Since the former Peppers Hermitage was refurbished and reopened in 2006 as The Louise, this beautiful retreat on the Marananga hilltop in the vine-clad Barossa Valley has set the benchmark for other food and wine retreats to follow. An hour from Adelaide, owners Jim and Helen Carreker, wisely modelled their vision on the best food wine and hotel offerings in Europe and California where they'd spent time. Now a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the boutique property provides 15 spacious suites with terraces overlooking the vineyards. Luxury features include marble en suite bathrooms with dual spa tubs and romantic candle nooks, separate outdoor rain showers, fireplaces and hi-tech toys like espresso makers, Bose Wave CD players and widescreen LCD TVs. A separate private residence - Atrium at Greenock Creek - provides luxury accommodation for larger groups. You'll want to experience chef Mark McNamara?s creations more than once in the award-winning on-site restaurant Appellation (Appellation). Offered every evening as well as an al carte menu is the Wine Flight Tasting Menu where 10 dishes are matched to seven Barossa wines specially chosen around a theme which changes every two months.
Photos: Courtesy of The Louise