Monday 15 June 2009

Mr & Mrs Smith adds seven new boutique hotels to its Asia Pacific collection

Boutique hotel brand Mr & Mrs Smith has added seven new properties to its Australian and New Zealand collection, just a month after launching in the region. Mr & Mrs Smith now features 33 must-visit hotels and self-catering villas across the two countries, with the figure set to grow to around 50 in the next two months. Over 500 global properties can be found on

Mr & Mrs Smith, the world’s leading boutique hotel guide and booking service, offers travellers from around the world advice on and access to some of the most exclusive and inspiring holiday properties in the UK, Europe and the Americas, and now Asia Pacific.

Simon Westcott, co-founder and Managing Director of Mr & Mrs Smith Asia Pacific, scours the region with his team for boutique and luxury properties that deliver something really special and different. "There’s an X-factor with all our properties," says Simon. "Great style, personal service, boutique scale and fabulous settings are the basic requirements of any good hotel nowadays. We look for all these things and something extra. This month that means some of the best food in Australia at the Royal Mail Hotel in The Grampians, the sophisticated vintage vibe of Wellington’s Ohtel, or the holistic approach to wellbeing at Gaia Retreat & Spa in Byron Bay."

Once a hotel has been visited, thoroughly inspected and launched online by Mr & Mrs Smith (with insider recommendations such as favourite rooms and top restaurant tables), an anonymous 'tastemaker' couple is sent back to stay for two nights. Opinion-formers in the worlds of fashion, food, design, the arts, media and other creative industries, these reviewers tell the story of their stay in an engaging, personal way.

The seven most recent properties to join Mr & Mrs Smith include:

Cape Lodge, Margaret River, WA

With a country club feel, this 22-room boutique hotel boasts its own vineyard and gorgeous park-like grounds in the heart of the famous Margaret River wine region. The lakeside restaurant is the jewel in its crown, with chef Tony Howell garnering plaudits and overseeing a 14,000-bottle wine cellar and cookery school.

Royal Mail Hotel, The Grampians, VIC

Another gourmet getaway, this time in Dunkeld at the southern edge of The Grampians’ majestic wilderness in Victoria. Set among native gardens at the foot of Mount Sturgeon, the property is all about its multi-award-winning restaurant and wine cellar. Mountain View bedrooms – the only room category recommended by Mr & Mrs Smith – are spacious, sleek and embrace the great outdoors. The hotel provides a brilliant base for guided walks in the Grampians National Park.

Gaia Retreat & Spa, Byron Bay, NSW

Set in lush, rolling subtropical hills in Byron Bay’s hinterland, this beautiful 18-room boutique hotel and spa, founded by Olivia Newton-John, is the ideal place to unwind with pampering treatments, a spot of yoga or organic cuisine. Elegant, earth-toned rooms are surrounded by a real sense of nature.

Pretty Beach House, Central Coast, NSW

With just three luxurious, private pavilions, this stunning contemporary guesthouse is set amid lush native bushland above Pretty Beach in the Bouddi National Park, 100 kilometres north of Sydney. Sophisticated, spacious interiors and fabulous service are complemented by Chef Stefano Manfredi’s creative cooking. Lounging by the pool on a day bed overlooking ancient angophoras and eucalypts feels like the ultimate getaway.

Bells at Killcare, Central Coast, NSW

An intimate 11-room hotel with a European country house style, Bells teams chic yet relaxed coastal interiors with mouth-watering food: resident chef Stefano Manfredi rules the restaurant roost here, tending the hotel’s vegetable garden. Located on the tip of the Bouddi National Park, it's just an hour and a half’s drive from Sydney’s CBD, or 20 minutes’ by ferry from Palm Beach.

Moonlight Head Private Lodge, Great Ocean Road, VIC

This ultra-modern, architecturally-striking luxury lodge sits partway along the scenic Great Ocean Road, on Australia’s highest coastal headland. Designed by acclaimed talents Glenn Murcutt and Wendy Lewin, with stylish contemporary interiors to match, each of its two villas sleeps from two to eight, with a private chef on hand to ensure your stay goes swimmingly if you don’t want to cater for yourself. Note: this is a Smith & Friends self-catering property.

Ohtel, Wellington, New Zealand

A striking 10-room contemporary hotel in the New Zealand capital’s seaside Oriental Bay district. The luxe two-person baths and vintage mid-20th-century modern interiors are standout features, including furniture and ceramics by cult names from Eames and Arne Jacobsen to G Plan, Finn Juhl and Vladimir Kagan. Australian and New Zealand design classics abound too. Eco features include solar hot water.

Simon and his style-spotting team aim to offer advice and a booking service for up to 200 rigorously selected boutique accommodation properties in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Asia by the beginning of 2010. A lush coffee table book, featuring original photography, is coming at the end of 2009 – Mr & Mrs Smith Boutique Hotel Collection: Australia and New Zealand.

Savvy travellers can become members of Mr & Mrs Smith and book their weekend (or week-long) escape either online or through the 24-hour local travel team. Smith members are also offered value benefits and rewards such as two-for-one deals and discounts.

- Travellers wanting to book through Mr & Mrs Smith can do so by calling 1300 896 627

- The Mr & Mrs Smith European guide books are currently available at Borders and all good independent books stores for the recommended price of $39.95

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