So, you live in Brisbane and you desperately need a break because, well, life is hectic. You’re exhausted from commuting to work and staying up late watching Netflix when you should be sleeping. You’re sick of doing laundry, waking up early, cooking dinner and just generally being a ‘responsible’ adult. My friend, you deserve a break.
Sadly, we don’t always have the time, money or annual leave available to jet off to Bali or Thailand for a week of rest and relaxation. Does that mean you have to miss out? Ahhh, no! There are some amazing staycation spots in, on and around Brisbane. While the Sunshine and Gold Coasts usually spring to mind first, I’m here to tell you about another spot you probably haven’t heard of before, Mercure’s Clear Mountain Lodge.
Alright, where is this magical place?
You’ll find Mercure Clear Mountain Lodge a 40-minute drive north of Brisbane’s CBD. The drive itself is actually super easy and, when you arrive, it’s hard to believe you’re still so close to Brisbane. Stepping out of the car, the fresh mountain air filling your lungs, you feel a million miles away. It’s that instant feeling of relaxation, knowing you’re away from it all, surrounded by nature and 100% ready to get your chill on.
The Lodge is in a pretty amazing location, perched up high on the mountain offering some of the best views of Brisbane. From the deck of the main house, you can take in sweeping, panoramic views of the Glasshouse Mountains, Lake Samsonvale, right across to Brisbane’s CBD and even out to the sand dunes of Moreton Bay and its islands.
The Lodge is run by Greg and Teresa, the most lovely, welcoming couple you could hope to meet. If you get the chance to talk to them, do because they’ll make you feel incredibly welcome and at ease. I found all the staff to be fantastic, they were so attentive and genuinely kind and lovely.
But, what would I do up there?
The first thing you need to do is make sure your alarm is off because you’re going to want to sleep in and make the most of knowing you don’t have anywhere to be. The Lodge has that mountain ambience about it, where time seems to slow down and it takes the edge of the tension you’ve been holding in your neck and shoulders the last few weeks.
Once you’ve caught up on sleep, it’s time to get busy relaxin’. Book yourself in for some well-deserved pampering at Stephanie’s Mountain Spa. This place is seriously gorgeous and very luxurious, the staff make you feel completely at ease and take amazing care of you. Matt and I were treated to an amazing steam therapy treatment, complete with body scrub and mud, followed by one of the best massages I’ve ever had. Truth be told, I hadn’t been sleeping very well and my massage was so relaxing, I fell asleep and only woke up because I snored so loud I woke myself up. It was great.
There is also a heap of other great things to do around the local area, like:
- Visit the Lyell Deer Sanctuary and make friends with Bambi and his mates
- Spend a few hours exploring Samford, visiting quaint cafes, art galleries and antique shops
- Saddle up for a horse-back adventure with Slickers Horse Riding
- Lose time in Dayboro by visiting the local pub, exploring boutiques checking out the local market, held first Sunday of each month.
- Visit a vineyard and enjoy a wine tasting at the cellar door of Brisbane’s Vineyard & Wine Tasting
- Take a trip to the picture-perfect Glengariff Historic Estate (perfect for photographers!)
If all that sounds like too much, I’d recommend curling up in bed with a cup of tea and that book you’ve been meaning to read or getting cosy with the person you love and kicking off a movie marathon. You should also track down on-site hound, Opal, an adorable chocolate labrador who loves chicken sausages stolen from the breakfast buffet and very vigorous body rubs (P.S she’s the best smelling dog in the world!)
Talk me through the food situation…
Let’s get real, there’s no point staying at a place that doesn’t have good food. Well, fear not, because Clear Mountain Lodge delivers on the food front. I actually had no idea they produced food like that and I’m happy to report I’ll be visiting again in the future, just to eat (the potato strudel was insane!).
There are two restaurants on-site, Mandy’s on the Mountain and Lakeview Restaurant. We had lunch at the Lakeview Restaurant and wolfed down a lot of very yummy food. My favourite was the delightfully crunchy Mediterranean panini stuffed with marinated vegetables, grilled halloumi and pesto. Matt went nuts for the Greg special steak sandwich of perfectly cooked, juicy steak with eggs, bacon, cheese, caramelised onion, tomato relish and chilli aioli.
For dinner, we treated to a memorable meal at Mandy’s. The restaurant setting is cosy, ambient and classy, making the perfect setting for an amazing meal. My vegetarian option was a vegetarian risotto, something I would normally avoid because risotto can be done really badly, but this one was so good I wanted more! I then got stuck into an amazing potato strudel with ricotta, eggplant and pecorino cheese, served with an amazing tomato veloute and spicy pumpkin cream…. it was…. so good, I ate every last bite. Dessert was equally impressive, a tasting plate of three decadent desserts, including an incredible strawberry mousse.
Like I said, I didn’t expect the food to be anywhere near the level it was, so I highly recommend eating there if you’re a guest or even just looking for a unique dinner spot away from the city.
What are the rooms like?
We stayed in one of the recently refurbished Privilege Rooms and were a bit stunned when we walked through the door to our room. The room was large and spacious, offering a very cosy and comfortable, modern space. It’s clearly been well-thought out, offering a great mix of space and comfort, like a really big bed you just kind of melt into.
There are cosy robes to slip into and a huge 40″ television, complete with Foxtel, for lazing around watching movies. There’s also a chaise lounge for reclining like royalty, a balcony with views of the surrounding bushland and plenty of space to spread out all your stuff in the room. The bathroom is impressive, with a big tub for soaking in, double basins and a rainforest shower with not one, but two shower heads so you can turn them both on and run around between them.
I genuinely loved the room because it didn’t feel like a stock-standard hotel room. It kind of felt like you’d arrived at a room from a design magazine and were now living in it. It offered a very cosy environment that puts you at ease and doesn’t have any of that distinct ‘you’re in a hotel’ feel to it.
I came away from my stay at Clear Mountain Lodge feeling really refreshed and relaxed. Before I arrived I hadn’t been sleeping well, I’d been eating pizza from Domino’s every second day and really not taking care of myself. My time at the Lodge relaxed me, from the comfortable room and amazing sleep I had in that big bed, to the indulgent pampering at the spa and the fantastic food in my belly. I also think just getting away from the city and breathing in that fresh air and getting back to nature helps a lot.
I’d recommend an escape to Clear Mountain Lodge as the perfect staycation destination for anyone wanting to get away for a few nights, without having to travel too far or lose any of the precious annual leave. It’s also a great option for anyone looking for a romantic escape with their sweetie-bear. Visit the Mercure Clear Mountain Lodge website here.
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.