjoy an indoor heated pool, steam rooms and a slight but well-equipped gym. A day lost here, is a week gained in headspace!

There are also little ‘escape’ rooms like the bar, the billiard room or the reading library with its gorgeous open fire that offer relaxation and restitution.

When it comes to culinary offerings here at Werribee Mansion and Spa, I believe you will be totally impressed.

The crispy skinned salmon is perfectly prepared at Josephs.

The crispy skinned salmon is perfectly prepared at Josephs.

The aptly named Joseph’s Restaurant overlooks a delightful section of the gardens and delivers delectable offerings breakfast (for inhouse guests) lunch, dinner and High Teas on a Sunday. The best of the best seasonal produce is used in creating mouth-watering pleasures that will have you relishing a gastronomic experience to match the best available. Overall, with friendly and engaging staff combined with the overall experience of the location and its opulence I believe you will be suitably impressed.

To get a real understanding of all its lives, you must visit this Italianate grand offering, that way you will see and feel the overwhelming aura that it exudes at the same time as having the physical experience.

To book or see more visit the website.

If you are looking for extra incentive to visit, you will find it within walking distance of the mansion in the shape of Shadowfax Winery. I have to include them in this tale as my visit there on a sunny winter afternoon was a real treat.

Some of the delights on offer at Shadowfax Winery.

Some of the delights on offer at Shadowfax Winery.

Shadowfax Winery is the closest winery to Melbourne and I must say it surprised me with the quality and sophistication of the wines on offer. The Shiraz and Riesling I found to be extremely enjoyable and the fare provided by Head Chef Ben D’Arcy and his team were something to experience. Mediterranean inspired delicacies like goats cheese croquette, house-cured duck prosciutto and beetroot chutney, or charcuterie boards featuring, jamon serrano, fennel and garlic finocchiona, duck liver pate, capacollo and chorizo Pamplona, just to name a few.

House-made pastas and wood-fired pizza make the perfect companions for a lazy Sunday in the sun, and if you do visit on a weekend you will also have joy of being entertained with live music, and that is always a winning ingredient for me. Shadowfax is just a divine little venue that I am sure you will love, so when you are at the mansion – pop down and say hello.

These are just two examples of the unexpected brilliance that I discovered on my Wyndham City adventure, so maybe you might like to explore the area yourself and make up your own mind.

Check out what’s on offer right here

Scott McRae is the host of Channel Ten’s A Taste of Travel. Visit www.scottmcrae.com.au and www.atasteoftravel.com.au