Six-star ambition for Adelaide’s Mount Lofty House

Mount Lofty House in Adelaide.
Mount Lofty House in Adelaide.

Like their counterparts at the KSL Capital-controlled Baillie Lodges, which has recently expanded into Queensland, buying Silky Oaks Lodge, the owners of South Australia’s luxury Mount Lofty House are also amplifying their offering.

Built in 1852, the privately owned Mount Lofty House in the Adelaide Hills has just undergone a major refurbishment of its 33 suites. Owners David Horbelt and Malcolm Bean are ploughing $12 million into the development of 14 luxury villas on the 12ha property’s escarpment overlooking the Piccadilly Valley.

About $6 million has been spent upgrading the original Mount Lofty home, creating a reception area, restaurant, bar and conference facilities as well as the upgrade of the 33 suites, including all-new bathrooms.

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“Sequoia will be an estate within an estate. It will be counter-levered off the Mount Lofty mountain looking straight down into the valley,” Bean tells The Australian. The development will be completed by October.

Mount Lofty’s guests typically come from Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney while its foreign customers are usually from either Europe or the US.

Mount Lofty House in Adelaide.

Financed using their own money plus some debt, the five-star Mount Lofty’s renovations will be positioned in the same category as the Baillies’ flagship property, the Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island, but its design is completely different.

“We will be moving more into the international luxury (realm),” Bean says.

The six-star villas will be priced at $1000 a night, which is among the highest accommodation pricing in the country. Bean says Mount Lofty ispositioned in one of the country’s best wine regions but is only a 15-minute drive from the Adelaide CBD.

Bean and Horbelt, who also own the Reef House in Queensland’s Palm Cove, bought Mount Lofty about 10 years ago when it was rundown and have since refurbished it, planted a second vineyard for the production of a sparkling white wine called Sequoia, named after the property’s original Californian redwood trees, and established a three-hatted restaurant, Hardy’s Veranda Restaurant.

Mount Lofty House in Adelaide.

Most of Mount Lofty’s customers are leisure guests, but the property is also doing good business in up-market conferencing. It can handle 15-30 delegates. The wedding market is also strong.

A hotelier by trade, Horbelt says the partners are also planning a $4 million day spa.

Horbelt says the addition of Sequoia will drive further international and domestic recognition of Mount Lofty.

He says Mount Lofty House is the gateway to the world-­famous South Australian wine regions, with world-class experiences in the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale all within 50km of the property.

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