Inkwell Wines and Hotel California... stolen a piece of my heart.

Inkwell Wines and Hotel California is in McLaren Vale. I went to photograph it for Fleurieu Living Magazine recently. Made from shipping containers, my camera (and I) love all the architectural design and vineyard views, snapping away in the cellar door and on the viewing deck above.

But, it’s when I go down to the micro hotel of ‘Hotel California’ that I’m audibly going ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’. The baths hook me. Deep, freestanding and open to the views of the vineyard. There are only 3 suites, so the likelihood of someone seeing you taking a dip is, well, lower. And hey, all part of the fun?

Inkwell releases single vineyard wines which express the "fingerprint of place" from its iconic Mclaren Vale vineyard winery. By fermenting without additions, we produce age-worthy wines that retain natural freshness and intensity. We are the only winery in McLaren Vale to produce estate-only wines in this way. But, we keep things simple: one tractor, one de-stemmer, one press, small fermenters and one dog.  We've removed as much of the “man-made” from Inkwell’s sustainable wine-growing and wine-making as we sensibly can so you can share in the fruit of our special site and labor for years to come.

Christmas getaway in Adelaide - Crowne Plaza

Doin' it in style... Normally, our little family goes camping just after christmas, but this year we decide not to. The last few years, we have had 40 degree plus days, and when we are camping with little kids, it's no fun at all. And this year, it is set to be no different. 35 degrees on New Years Day, and then in the 40's on the 2nd. No thanks. I can just imagine trying to pack up camp in that heat - no thanks.

But, just because we haven't gone camping, doesn't mean that we have to stay home all the time. Hubby and I leave the kids with Granny for a night, and head off to the Crowne Plaza. The last time I stayed here, I was super impressed, so my expectations are high.

We attempt to check in on Boxing Day, half an hour too early, but are unfazed. After all, it is Boxing Day, and there are big sales on just a few steps away in Rundle Mall. Excitedly, we are soon surrounded by colour and people. The pace is fast, and we feel like ants being shuffled this way and that in the crowd of thousands. We last about an hour before retreating back to the hotel. My idea of a good time is not being pushed around, looking at messy displays, and then waiting in line to buy goods.

Our Junior Suite is ready, overlooking the square and Pulteney Street below. It is nice, but I'm not sure if I would pay the extra for a Corner Suite again since I only sat out there for about twenty minutes. The room seems very similar in styling and size to the Deluxe Balcony Room.

Details of Junior Suite

Two hours are relaxed away in the pool, spa, steam room and sauna on the second level. We jump between everything, not knowing what to do first. With kids, it's spent playing 'catch me', helping them swim, or splashing about in the shallows with squeals and shrieks that could rattle glass.

Redsalt Restaurant is downstairs, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the square. We enjoy people watching as we sit with a bottle of D'Arrys Footbolt, chomping on prawns, wood-oven bread, and fish and chicken main meals. Beautiful flavours, but ultra small portions on the fish platter is disappointing. I can't say the same for the breakfast - absolutely fantastic. I am not normally too positive about Australian buffets, but I can fill my belly here. I squeeze myself some veggie and fruit juice, order poached eggs (with some sneaky bacon) and nibble on bircher muesli. The home-made baked beans nearly has me going back for seconds, even though I'm bursting. Of course, there is all the usual suspects on the buffet as well - pastries, all kinds of eggs, sausages, cheeses, fruit, yoghurt, toast, cereal...

Final verdict? Great city location close to the mall and Rundle Street, quiet rooms, chilled bar and fab breakfast. Staff are polite and very helpful. Concierge remembers me from a few months back - that's impressive.

Junior Suite

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