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Lancemore Milawa: In the heart of the High Country

The hotel’s multimillion-dollar refurbishment was recently honoured on the global stage

Nestled in the King Valley at the base of the Alpine National Park, Lancemore Milawa is a beautiful Victoria High Country escape reimagined. Significantly, the hotel’s multimillion-dollar refurbishment was recently honoured on the global stage when it was awarded the 2023 AHEAD Award for Best Hotel Renovation.

To learn more about the work undertaken at Lancemore Milawa and the impact of their impressive refurbishment, we spoke with designer Hana Hakim from Stella Collective and Susan Standring, Design and Technical Services, The Lancemore Group.

This article was published in the new Autumn edition of AccomNews available now. Read it HERE

Enhanced by a sun-kissed palette, the reimagined design of Lancemore Milawa offers a nostalgic nod to the hotel’s original fit-out that spoke to the owner’s love affair with Morocco. The refurbishment brief was to embrace a modern Mediterranean design with a touch of the High Country, ensuring the new Lancemore Milawa embraced the property’s original vision.

Lancemore Milawa

Stella Collective founder Hana Hakim said that while Lancemore Milawa was a wonderful property, it needed a refresh when they were tasked with reimagining the hotel. “The hotel had amazing bones and being built over 25 years ago we were very lucky that there was minimal structural works to be undertaken,” Ms Hakim said.

“The Stella Collective was tasked with reimagining the two-storey hotel, bringing a fresh design rooted in ‘barefoot luxury’, mingled with the rugged terrain of Victoria’s High Country. However, our refurbishment budget of $2 million had to spread far and wide – covering 40 rooms, all public spaces, a restaurant, bar, gathering lounge spaces, a Moroccan courtyard, a sundowner rooftop, and pool areas.

“It was our duty to ensure the hotel was entrenched in beauty and bring back the halcyon days of the property.”

Lancemore Milawa

Situated within a working vineyard, the owners wanted the refurbishment to speak to the seasons and provide the perfect escape for guests at any time of year. “We wanted to create a hotel that spoke to this rare pocket of Australia,” Ms Hakim said.

“The seasons are incredibly visible in this part of the world, and the surrounding landscape and climate were key influences in the design.

“With warm and dry summers and cool winters, we focused on weaving these weather elements into the design so that it feels incredibly inviting, and romantic. We wanted the property to feel cosy in the cooler months and open and fresh when it’s warm.

“This ode to the region’s four distinctive seasons was a lovely starting point for our design brief.”

Embracing seasonality, Lancemore Milawa seamlessly balances summer and winter palettes using black pebble, concrete, ethically sourced solid teak, cosmic black granite, merlot-tinted mosaics, terracotta, rich textured rugs, swaths of linen and woven blankets.

The Natural Floorcovering Centre was delighted to assist Lancemore with the floorcovering requirements for its beautiful Milawa property. For Milawa, an elegant but hard-wearing natural sisal product called Eldorado Pure Sisal was used to create multiple statement rugs for the property, with the rugs manufactured in Australia from imported carpet material.

Lancemore Milawa

All guest suites have been lovingly refurbished and are brimming with warmth and texture, featuring polished concrete floors, day beds, custom sustainable teak joinery, and commissioned artworks from Marrakesh. Outdoor areas are adorned with day beds and hammocks allowing guests to soak in the fresh air and views of the idyllic surroundings.

The resulting refurbishment speaks to Lancemore Milawa’s “curated places” ethos, Ms Standring, said.

“The refurbishment offers guests an intimate setting to view and appreciate the King Valley region. Styling highlights imbue a variety of crafted elements to discover throughout the property and a very notable series collection of Sidney Nolan prints.”

“As for my favourite space, the Lancemore Milawa Vineyard Lounge is a highlight of the refurbishment.

Lancemore Milawa

“The lounge has a variety of seating settings: a low and generously proportioned u-shaped maxi lounge which has become like a ‘conversation pit’, as well as clustered armchairs oriented outwards to gaze at the vineyards beyond, and corner banquette seating and armchairs where you can work, dine, play a game, write a novel…”

“The lounge is anchored by a fireplace with a crescent form as a shroud, as well as a wonderfully ornate pewter chandelier above- enhancing this focal feature.”

Guests have responded well to the refurbishment, particularly as a soothing retreat that offers travellers a modern and luxurious escape combined with the intimacy of a private home. Lancemore Milawa is ideally suited for smaller groups and offers spaces to suit corporate events and special occasions.

Lancemore Milawa

Ms Hakim added: “Our journey in design has always been guided by a profound belief – the belief that beauty in design should hit all the senses and above all should immerse the guest with a feeling of happiness, calm, and tranquillity that is sometimes hard to obtain in today’s fast-paced life.

“It is a philosophy that fuels our passion and drives us to create spaces that touch the core of the human spirit. Designing a hotel, in particular, is a privilege … It has the power to make you feel comforted, inspired, and electrified, evoking a feeling like no other.

“Lancemore Milawa is a shining example of this transformative power. “It has been said that Lancemore Milawa is a place that celebrates the glamour and allure of the good life, I would add that it’s also a place that beckons you beyond the rabbit hole and into a world of joy, comfort, and escapism to new heights.”

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