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We’re prematurely making like swallows this week and migrating south to Australia‘s Royal Mail Hotel in the Grampians, in search of spectacular skies and taste sensations…

Style Country pub gone gourmet
Setting Panoramic peaks

Why this week? This week, and every week up until the end of September for that matter, Smith members can stay for three nights over the weekend and only pay for two. The catch? You’ve got to have a 10-course dinner at one of Australia’s best restaurants as part of the deal.

Our favourite bits We love the aptly-named Mountain View Rooms, where full-width, floor-to-ceiling, sliding windows frame picture-postcard-perfect aspects of Mount Sturgeon and the Southern Grampian Ranges. Chances are you’re here for the food: the restaurant is headed up by Dan Hunter, most recently head chef at two-Michelin-starred Mugaritz in foodie-favoured San Sebastián. The cuisine fuses extraordinarily fresh, local and seasonal ingredients with low-key, but essence-enhancing technology to create a genteel riot of tastes, textures and tummy-tickling flavours. This is molecular gastronomy with a distinctly Australian accent, mixing lamb and liquorice, pigeon and white chocolate, fig leaf soup and fresh and dried berries. There’s also a huge, temperature-controlled shed across the road containing some of the finest wines in Australia.

Mr & Mrs Smith say ‘As grey kangaroos graze among the grass trees below our bedroom window, the last of the sunlight dances over the two monolithic mountains that act as full stops to the Southern Grampians. Rain squalls skid across a landscape recently transformed from russet to emerald and there’s a sense of renewal afoot in the small farming town of Dunkeld. It’s inspired in part by the Royal Mail Hotel, which is quickly gathering cult status among serious foodies.

We stayed at this pub turned boutique inn primarily to eat a 10-course extravaganza by chef Dan Hunter, who returned to Australia from Spain’s Mugaritz, one of the world’s top 10 restaurants. This tasting menu is spectacular, and the Royal Mail also has a superb wine list, from local back vintages of Best’s Great Western to some of France’s finest drops…’

Read the full review of Royal Mail Hotel

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