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“Secluded paradise”

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Hilltop Studios Margaret River
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 19 September 2013

Perfect place for a quiet, relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The clever design of these units really makes you feel that you are one on one with nature. I love going to sleep with no sounds other than wind in the trees and bird noises, then waking up to see a brightly coloured parrot on the fence and kangaroos grazing in the paddock (all visible from the gloriously comfy bed). Facilities are great, well equipped kitchen perfectly ample for cooking up an nice evening meal with the local produce you have purchased during the day. Wine and chocolates in the fridge greeted us on arrival! Lovely big shower and nice spa bath for a bit of a treat - we stayed in chalet 4 which even has the lovely view of the bush and farmland from the spa. Other thoughtful touches are provision of binoculars and walking maps. The owners keep their distance in order to allow a private secluded experience but are extremely helpful and easily contacted. We have stayed here twice and will not be staying anywhere else when visiting Margaret river.

Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
Thank JenSnowdrop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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89 - 95 of 147 reviews

Reviewed 18 August 2013

Coming from metropolitan Sunny Singapore, and arriving at Hilltop Studios in Margaret River, WA, was like we arrived in another dimension.

The vast green hills, kangaroos roaming freely, the birds chirping, the cool fresh air are just some of the wonders of this place. It's proximity to caves, wineries and the CBD area made it very convenient and cuts short the time spent on the road.

The owners, Paul and Claudia let us know that they are at hand should we need any assistance, but made it a point to leave us on our own.

We throughoy enjoyed the peace and tranquility which replaced the hustle and bustle of city living. A sanctuary away from the stress of life, albeit temporarily.

We will be back.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank Royangsy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 August 2013

...is that it was only 3 days, not 30.

I have a job which should, in theory, have given me multiple stomach ulcers and/or several fatal coronaries by now. It is for people with just such jobs that Hilltop Studios was created, though even those with less life-sucking vocations will be able to appreciate the tranquillity and comfort of this place.

Before check-in the owners called us to ask us when we'd be arriving and let us know where they'd be leaving the key. We didn't need to go through a formal check-in process which was appreciated; I cannot describe how sick I am of having to fill out forms when arriving at a reception desk, especially with the same information that I supplied at booking time. Check out was also simply a case of leaving the key in the place designated in the guest directory.

The official address is 568 Carter Road but street numbers are a fluid concept in such a rural location. The sometimes-useless maps in our GPS assured us that no such address existed, and if you encounter that problem then try navigating to the intersection of Carter Road and Caves Road; the entrance to Hilltop is maybe 100 to 200 metres back from that on Carter Road, on the right if you're travelling from the Margaret River township, on the left if coming off Caves Road. The entrance is easy to spot in the daylight, a little harder at night. Part of the driveway up to the studios is sealed (there are a couple of potholes, so take it slow); the remainder is unpaved but easily drivable in a standard car even after a bit of rain. (You may get the odd (very) small gully from washed away soil but nothing that should put your suspension in mortal peril.)

I wasn't completely sure what to expect with the studios. They claim to be "secluded" but the fact that more than one studio could be booked suggested that there would be other people around. And in reality you AREN'T completely alone though clever design and placement means that you'll probably feel as if you are. Studios 1 to 3 are in a group up near the main office and 4 (our one) and 5 are located closer down toward the creek. I didn't get to see 1 to 3 in detail and can't comment on them, though they appeared to have the same basic design as 4 and 5. 4 and 5 are similar to each other though 4 is probably the better of the two in that once inside you aren't even aware of 5's existence unless you look through the small kitchen window or poke your head around the deck. On Wotif you'll find the two stay options described as Panorama and Panorama Deluxe though the differences between them are less than clear on that site. I booked the Deluxe, which I would imagine is what 4 and 5 are. ("Nestled into bushland" is one of the differences mentioned, which certainly fits 4 and 5 more than 1 to 3.)

There's a single parking spot pointing toward the wooden gateway which leads to the studio's deck area. (A loop of road leads down to the cabins, then back up. You can probably drive either way but when you reach the fork leading down to the cabins, just go counter-clockwise for the easiest approach.) This is fortunate (and it was probably designed this way) as the lights of the cabin can only be turned on when you have your keyholder in a plastic socket just inside the door. Consequently when you arrive at night you may need to leave your headlights on for a little while to get inside so that you can put the lights on. I'll refer to this side as the back of the building since although it's the part that you reach first, the entrance and all of the windows are on the far side.

To the right of the wooden gateway is a cupboard containing the garbage bin and recycling bin. Through it is the main deck containing the gas barbecue and a wooden outdoor setting.

Beyond the sliding glass door the studio is basically two rooms; a very spacious and uncluttered living area / kitchen / bedroom, and the bathroom. The living area has large glass windows all along the front of the building, as does the front of the bathroom though there are blinds (curtains in the bathroom) to give you privacy if you need it. Not that you should very often as you're looking out over a field running down to what appears to be a creek with a cleared paddock on the far hill, all surrounded by thick stands of trees. About the only things looking in are the occasional bird and grazing mob of kangaroos.

The floors are polished wood, as is most of the furniture. The living area has two two seater (leather?) lounges, one facing the windows, one backing onto them. A coffee table sits in between piled with various books on the region and a pair of binoculars. In the "It's the little things..." department, there was even a light blanket on the lounge facing the window. On the first day there it had rained quite heavily on occasions. So there I was on the couch, looking out over a driving rainstorm sweeping across a tranquil, verdant valley. I could almost hear the hiss of decompression coming out of me.

In addition to blankets, a reverse cycle air conditioner sits just above the door. There was a minor niggle with this in that initially we couldn't get it to stay on. A note in the guest directory suggested pulling the keyholder out of the plastic wall socket to recycle the power, which worked. However we barely used it as the temperature for most of our stay was temperate and the studio seemed well insulated despite the number of windows.

The kitchen has a large refrigerator encased in a wooden compartment. We had no issues with noise and it worked well. There is a gas cooktop and a microwave, but the latter is not a convection type; effectively you have no conventional oven. (Which is slightly annoying if you have bake at home bread rolls, though the small ones cook well enough in the toaster if broken in half. However I can understand it as the cleaning involved would probably be disproportionate to the amenity. Just don't expect to cook a roast, for instance, unless you're happy to nuke it.) There is no dishwasher; that's all done by hand. Nor is there a coffee machine, though a plunger is provided. Some local organic coffee for the plunger is also provided and I do recommend using it over the supplied sachets of instant. (When a cup of the latter was plonked in front of me I had one sip followed by a Gibbs moment and stated "That's not coffee". The plunger coffee was enjoyable, though.) A full array of pots, pans, carving knives and cutlery is available, along with four sets of crockery and glassware (even though for practical purposes a cabin will only really fit two.) There's also a toaster. In a concealed cabinet there's an iron, small ironing board and fire extinguisher. A round, two seater table completes the kitchen furniture. On balance I was more than happy with the quality here.

The bed is large and of the three places that we stayed at on this trip I'd rate the firmness of the mattress as being in the middle of the range. I found it very comfortable. There are bedside lights and shelves as well. To the right of the bed (looking in on it) were a couple of large drawers and an open hanging area for shirts and coats. I saw (can't recall where) one criticism of this as being not up to 5 star standard. If this was a hotel in a CBD I'd probably agree but it's a self catering rural cabin, where different priorities apply. I'm not sure that you'd gain anything, either in terms of appearance or functionality, by having (say) a polished oak wardrobe. In fact the open hanging area seems more practical to me since being a bush area you're more likely to be going out into the bush, possibly getting a little damp, and your clothes are more likely to dry off in an open area than tucked away behind cupboard doors.

Alongside the hanging area is a large desk and chair. There are plenty of power points for your notebook / tablet / mobiles and so on. Not that you'll be using the latter two types very much. Telephone reception is marginal at best, wireless internet reception (on both Telstra and Optus) even less so, though if you desperately need it it can be had within 30 metres of the main office using the login and password that the guest directory provides. Personally I found being effectively uncontactable part of the appeal of the place. (Emails came through to my mobile intermittently so I wasn't completely isolated, but not being on line 24/7 for the first time in ages was a bonus.)

To the left of the bed (again looking in) is the TV unit. This is quite an ingenious piece of design. The flat screen TV sits on an extendible platform. The TV can then be rotated in either direction to make it visible from the bed or the living area. There is a satellite receiver box which provides standard and pay TV reception, as well as a DVD player with an eclectic selection of perhaps a dozen DVDs for you to choose from if you want. I also brought some of my own given the ad-infested, watermark-defaced, unadulterated garbage that passes for content on broadcast TV these days. A set of Scrabble and (it appeared to be) backgammon are non-electronic alternatives. In one of the photos you'll see a large set of double doors just to the right of this but this is not a wardrobe; it's merely a storage space for the vacuum cleaner and a (presumably backup) heater. There is no hanging or drawer space in there.

The bathroom is also spacious. The centrepiece is a spa bath which runs under the windows along the face of the building. The windows appear to open, so it's possible to "bring the outdoors in" if you prefer, though it was a little cool for us to try that. (This is also one of the features mentioned in the Panorama Deluxe, but not the standard Panorama ones, on Wotif. It's therefore POSSIBLE that this feature is limited to cabins 4 and 5 rather than 1 to 3 as well.) I wouldn't say that it fits two "comfortably" though it does so comfortably ENOUGH depending on the size of the two. It's significantly smaller than the bath in the place we had stayed on the night before (Seashells Mandurah) but there is of course one important difference; the water here is supplied from rainwater tanks, so you can't be quite as profligate with it. The spa bath does the job, and that's all that counts. Relaxing in a warm bath looking out over a sweeping valley is hardly a hardship.

The shower is also more than large enough to accommodate two. (Not that it ever WOULD, I'm sure; none of that sort of thing would go on here in an isolated, quiet, oasis of comfort in a beautiful bushland setting, ahem, moving on...) The shower head is definitely a low flow type, which it needs to be given the water source but I had no issues with either the amount of water or the temperature. It didn't drain all that well, but there was enough of a "lip" in the shower recess for that not to matter. Our studio has another minor niggle with the flush system of the toilet; in some cases it needed to be jiggled to stop the water flowing. A note above the toilet recognises the problem, which we had only once in the time that we were there.

As mentioned, this is a self catering unit. There is no restaurant on site and definitely no room service so I recommend planning for any meals that you'll be eating there and stocking up accordingly. Not that you HAVE to eat there at all; the Margaret River township is only perhaps a 10 minute drive from there, and there are plenty of dining choices there. (It takes perhaps a fraction longer at night since I'd advise taking it slower on the roads at that time. We saw little road kill but the critters are definitely out there.) For self catering there's a brand new Woolworths at the corner of Wilmott Avenue and Town View Terrace (the car park entry being on the latter) if you want one stop shopping, as well as any number of specialty stores on the highway. If dining in Margaret River, then for breakfast I definitely recommend the quirkiness of the Margaret River Bakery (especially the granola pancakes), for lunch pretty much anywhere is good, and for dinner I strongly recommend booking ahead, especially for Morries. Again, remember that telephone reception at the studios is marginal so it would be better to make the bookings when you're still in town.

Margaret River is a beautiful spot, and this is a great place to base yourself to explore it. It's not cheap (though "cheap" as a concept doesn't exist very much in WA) however it's not outrageous either. I obtained a slightly cheaper rate by booking a 3 night package, which is the minimum that I'd recommend; there's just far too much to see in the Margaret River area for a shorter stay, and even 3 days isn't really enough. I'd also recommend booking as early as you can as it can be hard to find places in Margaret River as a whole (including this one; remember that there are only 5 cabins) on limited notice.

I'd be more than happy to return here (and hope to some day, to be honest), and would certainly recommend it to a friend.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Alan_Kay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 August 2013

Came from Melbourne to WA for a week with my wife for our anniversary. Stayed at Hilltop studios for 3 nights. Great views and location. Recommend for a getaway. We stayed in studio 1 which had a spa in the room and views into the bush land and valley. Was the relaxing weekend we were looking for.

  • Stayed: August 2013
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Thank Moonah1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2013 via mobile

Stayed 2 nights with my husband on a road trip through southwest of WA. Was looking forward to staying at this place after readibg all teh reviews and it certainly didn't disappoint. Complete peacefulness and beauty. Perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of city living.

Close to town n restaurants. Perfection location!

Wish we could hv stayed longer......

  • Stayed: August 2013
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Thank DnaSG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 June 2013

My partner and I stayed at Hilltop Studios for 2 nights in the middle of May. We were in Studio 4, which has the most incredible views of the bushland and farmland. Anything you can't see with the naked eye can be captured using the thoughtfully provided binoculars.

Studio 4 and 5 (The deluxe Studios) appear a little more secluded than Panorama Studios, which sit back further on the hill.

The check-in and check-out process are incredibly easy, and if you choose you don't need to talk to another soul the entire time that you are there. We did have some interaction with Paul, who called us before we left Perth to let us know which villa we were in and again on arrival when he popped in to make sure everything was ok and to show us how to operate a couple of things in the Studio.

The TV can be easily seen from anywhere in the Villa as it swings out and around on the shelf that its on. There are are stack of DVD's and TV channels to watch, but my partner and I decided to spend our time playing Scrabble instead (which was also provided). There is no oven, but with the microwave, stove top and BBQ this is hardly a problem. There are plenty of pots, pans, dishes, cutlery and towels so you really don't lack in anything.

I arranged for Andrea from The Villa Chef to cook for us on the Friday night as a present for my partner, and it will go down as one of the most incredible and romantic nights of my life. Sitting on the deck, watching the wildlife, the sunset, drinking local wine and eating the most incredible food is simply unbeatable.

As a thank-you my partner arranged for 2 masseuses from Body Bliss to visit the Studio on Sunday morning for a 11/2 hour couples massage. When they were done a long hot soak in the tub and a relaxing morning reading on the couches with the fresh air an sunshine streaming through the windows left me in the most relaxed and de-stressed places I have ever been.

I can not speak highly enough of the magical place that Paul and his Partner have created. It is worth every single cent.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Andrea389
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 June 2013

I took my partner here for 4 nights in Dec 2012 for a suprise 30th birthday getaway. Upon arrival we drove up to reception and were greeted warmly. With keys in hand drove down to our private chalet.
With the most amazing view, nestled under the trees it was the perfect getaway. We stayed in Chalet 4, which had the perfect view of the valley (complete kangaroos, cows and rabbits). The open air spa bath was what drew me to book this in the first place and it did not disappoint! At night the sky is lit up with an amazing starry sky, and as an added bonus for my partner's birthday, a bottle of local champagne was waiting in the fridge. there are DVD's to choose form, books to read, binoculars for viewing, clean towels and fresh linens and the bed is divine to sleep in.
I would highly recommend staying here and will definitely be returning. It is clean, peaceful and extremely romantic.

Room Tip: Chalet number 4 has the best view, not obstructed by tree's and bushes.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Ellie D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hilltop Studios Margaret River

Address: Carters Road (100 meters from) | Caves Road, Margaret River, Western Australia 6285, Australia
Phone Number:
Region: Australia > Western Australia > Margaret River Region > Margaret River
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #14 of 51 Speciality Lodging in Margaret River
Price Range: £144 - £574 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Hilltop Studios Margaret River 4.5*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Uninterrupted valley views, beautiful architecture and stylish appointments. Hilltop Studios, on a private 150 hectare farm midway between town and the beach, maintain a refreshing new standard of accommodation in Margaret River. Designed for discerning singles or couples, Hilltop Studios provide an ideal base from which to explore the renowned food, wines and natural attractions of the region. ... more   less 
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