Time Out says
Friendly warning! We're working hard to be accurate. But these are unusual times, so please check that venues remain open.
Forget about all your worries at this warm and welcoming seaside retreat
For centuries physicians would prescribe trips to the seaside as a cure-all for everything from consumption to hysteria. While we can't guarantee a visit to Lon Retreat will cure you of ye olde diseases, we can say that a stay at the luxury retreat is likely to leave you feeling relaxed and worry free. You know that feeling you get from watching puppy videos? Yeah, that’s how you’re going to feel.
If you’re a regular visitor to the Bellarine Peninsula, you might have already clocked that Lon Retreat is the revitalised form of the old Lonsdale Views bed and breakfast. It’s even led by the same family, with managing director Claire Gemes the sixth generation to work on the location (the land has been in the family since the late 19th century). The original Lonsdale Views building remains, but inside the space has been completely revamped.
The design of the retreat brings the outdoors indoors, with lots of timber accents, floor-to-ceiling window panes and a colour palette that reflects the surrounding coastal farmland. Wherever possible the resort has used timber and sandstone from the region in construction. There’s none of the industrial art you expect in corporate hotels either – Lon Retreat commissioned a stack of local artists to create works inspired by the Bellarine.
There are still a few throwbacks to the resort’s former life as a B’n’B. Guests are often seen relaxing in the communal foyer area by the modern fireplace, reading in the sun-drenched nook by the spa or at the large dining table. Despite the (welcome) isolation, there’s plenty to do. You can try one of the farm’s walking tracks, head down to the surf (Lon Retreat has private beach access) or really lean into your relaxing getaway with a treatment at the day spa.
Lon Spa offer single and couple's treatments for guests that range from massages, body scrubs and facials to three-hour spa packages. Guests are encouraged to try a vichy shower steam beforehand to heighten their treatments and relax with a dip in Lon Retreat’s mineral water pool. The water is sourced from a limestone aquifer that was discovered over 100 years ago. It feels noticeably soft to swim in, and there’s a hot plunge pool for cool days.
Managing director Claire says that each room is designed to feel like a warm hug, and she’s not wrong. Calming music plays as you enter your spacious suite. The rooms are all named after types of clouds, and while styling varies depending on the suite, they all come complete with a lounge, kitchenette, king bed, rain shower and bath. For those who arrive late to the retreat and don’t want to head back out in the search of food, Lon Retreat can put together barbecue packs to cook at your leisure (each suite comes with a Weber barbecue).
Leave your work at home because Lon Retreat has no wi-fi – making it all the easier to unwind.