Even though the Vines is only half an hour from Perth city, when you arrive, you’ll feel like you’re miles from anywhere. The resort is immersed in an abundance of green, from the golf course to the surrounding bushland and, true to its name, the grape vines in the middle of the property. Some rooms have views over the golf course, where you can watch kangaroos hop around on the greens and nibble on the nearby bushes.
The Vines has everything you’d expect from a large resort – an outdoor swimming pool and heated spa, tennis courts, indoor squash courts and gym.
It also has two 18 hole championship golf courses, although on our visit, we stuck to the driving range, where I tried really hard not to hit the kangaroos (or any of the other guests).
The rooms at the Vines were refurbished in April 2015, so everything still looks new and shiny. The bathrooms are big, modern, well lit and immaculately clean. The highlight for us was the spa bath, which featured very comfortable head rests for maximum relaxation (and ensured I didn't get out until my fingers had well and truly turned into prunes!)
The bedrooms are nicely decorated in greens and neutral tones and feature a big, plush king sized bed. There's also a separate lounge area with dining table, and best of all, the rooms also contain a coffee machine and pods (which personally I think should be mandatory in all hotels).
Muscats restaurant is conveniently situated on site, and the food is exceptional. The gnocchi is comfort food perfection, and the white chocolate lava cake is a one way ticket to gastronomic heaven (although sharing it caused a bit of conflict!) And, being in WA’s second biggest wine region, there’s also an extensive wine list, with plenty of local options.
Around the hotel: Located on the Vines property is the independently run Keishi day spa. The spa has won multiple awards, and as soon as you step through the door, you can see why. The décor is utter perfection – clean, feminine, simple but stunning, and immediately makes you feel at ease. The facials are heavenly, and ensured I floated out the door.
On the Vines’ doorstep is the Swan Valley, Australia’s second oldest wine region. If you’re short on time, the best way to cover some ground is to take a Speed Grazing Tour, which will whizz you around many of the local attractions, where you get to taste everything from honey to wine to Aboriginal bush tucker, while learning about the fascinating history of the area.
If you’ve got more time up your sleeve (and a designated driver), there are almost 50 wineries in the Valley. Jane Brook, Sandalford and Edgecombe Brothers are a few stand outs, and there are dozens of boutique properties worth a look. But if you’re not into wine, there are plenty of other options like the Margaret River Chocolate factory, Supa Golf, a reptile park and a couple of really interesting Aboriginal art galleries.
The Valley really comes alive in spring, when the vines are at their greenest, but each season has its highlights, making it one of WA's best year-round destinations.
For more info on things to do in the Swan Valley, check out this story: http://waandfaraway.com.au/new-blog/2015/11/3/a-weekend-in-the-swan-valley