Clovelly a five-star property
FOR Spicers Clovelly Estate general manager David Assef, picking a favourite spot on the breathtaking property where he lives and works is tricky.
“That's a good question,” he says, before pausing for a few seconds to think.
“Probably a 50-year-old shack towards the back of the property, up on the ridge, that gives you views through to Lake Baroon.
“It is a great picnic spot and absolutely gorgeous.
“Apparently the previous owner built the shack for shelter when storms would hit suddenly, back when the property used to be pineapple plantations. It's very quaint and sort of on stilts.”
The 10-room Clovelly Estate, on Montville's Balmoral Road, opened in August 2009 and recently won the new tourism development honour at this year's Queensland Tourism Awards.
It is decorated and landscaped in the style of a French provincial manor and is the only five-star property on the range.
“We've got everything under one roof, from a day spa and restaurant to waterfalls and bush walks.
“Whenever I check people in, I always say this is their place to do as much or as little as they want. They can venture into Montville and Maleny, or sit around in the library and read a good book in front of the fire.
“The response has exceeded our expectations. I feel we came in at a time when general tourism was at a bit of a lull – and that was right across Australia.
“But we were proactive in driving the area, the experience and our property.
“I think we fared quite well considering the economic circumstances.
“We have averaged 55% – 60% occupancy since we opened.”
Ms Assef said the Brisbane leisure market was driving most of those numbers, as well as affluent retirees, corporate guests aged 35-plus and foodies, keen to eat chef Cameron Matthews' creations.
The restaurant opened to the public on November 1 and offers Italian and French cooking schools twice a month.
“We were the first property under the Spicers banner, which didn't officially come out until February 2010,” he said.
“But it's now clear that the group and culture is all about quality in everything we touch and do. I try to promote a host mentality among staff...guests come in and they are part of our home.”
There is also a Thai-styled property called Spicers Tamarind in Maleny.
“I'm really excited with Queensland Tourism's program as far as these destination desks are going.
“The Naturally Refreshing catchphrase is great and we will really be able to grow, drive and push the Coast and hinterland as strong destinations.
“It's a two to three-year plan, but I'm confident we'll see a huge turnaround and have a strong identity that captures what the beachside to the hinterland is all about.”