When you park your car and first set eyes on the facade of Red Brick Barn Chewton you feel as if you have been transported back in time. Located in the sleepy hamlet of Chewton just outside of Castlemaine, Victoria (which is hardly the epitome of ‘hustle & bustle’ itself) first impressions are good. Very good.
The charms of Red Brick Barn.
You think – wow I wonder how old this place is?
We were greeted by one of the owners who welcomed us warmly, literally, as it was one of those scorching hot summer days where the mercury was tipping above 35 degrees Celsius (100F). As we opened the front door our faces were met by a cooling rush of air-conditioned air – bliss. Nothing inside changed our opinion that this must be a fine restoration of a period barn. But what period we pondered? As old as the gold rush perhaps that saw Chewton, and it’s surroundings, become the epicentre of one of the world’s richest alluvial gold workings in the mid 1860s? Or maybe were we talking the later Victorian era – the architecture, styling and period features oozing class and finesse.
Well actually Red Barn has been lovingly crafted as an accurate yester-year style dwelling but is in fact, drum roll pah-lese, closer to three years old! Gotcha!! Well they certainly did. As a case of trompe l’oeil it’s right up there. But instead of being unhappy about this I think it actually adds to the appeal. No squeeky boards, doors that don’t fit flush and so on. The features of antique with the benefits of modern. Tick.
I’m going to let the picture tell the story as to the interior.
There is cachet aplenty in the styling and whilst there is a lot of decoration in addition to the furniture, none of it is trite or overbearing. It is quite an achievement, and we were looking. The beds are comfy, the fridge well stocked with yummy goodies upon your arrival and if you visit outside of winter I think you will spend most your time on the restful patio (pictured).
Something else to note is that the bedding is laundered in natural products and cleaning in between guests is not done using toxic cleaning chemicals. Castlemaine as a whole is very eco, organic and ‘of-the-earth’ so it’s no surprise that the owners also seem to maintain that philosophy. So one to note down if you are not a fan of, or sensitive to, nasty chemicals.
As great as this place is it would almost be criminal just to stay put and not get out and explore. Running along the back of the property is a major walking trail that can take you on a pleasant walk into Castlemaine (4 kms) in one direction and in to historic Chewton proper in the other. You could of course just walk the two kilometre or so round trip to get cooking provisions from the delightful Wesley Hill Market or jump in the car and explore the myriad attractions in the general area. From ghostly derelict gold mines to cool cafes where you can sip lattes with the locals. (FYI – a Hipster beard would not go amiss)
Red Brick Barn Chewton is high quality. You get what you pay for but it is certainly not cheap. That said our expectations were not only met but greatly exceeded. Most who stay will be from Melbourne and at only an hour and a half ‘up the road’ it also ticks the convenience box there. There is a two night minimum stay, however that said, as we were packing the car to leave on day three, replete with a lovely surprise gift of a jar of honey from the owners’ very own hive, we really wanted a third night!
The good. Almost everything.
The less good. Maybe just a tad expensive?
Overall. Exceptional. We’ll be back 🙂
Value for money: 8/10