Story and photos by Sharon King Hoge

Milton Park Country House Hotel was a stately home

Milton Park Country House Hotel & Spa

Arched Palladian windows... stately stone urns... dappled pathways... are signature  features of Milton Park an historic resort in the manicured rolling  landscape of the Southern Highlands an hour south of Sydney, Australia.  Originally called Mansfield Farm, it was purchased in 1910 to be the  country home of one of the very social Hordern brothers, and became  known for breeding top cattle and for its magnificent gardens designed  by Anthony Hordern and has wives Viola and Mary.

Driving in through imposing stone gates down a tree-lined driveway, the iconic  mansion, said to be a 20th-century icon, is entered through the door at  the porte-cochere. Its living rooms now provide comfortable reception  and seating areas for reading and chatting and sipping tea in the manner of the Golden Era when wealthy estate owners fled here to escape  Sydney's summer heat. Beyond the check-in desk, the Polo Bar is lined  with a wall of iridescent liquor bottles with a billiard room behind.  Windows in the Conservancy, Orangerie, and Hordern dining rooms frame  views of the trees, greenery, and colorful birds outside.

Milton Park stately rooms provide lobby seating

Three floors of guest rooms adjoining the main house are centered around  paddocks and lawns with fountain views. Window doors on ground floor  rooms open out to seating on grassy terraces. With antiques and French  Provincial furnishings, guest rooms and suites are spacious, with king  size beds, comfortable arm chairs, convenient tables, and writing desks. Giant armoires conceal big-screen television sets with ample drawers  underneath to supplement the closet storage.  Each room is fitted out  with a safe, small refrigerator, ironing board and iron, hair dryer.  Marble counters in the roomy bathrooms provide space to spread out  cosmetics beside the rosemary scented amenities.  Two-seat baths and  open fireplaces are features of most suites.

Milton Park guest rooms cluster around a grassy courtyard

Many visitors come merely to admire the gardens and to dine. Chef Matthew  Byrne's  seven-course Degustation menu at Hordern's includes vanilla  butter lobster tail, foie gras terrine with smoked duck, crusted  Victorian venison with parsnip puree, lillet blanc sorbet, a vanilla  pear compote -- all paired with local wines. Orangerie highlights  include pan roasted lamb loin with parmesan and wild mushroom risotto  and slow cooked wagyu beef cheek. The breakfast buffet is offered in  the Conservatory and meals can also be served on the Terrace or room  service. 

Milton Park guests relaxing in the Polo Bar

Surrounding gardens, described as Australia's finest, lie below the mansion. Over  time, the original formal geometric Edwardian plan has softened,  redesigned into a series of gentle terraces culminating in the rose  garden. Visitors are invited to follow self-guided tours down stone  walkways leading along the Fairy Path to the Rose Parterre or down the  Wisteria Walk which  passes the Sunken Garden.

Milton Park guests are invited to relax in the gardens

The French Pool House lined with high arched windows houses the full-size  swimming pool. Swimmers can look up at faux paintings depicting blue  and white urns and a bird on its walls and actual birds can be spotted  beside the real urns on the its outside terrace.  Up the hill beside the tennis courts, the spa houses a large Jacuzzi, sauna, and good hot steam room.  Treatment rooms provide space for Jojoba bead body polish,  Sodashi infusing, mineral, and age-defying facials, eye-lift, body  toner, and mint foot therapies. The hour and a half Gentleman Package  includes a back exfoliation and massage and a mankind facial.

Milton Park grass tennis courts lead to the stately spa

Picturesque nearby towns provide opportunities to shop and sight see, but many  visitors are content merely to enjoy the views, hospitality, and service of the stately estate. 




© July 2017 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.


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