Gatsby-esque decadence-meets-modern convenience in new Sequoia development

An uber luxurious ‘6-star’ accommodation set on a 30-acre estate in the Adelaide Hills is laying claim to being Australia’s first luxury lodge located so close to a major airport.

Sequoia Lodge general manager Jess Kornoff says it is the “only significant luxury lodge” to open in Australia this year, and it also has the illustrious distinction of being one of only two to open in the last decade.

The $15-million development set to officially open in November, is just 30-minutes’ drive to Adelaide airport, and in under an hour, future guests could be wine tasting and sampling premium food produce in the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale or the Eden and Clare valleys.

Seated into the hillside of the historic Mt Lofty House Estate, Sequoia Lodge is distant enough from the original 170-year-old manor house to engender an air of VIP exclusivity and its lavish amenities, including natural hot springs, are not open to the public.

The 14 guest suites each has its own private, secure entrance and the lodge will have its own guest relations team dedicated to creating bespoke luxury experiences.

Kornoff says: “We have partnered with South Australia’s most iconic brands including RM Williams, Jurlique, Penfolds and Henschke, alongside the amazingly talented local artists and artisans we have here in the Hills to develop every aspect of the lodge fitout, furnishings, guest offering, experiences and events. These experiences are not available to anyone not staying at the lodge and many are truly once in a lifetime opportunities”.

Owner David Horbelt says the intention was to keep original manor house as the hero of the estate while giving Sequoia its own “uniquely beautiful design” using local natural building materials to give it longevity, sustainability and a nod to the fact the manor house is built with the same stone.

Attentive guests will appreciate the local Basket Range stone in the fireplace and courtyard walls; spotted gum in the floorboards and joinery, bedhead wall, some furniture and sundecks; WA limestone on a feature wall and tumbled stone and recycled bricks in the gardens and paths.

Horbelt says the guest rooms are designed to be private, quiet and an escape from the real world.

“The step down allows for a sunken lounge sensation and separates guests from the bedroom space as well as allowing the entire built form to grade into the hillside,” he explains.

“There was a massive intent to become a part of the natural environment and not have an impacting, eyesore design. The floor-to-ceiling front windows contemplate the moods of the day as the sun makes its journey over the valley, while the moon windows allow our guests to lie back in bed and continue the journey through the night.”

Horbelt says they wanted to make the rooms as intuitive as possible with automated pre-set options to adjust blinds, fire, heating, lights and music.

“The room monitors where guests are and how they use the room to adapt, so glass frosts and lights come on at a low level when someone enters the bathroom after a set time,” he says.

“The system is also set up to conserve power and make sure the room is as efficient as possible without compromising the guest comfort at any stage.

“The system also has routines with welcome music, fire lighting, lights coming on progressively as guests enter the room for the first time with our signature music that has been curated for the space. A different version of the same operates after turndown is done.”

The real hero of the build though, is arguably the view.

“Capturing the most of the view was critical, as was creating private, calm oases within the suites,” Horbelt says.

“We sited Sequoia on the best land to capture the immediate incredible patchwork views that are the Piccadilly Valley and extended long view over Onkaparinga Valley and beyond.”

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