Winter is a special time in the Barossa, and these flash digs could be just the tonic.
Hayley Baillie has a memorable name (and lineage, as entrepreneur Dick Smith's daughter), but Baillie Lodges, the luxury travel brand she launched two decades ago with husband James, is more noteworthy. The Louise was already one of the Barossa's fanciest lodgings before Baillie snapped it up last year and spent $3 million on what they call a "glamover". The money was wisely spent: sprucing tired interiors in the 15 suites, and redesigning and opening up the lobby and restaurant area, where big windows make a real difference.
Getting away from it all in style is what The Louise delivers, with stunning vineyard views, luxury rooms, friendly and knowledgeable staff and a major emphasis on really good, local food. It's less than an hour from Adelaide airport to check-in, followed by a lovely stroll to your room under a fragrant rosemary-and-lavender-lined, vine-covered pergola. Past the car park and its Porsche and Tesla charging stations is the infinity pool - which, after heading straight there post welcome cocktail, I have blissfully to myself - and gym and sauna. Nearby, Tscharke has a wine bar (and resident peacock) and the award-winning Seppeltsfield Road Distillers has seven gins on taste, including the refreshing Native Ground, made with pink peppercorns from the very tree under which you may be sampling it.
Comforting curves are in the furnishings, artworks, gardens and decadent floor-to-ceiling walk-in glass cellar, with 800 bottles. Outside, there's a huge, beautifully designed white curvy firepit, perfect with a local red.
The room - more like a mini house - has a grown-up, relaxing white, oatmeal and charcoal theme, and works by local artists. A separate lounge area has a teeny-tiny TV (perhaps, to encourage you to switch off) and a fireplace. The bathroom has two sinks, indoor and outdoor showers and a deep bath. A private hedged courtyard overlooks the garden and rolling vines. Turndown service is the best in the business: curtains drawn, kettle boiled and ready for a signature tea, a little note, soft music and candles. There's also chocolate fudge like my granny made and a decanter of Seppeltsfield port.
Looking around The Louise's signature restaurant Appellation, hearing the satisfying sighs of guests grazing and gazing out over the vines, it's clear they love their food. Each night offers a different tasting menu with matching local wines - chef Asher Blackford's feast included beetroot tartare, Black Angus Beef and a moreish polenta-garlic mash, basil sorbet atop lemon sponge cake and my faves: bread from Apex Bakery, made with the same sourdough starter since 1924, and the oysters served dramatically in a Henschke box. Breakfast, too, is divine: delicious yoghurt, jams and honeys from beehives at the local school.
Check out what's on in the Barossa beforehand (when we stay, there's a music festival in full swing down the road) but part of the Baillie MO is to curate experiences for you; so quiz the super staff. They may steer you to nearby Vasse Virgin workshop to make your own signature fragrance (or lip balm), a lovely keepsake of your trip.
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Beyond all the booze (150 wineries!), the area is developing a big wellness following. Shortly after sunrise, I join Tanya from Barossa Wellness for yoga in the vines: a wonderful way to start the day.
Where: The Louise, Seppeltsfield Road, Marananga, SA
How much: From $1150 per night (includes breakfast and dinner)
Explore more: thelouise.com.au
The writer was a guest of The Louise.