Chilling out romantically
THE road climbs out of Brisbane’s northern suburbs, out of the clutter of maxi shops and builders’ supplies yards, traffic lights and scattered houses into the hills between Albany Creek and rural Samford.
The final six kilometres winds up the D’Aguilar mountain range. Near its summit a roadsign announces a hairpin bend and a steep slope. Suddenly, there it is, Clear Mountain Lodge and Spa, and ahead of us two days of relaxation and pampering.
It is hard to believe that we are only 35 minutes out of Brisbane’s CBD. The resort stands alone among native trees of the Bunyaville Conservation Park. It is a popular retreat for couples who want to chill out, sample the spa, read a book and enjoy good food and wine.
Set on 20ha, the four-star, Mercure-owned resort sprawls across the hillside (it’s not wheelchair-friendly) and the views are mind-blowing from anywhere. It has 53 rooms and suites and sparkles after a $6.5 million makeover with modern furniture in a black, grey and white colour combinations. The rooms are motel-style but smallish. Beds, however, are big and comfortable.
From our room above the treetops the view is spectacular. We look east toward Moreton Island and north across Lake Samsonvale and the jagged outline of the granite spires of the Glasshouse Mountains.
A bottle of bubbly is waiting for us in our room and we settle on our balcony to enjoy the view. Kookaburras give us the eye. Somewhere down there, too, is a koala or two. The city-induced tensions just leak away.
On a strip of lawn a group of company executives is doing some team-bonding. A leader has the group playing a tag game.
Beyond is a tennis court and a couple are patting a tennis ball to each other across the net. A lap swimming pool completes the scene, although it is too cold at this time of year for a swim.
But for many guests the major attraction is Stephanie’s spa, the latest of four in her spa empire. That’s where my wife and I are headed now. It’s a great place for couples – or, as manager Trudie tells us, for a hens’ party. Group fun days may include not only spa treatments but lunch and, maybe, if you’re so inclined, afternoon tea and cake and even some wine.
The spa occupies about 180 square metres over six magnificent treatment suites; including a hydro couple’s suite, a grand VIP lounge and bath suite, a triple treatment room, a steam therapy cave, unique hydro Swiss shower room and a sole therapy and manicure lounge. The rooms offer state-of-the-art, thermo-heated leather massage beds. We could easily spend a week in here and not have the same spa treatment twice.
Our treatment is a sultry two-hour journey of detox cream, mud therapy, warm steam and tropical rain showers. Then follows a soothing massage on the so-called wellness beds with their vibro technology to give an all over meditative state while we enjoy a body wrap or facial. Oh, and if you are not already spaced out you can turn on your personal MP3 player (built into the massage bed) and let melodic relaxation tunes do their work.
Thoroughly relaxed and rejuvenated, we finish our spa experience in the Tranquility Lounge sipping herbal tea and thinking how far away – yet so close – is the frenetic Brisbane CBD.
Later at dinner in the resort’s Mandy’s On The Mountain restaurant we enjoy a fine meal and look out to the twinkling lights of Brisbane.
Next morning we tuck into a buffet breakfast on the deck enjoying the same panoramic view.
ClearMountainLodge and Spa is a gem of a getaway – so close, yet so far.
If you can tear yourself away from the resort there are interesting old villages nearby for exploring. The historic towns of Samford and Dayboro are a short drive away. Dayboro has an art gallery worth taking a look at.
Samford has a museum showing the history of the district.
The Samford Valley markets are held every second Saturday of the month (from 7a.m. to noon)
Lyell Deer Farm at Mount Samson (open seven days) has four species of deer. You can feed the deer and browse the leather and craft warehouse.
The writer was a guest of Mercure Clear Mountain Lodge.
Up the South Pine Road to Albany Creek, into Eatons Crossing Road, then 5kms to Clear Mountain Road and, finally, 6kms to the resort.
Rates at Mercure Clear Mountain Lodge and Spa start from $179 room only.
The most popular packages are: Quick Romantic Stopover with overnight accommodation for two; breakfast; a bottle of chilled wine and chocolates on arrival; a two-course dinner for two and a noon checkout, $345.00 a night.
Mountain Fresh Couples Escape with overnight accommodation for two;
a one-hour couple’s massage in Stephanies; a couple’s suite; a fruit plate delivered to your room after your massage; and a noon checkout, $400.00 a night