My wife (and others) recently had 2 long weekends at the Hunter (Sep 2011). We stayed at Peppers Guest House and Splinters Guest House. We dined at 4 magnificent restaurants: Roberts Restaurant; Nine; Muse and The Botanica. (These comments will be uploaded into all 6 places mentioned here).
As for the accommodation. The Peppers Guest House was clean, nice and without a problem. The breakfasts were delicious. I think the bedding was a little worn and perhaps in need of a new mattress. Overall it was a nice place to stay.
But easily the better accommodation was the Splinters Guest House. A small B&B run perfectly by Bobby, the very proud owner. It is situated within an easy drive to all of the main vineyards and best restaurants. The B&B has 3 very clean and comfortable suites and another 2 lodges to house a group or family in each.
My wife and I had an extremely relaxing 2 night stay at Splinters where Bobby served us a delicious breakfast in the common lounge room (in our PJs) each morning. We lounged around the fire place late at night (after a big day of eating and drinking) before returning to our beautiful room. We wandered around the large property, which includes a great pool area, expansive gardens and even a small one hole golf course (will need to bring a 3 iron, because it is longer than you think!). A great place to stay and we will be back (in fact I have now booked the entire B&B for a family & friends holiday) and we cannot wait to get back!
As for the restaurants. The Roberts Restaurant and Nine Restaurant are owned by Tower Estate. The food at both restaurants is magnificent, but Roberts was, in our opinion, better. We did the degustation at Nine and the al-a-carte at Roberts. A couple of the dishes at Nine were not fantastic, so given the hefty price, I would recommend Roberts over Nine. Roberts cost substantially less than Nine.
As for The Botanica Restaurant and Muse Restaurant. The Botanica was similar in price to Roberts and each dish that we ate was delicious. The wine list is good and moderately priced and the overall experience was great … perhaps take a torch to get from the car park to the restaurant (especially if it is raining).
But the dining highlight (and the clear winner) is MUSE. We did the degust’ and the biggest mistake that I made was eating too much of the bread. The perfect hostess (and owner) just kept replenishing my plate. The degust’ of tuna, seared scallops, pork belly, beef and others is a huge meal. Each course is substantial (none of the very small servings that you get at most degust’s). And the dessert (I am not a big dessert eater) was incredible. This is a fantastic restaurant and it deserves it’s SMH Good Food Guide Hat award.
I understand that the owners of Muse are about to open another café-style restaurant at a winery named Keith Tulloch (and as luck has it, it is very close to the magnificent Splinters B&B).
So, my humble tip is: Stay at Splinters for a few nights. Dine at Muse; then The Botanica or Roberts. Perhaps try the new Muse Café at Keith Tulloch (one of my favorite wineries and gee we visited a LOT !)
I cannot wait to go back to the Hunter. Gosh I love good food, good wine and great accommodation!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Splinters Guest House is the perfect retreat for couples and groups wishing to enjoy all the pleasures of the Hunter Valley. Nestled on 10 acres in the Hermitage Road region of Pokolbin with beautiful views of the Brokenback Ranges. Splinters Guest House offers a number of facilities for the use of guests including log fires, reverse cycle air conditioning, fully equipped kitchens and lounge/ dining area in the Guest Houses; TV, DVD, CD player, private BBQ and courtyard areas plus a swimming pool for use in the warmer months. At Splinters we strive to ensure your stay with us is relaxing and comfortable. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Splinters Hotel Pokolbin
- Splinters Guest House Greater Newcastle/Pokolbin, Australia