Words by Kirstie Bedford

Aaron Parkhill was living in France when he conceived the idea of Campbell Point House, so it’s little wonder it looks like something plucked right out of the Loire Valley.

Overlooking Lake Connewarre in Leopold, the house was completed a decade ago as Parkhill’s family home. But one of his main objectives was to make sure it looked like a traditional manor, with all the character you’d expect comes with age. He’s done that in spades, even picking flooring in the kitchen made of French oak, which has little ‘dips’ in its design, to replicate the aged effect of a chateau. Despite thinking it would be their forever home, three years after moving in, the house proved too big, and Parkhill along with wife Meg Blackhall and their three young children moved out.

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The property was then rented on weekends and used as a wedding venue (it was also used as a location for Masterchef) before they decided to turn it into a boutique luxury hotel in 2016.

It took two years to completely transform it from a stunning house into a high-end retreat, with the doors opening in October 2018.

Accommodation includes a four-bedroom ‘Hamptons’ style house by the tennis court, which sits right on the water’s edge, and two similarly styled three bedroom ‘apartments’ on either side of the main property.

In the main house are four large suites on the second level with a living space, ensuite and doors opening to views of the lake; but the pièce de résistance has to be the master suite on the third level – the perfect romantic escape. It’s discreetly hidden behind a teak door, up a narrow carpeted staircase. Inside are two walk-in robes either side of the bed, each the size of single bedrooms, a lounge area in front of a fireplace, the king bed, and huge bathroom. The entire suite is the size of your average Australian home at 220 square metres, and is the only suite on the third level.

The property proudly only accommodates 30 at any one time and there are multiple outdoor spaces where you can slip away and lay undisturbed gazing across the lake with your loved one.

If you do happen to pull yourself away, it’s well worth a visit to Merne at Lighthouse, a local restaurant twenty minutes down the road in Drysdale.

It’s as hidden away as Campbell Point House, down unsealed roads, but when you get there it has a homely feel with exceptional service.

The menu is a multi-grazing shared arrangement with dishes such as kingfish, burnt broccoli, celery and black lime; pork, apple, kumquat, walnut and radicchio; and to finish, tapioca pudding, coconut, banana, peanut and cheesecake ice cream – to name a few.

Take the advice from co-owner Caleb Fleet and make sure you go when there’s still some daylight left too, so you can soak up the vast views of olive groves, and in the distance, Port Phillip Bay.

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