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“Resort Captures the Magic of Kangaroo Island”

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Southern Ocean Lodge
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Kangaroo Island
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
145 reviews
65 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“Resort Captures the Magic of Kangaroo Island”
Reviewed 21 May 2013

Kangaroo Island is a magical place, teaming with wild life, with lots of small local producers of all types of edibles, several fine boutique wineries (be sure to book a visit to The Islander) and even a distillery KIS, that produces unique spirits flavoured with local plants. Southern Ocean Lodge is definitely the place to stay on the island to fully enjoy the wilderness, serenity and experiences that KI offers. The rooms are superb - all look out to Hanson Bay with floor to ceiling windows and yet have complete privacy. I loved being able to walk around naked without having to draw the curtains. I kept the door to the terrace open at night (there's a bug screen) to allow the sound of the crashing waves to flood into the room and the ocean breeze to keep the room cool without the need of air conditioning. There is floor heating - an option you can turn on or off too. My room was the "smallest" type a Flinders suite but still very spacious: with kitchen galley, separate shower, sink and toilet spaces, sunken lounge area, terrace etc. However I'd go up one category if my husband had been with me to get double sinks and a bathtub in an Ocean Retreat suite. Chef Tim Bourke focusses on local cuisine getting as much as 75 per cent or more from KI producers, farmers and fishermen. You'll wait between courses but as long as you are in the mood for fine dining, it's worth it. The open bar means you can try out as many of the wines and spirits as you like, including about 8 wine labels from KI and a good selection of local spirits from KIS, Clifford's honey mead and other local delights. Be sure to order a bottle of The Islander Investigator, a ripe and unctous cabernet franc wine made under the tutelage of Jacques Lurton. The key to enjoying this place is to take charge of your choices. If you want quicker, simpler food ask for the classic menu. If you don't want to be over organized (you'll be given a suggested schedule of activities when you arrive) - just skip the things that don't appeal. And switch things around if you need to as it's your holiday. I do suggest at least one spa appointment - the setting is divine. And don't miss the Wonders of KI which is included in the booking rate and is a great introduction to the wonders of the island. It's operated by Exceptional Kangaroo Island, a tour company that knows the island inside and out. If you want to have further experiences I recommend this company. Craig Wickham, managing director, organized two special days of private touring for me based on my interests and did a fantastic job of taking me where I really wanted to go. (The Andermel Marron aquafarm, Island Pure sheep cheeses, The Islander and the Bay of Shoals wineries, Island Beehive, KIS distillery, and of course to see the sea lions, kangaroos, koalas, wallabies etc.) The resort also offers a lot of guided hikes and specialized tours as well as those excursions and morning hikes that are included in the rate.

Room Tip: My room was the "smallest" type a Flinders suite but still very spacious: with kitchen gal...
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled solo
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3 Thank Margaret S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
ACT
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 May 2013

We stayed in May 2013 for 4 nights. Many superlatives: location; style; all inclusive approach; friendly staff; cleanliness; excursions; spa; open bar and wine cellar. Same picky negatives: Sunday BBQ lunch - this was the worst meal of the trip and while discussing food, there are not enough vegetables/salads with meals. Tip- ask the staff for the Classics menu and order vegetables to accompany your meals. We also did not appreciate the coffee or tea varieties.The bed was too firm for me and when I asked if this could be attended to, the thin doona that was placed on the bed did little to alleviate the problem. I would suggest the owners invest in some good quality mattress toppers, a simple solution to this problem or even better, ask Wolgan Valley resort about their fantastic bed and bedding (the best I have ever found) and replace those you have. The thing that really disappointed us were the Managers. John and Alison made no attempt to talk to us over our 4 night stay and did not even say hello when our paths crossed. This was also experienced by other guests during our stay. That said these things are not enough reason not to visit SOL. We would definitely recommend SOL as an experience worth having. A big thank you to all the staff (other than managers) who are among the best we have ever experienced.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank expectationsAct
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Yealand
Level Contributor
39 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 May 2013

My wife and I stayed here for 4 nights at the end of March and we had a wonderful time. The food was excellent backed by fantastic and very friendly service. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff the trips out were great and we saw lots of wildlife and fantastic scenery. accommodation was perfect with very comfortable beds and amazing views.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank GeorgeTyson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York
Level Contributor
113 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 May 2013

I can't say enough good things about Southern Ocean Lodge. Food-great! Room-great! View-great! Lounge area-great! Staff-great! They knew us by name, and they didn't just serve our needs, they anticipated them. Excursions - great! Many thanks to Helen, Allison, Ash (hope I spelled your name right), Bronwyn, John and Allistair and everyone for a memorable experience. We compared every other top resort we stayed at during our visit to Australia, and nothing could compare to SOL.
There is a very welcoming, family atmosphere at SOL that extends to the guests. We made friends with people from the US and from Adelaide. It was all so effortless. All in all, it was a fun, relaxing experience that we will always remember. One of our top vacations.

Room Tip: All rooms are good. All are along a long corridor with glass on one side and the rooms on the other...
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  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank constablegal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York
Level Contributor
197 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 May 2013

We stayed three nights in April. SOL is private luxury and definitely over the top in many respects.

Staff works hard at being helpful (maybe too cheery for my taste) probably as should be at these prices (they are quite high but we knew that).
Our room was mostly beautiful, but without bathtub, a bit odd. And without an overhead light in the shower making that a bit dark.
There is really no swimming pool rather a plunge pool. This did not really bother us but be aware of the absence.

Personally, I found the cuisine distracting, way "too-too" (nouvelle) for my taste: fussy. I understand many look for this and we were more or less advised to consider ourselves lucky to be eating the cooking of a "star chef". There were simply some items I could not finish for lack of interest. Portions as noted elsewhere are quite small. I ordered more than once from the 'alternative menu' which is alternative only in the sense you will actually recognize everything you are eating.
Alcohol is ubiquitous. This is no place for those trying to avoid any such dependency.
When asked what white wine I liked, my answer was Merseault part tongue in cheek, part serious as I don't know Aussie wines that well. The questioner simply turned away.

The lodge is supposed to be non intrusive in the landscape; just kidding as there is no way to be missed in virgin unspoiled land. That said, inside is like sitting in a full naturalist setting without any discomfort whatsoever. I did see the first right whale of the season.

Add on tours are expensive, but the very best was done not by in house staff but by a private company the hotel uses. In house was OK; the private was outstanding. The location is probably the best on the island for seeing the wild life in the southwest national parks but of course you can get there from other accomodations as well.

So overall, it is pretty wonderful... sort of.... I guess.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Getitright212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 May 2013

"Exceeded our expectations" is a gross understatement; this small ultra luxury lodge is situated on an otherworldly island that fosters guests to dream big. The accommodations are sumptuously minimalistic outfitted in tones of cream/cool blues and the location is utterly unique. And, Lodge Managers, John Hird & Alison Heath keep this property to exacting standards of service not to be exceeded anyway else in my experience. You don't feel like you're occupying the same planet as other humans, there's no request that goes unaddressed or preference unattended. The 24hr open bar is killer with a divine wine cellar built by the Gods. Outstanding! Whether you entered with a high chic quotient or not, you'll definitely leave with one. Trust Me, the pictures do NOT lie. We stayed in the Osprey Pavilion that essentially off by itself and is a marvelous stroll/hike to the main lounge (took us almost 4 minutes at a steady pace), which we adored given the chance to work off the exceptional cuisine served by an exemplary staff during our stay. You get what you pay for, we felt as though we had happened upon our own home isolated from everything but the gorgeous Southern Ocean. There are no other dwelling in sight! You feel as if you have the property to yourself, privacy is exceptional. The sky is chocked with stars that mesmerize you each evening...city dwellers just aren't prepared for what the sky looks like! Some pointers: (1) Eat & Drink everything, the cuisine is 5 star, local, organic and all those attributes we love, (2) pick and choose your itinerary to suit you not the lodge; but, do everything it's worth it, (3) beware of what's not included (spa & some excursions) and arrange the spa appointments well ahead since the spa is small, luxurious but with only 2 - 3 treatment rooms, (4) Don't leave without purchasing a bottle or two of their Ballies Gin made from wild local juniper berries, marvelously smooth and a huge hit with my artisan friends back home, (5) some animal lovers will have conflicted feelings about the "protected" .vs. "unprotected" fauna on the island. I almost lost it with a guide when they informed me that endangered seal loin pups whose mothers hadn't made it back from feeding were left to die. I don't share their sensibilities or the unwavering adherence to the "fittest surviving". We regularly care for and successfully re-release sea mammals all the time here in San Francisco with astounding results. I bit my tongue, arranged for a giant donation to a rescue and hit the bar. The kangaroos, koalas, wallaby's and echidnas have world class preserves on the island, and they are to be congratulated for their efforts especially after the devastating fire in 2007, and (6) Take in the Adelaide environs before/after your stay on the island; their wine county reminds me of the Napa Valley in the 1970/80's, personalities everywhere and a unique viticulture. Southern Ocean Lodge is a signature experience that you will be thinking and talking about for years. Enjoy, it'll be unforgettable!

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank SanFranDMJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newcastle, Australia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 May 2013

My husband and I had 3 nights here in March for my birthday. It had been on our bucket list since opening and it certainly lived up to all expectations. Location breathtaking, suites amazing, architecture brilliant, food superbly produced by chef Tim Bourke - he is the jewel in the crown - use of local produce and the textures and flavours were fabulous. The staff were nothing short of perfection - if only all hotels could take a leaf out of their book. The open bar and wine cellar had a huge selection available. The guides who took us on our included tours were also very knowledgeable. Our hats go off to the owners James and Hayley Baillie (who also own Capella Lodge on Lord Howe Is - another must do destination for all - I have been there 3 times but not to Capella as yet). Also the managers of the lodge who personally greet you on arrival and farewell you on departure. All the travel and tourism awards and accolades are more than deserved. (and being a travel agent I am very critical). The whole experience was nothing short of understated luxury and perfection.l

Room Tip: The resort is built on a sloping ridge so rooms closer to reception not so far to walk if that bothe...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Sallymaree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Southern Ocean Lodge

Property: Southern Ocean Lodge
Address: Hanson Bay, Kangaroo Island, South Australia, Australia
Region: Australia > South Australia > Kangaroo Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Spa Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Kangaroo Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Southern Ocean Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island is Australia's most extraordinary luxury lodge experience. Exclusive and award-winning, the world-class lodge is sensitively designed to float amongst the coastal drama of the island's south west, offering an unforgettable blend of contemporary luxury and pure nature. Twenty-one luxurious suites welcome panoramic views of the great Southern Ocean and boundless coastal wilderness and feature lavish sleeping areas, sunken lounge and glass-surround ensuite. The Southern Spa features signature treatments with Kangaroo Island botanicals designed to relax and rejuvenate. All-inclusive rates, first name service and personalised experiential itinerary combine to offer guests the ultimate Kangaroo Island encounter. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Southern Ocean Hotel Kangaroo Island

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