Saffire Freycinet: Tasmanian Luxury Lodge by a Secluded Beach

Saffire Freycinet on Great Oyster Bay in Tasmania

I have always thought that Tasmania’s Saffire Freycinet is one of Australia’s finest luxury lodges, not only because it is in a stellar location by a secluded beach but also because it offers exceptional intuitive service and a wide range of luxury experiences.

Tasmania’s Saffire Freycinet was named 2014 Grand Award Winner in Andrew Harper’s world renowned luxury Hideaway Report. Harper describes Saffire Freycinet as a “superb contemporary 20-room resort nestled in a eucalyptus forest beside Great Oyster Bay. Floor-to-ceiling windows in three-story main lodge grant magnificent views of the pink-hued Hazards Mountains across the bay.”

This is another huge stamp of international approval for Luxury Lodges of Australia, which is a collection of independent luxury lodges and camps offering unforgettable experiences in Australia’s most inspiring and extraordinary wilderness locations.

The award is richly deserved.

Saffire Freycinet offers a design-rich but low-key and sophisticated retreat in exquisite natural surroundings on the edge of Tasmania’s Freycinet Peninsula. The name itself conjures up its setting with the merging of the sapphire blue waters of Coles Bay with the fiery hues of the pink granite Hazard Mountain Range at sunset…ergo the jewel of Tasmania.

With its swooping stingray-shaped roof, its dramatic ceiling made of ribbed golden celery-top pine and its wall of windows overlooking the water and mountains, the main lodge makes a grand statement but is also warm and welcoming. The lounge area offers comfortable couches and chairs, with Tasmanian Huon pine stumps for tables, lots of games and a long gas fireplace providing warmth in wild and wintry weather.

While the design is stunning, it is the enthusiasm and professionalism of the staff that is most striking. Guests remark over and over again how the staff transformed an already fine experience to a perfect stay. With an emphasis on empathy the staff often anticipates the extra little things that guests might appreciate, whether it is a bottle of pinot noir or herbal tea with the turn-down service or the suggestion of an early morning canoe paddle for bird lovers.

The work of world-class local Tasmanian designers is featured throughout the resort. The gift shop is fabulous offering one-of-a-kind jewellery, ceramics and other high-quality crafts rather than the tourist dross for sale at many resorts.

View of the Hazards Mountain Range from a Saffire Freycinet SuiteSaffire Freycinet suites

All the suites are spacious, private and offer fabulous views. Of the three categories, the premium suites have a separate bedroom and plunge pool, while the other two categories offer a split level arrangement between the open bedroom and living area, both with views. The colour palette picks up the natural tones of the local environment: taupe, grey, green, and blue with highlights of orange. (The floor rugs incorporate these colors a little too garishly for my taste, however.)

The furnishings, featuring custom-woven fabrics and leather, offer an eclectic mix of mid-century classics such as Eames chairs with locally made timber pieces. The sumptuous beds have 1000 thread count sheets and soft angora throw rugs. There are fresh flowers, free wi-fi, an interesting selection of books, flat-screen televisions that retreat into wall panels when not in use, iPod docking stations as well as iPods loaded with a diverse range of music. Free mini bars are stocked with premium Tasmanian produce, wine and beers.

The spacious pale stone bathrooms have heated floors, large showers with rain-shower heads, separate baths, plus double vanities.

 

Wine Wall at Saffire FreycinetThe gourmet experience

Multi-course degustation menus are expertly matched with Tasmanian and other fine Australian boutique wines from an exceptional wine list at the two-tiered Palate Restaurant where every table enjoys that sensational view.

Head chef, Hugh Whitehouse, who achieved culinary fame at Lilianfels in the Blue Mountains, devises inspired dishes from a network of exquisite local produce including Coles Bay oysters and mussels, Tasmanian truffles and fresh wasabi, crayfish, scallops and deep-sea fish, grass-fed beef and lamb and full-flavored game.

Things to do at Saffire Freycinet:

There are a whole range of terrific experiences included in the tariff.

Oyster Beds at Great Oyster BayThe signature experience that has captured so many people’s imaginations is a visit to a local oyster farm where you don waders to learn how oysters are grown and then taste them accompanied with a glass or two of Tasmanian sparkling wine at a white-clothed table in the middle of the bay. It really is very fun but I would have to say that the oyster farming is not particularly cutting edge so don’t assume that you are tasting the best of the best oysters. Still, there is nothing like tasting oysters in situ, with a glass to Tasmanian bubbles to boot!

Other complimentary experiences include
* a white sandy beach in front of the resort, perfect for beach combing and swimming
* cooking and mixology classes,
* a guided canoeing adventure at the mouth of the Moulting Lagoon wetland where you’ll see a huge range of bird and marine life,
* a guided walk to Wineglass Bay lookout,
* a wine and vine tour,

Tasting oysters and Tasmanian sparkling wine at Saffire FreycinetFor an additional fee these are two lovely experiences:

  • Le Pique Nique is perfect for active types: Explore Wineglass Bay on a guided 5km walk after which you are greeted by one of Saffire’s chefs who creates a gourmet picnic of locally sourced products such as oysters, charcuterie, barbecued seafood, free-range meats, farmhouse cheese and petit desserts.  You are then chauffeured back to the lodge aboard the Saffire boat to enjoy spectacular views of the fiery red Hazards mountains over the aquamarine sea.
  • Wineglass Bay by Water Experience is best for people who are a little less mobile. This is a two-way trip aboard the purpose-built vessel, Saffire which includes exploring Wineglass Bay as well as many other white sandy beaches. There is a short guided walk, fishing and a sumptuous lunch before the cruise hom
  •  And no matter what you choose, the rather small spa facility also offers an impressive range of treatments often using local minerals, herbs and rocks.

What I loved:

All the meals are spectacular and the wine list is full of fabulous boutique finds from all over Australia.  I also found the staff particularly intuitive and thoughtful and willing to go the extra mile at all times.

What could be improved:

Unfortunately, there is limited space for bags in the rooms.

In this often chilly environment, the rooms would also have greatly benefited from a cozy fireplace and it would be nice if it were easier to watch television from the bed.

 

I have also reviewed other Luxury Lodges of Australia. Check out my posts on  Southern Ocean Lodge and Wolgan Valley Resort. To see my reviews of other lodges and camps in the Luxury Lodges of Australia portfolio, see my app Australia’s Best Places.

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I stayed courtesy of Saffire Freycinet.

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Saffire Freycinet

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Sue Gough Henly

Sue Gough Henly is award-winning travel writer and photographer whose bi-line has appeared in The New York Times, Travel & Leisure, The Guardian, The Toronto Star and all the major Australian publications. Her travel blog, Genuine Journeys, is full of insider tips on the best places for authentic experiences and luxury splurges. She is also the author of Australia’s Best Places travel app. When she doesn’t have sand between her toes or a pack on her back, she writes about food, wine and culture.

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