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The promise of transformation at Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa’s new Wellness Villas

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images supplied

Drive ninety minutes north-west of Melbourne and you’re in healing country.

Quite literally. The Daylesford-Macedon region is home to 80 per cent of Australia’s natural mineral springs, making it the country’s bona fide spa destination.

The Indigenous custodians, the Wurundjeri, Taungurung and Dja Dja Wurrung people knew it. The first settlers knew it. And that’s why they built The Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa there in 1895. To nourish their bodies with the waters rich in magnesium, sulphate and calcium.

Today, visitors can enjoy the benefits of mineral bathing at the eponymous bathhouse. And now an even more luxurious experience is on offer, with the addition of four new accommodation options.

Perched on the hill overlooking the Bathhouse, these retreats — aptly titled Wellness Villas — are no ordinary getaway. In fact, they’ve been remodelled, redesigned and revitalised to extend the therapeutic ethos of the Bathhouse.

Daylesford Spa

A visit to the villas begins with the herbaceous smell of essential oils. Every guest has the option to choose their nightly blend. There’s the ‘Rest Easy’ special to promote relaxation and a good night’s sleep, or the ‘Revive’ for uplifting and de-stressing. The diffuser near the room’s entrance, not far from the enormous marble spa bath, sets the tone. A night here is one of indulgence.

Each villa features a king-sized bed, central bathtub, well-equipped kitchenette, lounge area with a stone fireplace and TV, and one or two leafy balconies. There’s a goodies hamper bursting with treats for each guest. In autumn, the maple trees outside turn a vibrant crimson and cast a reddish hue into the rooms. It feels like you’re inside an opulent cocoon – coaxing the occupant towards physical and psychological well-being.

Air purifiers gleam in corners. A thrilling array of bath salts sits neatly on the edge of the tub. The mattress topper is cloudlike and wondrous. And a central iPad and sound system come pre-loaded with guided meditations and yoga classes. Before bed, you can practice yoga and bathe for an hour, with a full stomach thanks to the chefs at the Pavillion kitchen.

In the daylight, hop over to the Bathhouse and indulge in a massage or facial (or both), soak in the salt-therapy pool, slather your skin with clay inside a Mineral Hammam or cajole the body to release in the mineral pools. Built in 2008, the Bathhouse is an architectural feat with soaring ceilings, glass walls to bring the outdoors in, and a mid-century modern style. There’s public and private bathing, and genderless amenities to welcome all bodies.

Hepburn Springs Retreat

The Pavillion cafe, housed in the original brick Bathhouse, offers fresh, contemporary meals with a wellness focus. Ample well-priced and delicious breakfast and lunch options are available, plus coffee and tea. For those looking to imbibe, the Passing Clouds Viognier is rich and luscious, and perfect over lunch.

The Wellness Villas make good on their promise of transformation, with a space more carefully composed than most. A stay here is a slow-releasing aqua antidepressant; the full effects of which will be felt as you pile your languid limbs back into the car.


WHAT: Wellness Villas at Hepburn Spa Retreat
WHERE: Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, Mineral Springs Reserve Road, Hepburn Springs
WHEN: Now open for bookings

The author travelled as a guest of Hepburn Spa Retreat management.
We wish to acknowledge the Dja Dja Wurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.
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