Clifftop at Hepburn. A luxury escape you will never want to leave.

“Do we reaaaally have to leave?”

Lamented my nine-year-old daughter as we were about to depart. Clifftop at Hepburn has a generous check-out time of 12pm but even so we had ensured we had used every second of it. I mean literally.

We clicked the front door shut at 11:59.59. Yes sadly it was time to make room for the next guests however we were already planning our next visit!

Clifftop at Hepburn. Bespoke luxury.

Located in the quiet Victorian hamlet of Hepburn Springs Clifftop at Hepburn is an impressive collection of three luxury villas. Each villa has two-bedrooms and is modelled in a slick industrial design. The portfolio of names are evocative and unashamedly enticing –  Tranquillity, Serenity and Evoke.

At just over an hour from Melbourne, in Victoria’s spa precinct, Hepburn Springs is a pleasant drive from the city with much to see and do along the way. In fact two of my favourite small regional Victorian towns – Malmsbury and Trentham – are en route. Either are the perfect location to break the drive and have a good coffee, a bite and a wander. An exploration before arrival may actually be a good idea because you might not leave your lavish accommodation after settling in.

Once you nestle into your day bed, with cup or glass in hand, gazing out to the wondrous vistas before you, you’ll realise that you are about an hour and a whole world away from Melbourne.

Clifftop at Hepburn review

The Facilities.

Designed by local Daylesford architect Robin Larsen ‘Clifftop’ was created for sophisticated travellers who value high design, natural beauty and experiences over mere function. 

clifftop at hepburn kitchen

funky lightbulbs

The three villas are a glorious celebration of bespoke architecture and opulent amenities. Pleasingly I found that I felt equally ‘at home’ here as I did in awe. 

This is a world of floor-to-ceiling windows framing breathtaking panoramic views. Indoors luxuries include imported French fireplaces, Italian washplane sinks, Apaiser stone baths, decadent wooden floors, high beamed ceilings and wraparound windows that showcase nature from every room.

Other facilities include:

 Corten exterior façade

 Rampart walkway entry

 Infinity Daybed

 2 person spa

 Stunning mood lighting

 Premium bedding

 Unique textures (repurposed wood, raw steel, etc)

Each villa has two-bedrooms and also includes complimentary wine, breakfast, a Nespresso machine, gourmet teas, robes, slippers and  WiFi.

(Click an image to enlarge. Source: Clifftop at Hepburn)


Nothing has been missed here. That is probably why Clifftop was recently voted #1 out of 40,000 Holiday Homes for ‘Interior & Design’ by accommodation provider Stayz!

“Delightfully quirky”. Not my words – theirs.

There is an ambience of restrained industrial luxury throughout the villas. They are stylish but never ostentatious and some of the amenities are just downright playful reflecting the personality of the owners.

In Serenity you can pamper your body in the Japanese-engineered Inada Sogno, a heavenly chair that melds to your body and delivers the world’s best shiatsu massage. Tranquillity trades sensual indulgence for platinum entertainment with a nostalgic retro arcade console boasting 1,400 games including 80’s ‘greats’ such as Pacman, Galaga and Space Invaders. Finally Evoke transports you back to the 50s with an addictive pinball machine.

In combination these quirky amenities are completely unique to Clifftop…you won’t find them at any other retreat in the world.

Lose yourself.

At least twice during my stay I closed my eyes and imagined this villa was actually ours. The first time was as I idled on our massage chair and the other occurred whilst gazing, eye-lids heavy, out from our suspended day bed.

When was the last time you did absolutely nothing by the way?! This place seems to encourage it. Where lethargy is a virtue. I don’t ever remember being at another high end hotel or apartment and having such a whimsical fantasy. All of my family felt it – not just me.

clifftop at hepburn lounge
Breakfast time. Can you picture yourself here?

Clifftop is perfectly tailored to romantic getaways and honeymoons, luxury family travel but also friends’ retreats where you can share the space and the costs. No other luxury Hepburn retreat is as spacious or as flexible.

Your hosts. David and Mani.

Whilst you may not actually meet them in person their personalities shine through-out the villas. It is clear that they have a relentless pursuit for quality and those that are fortunate enough to stay here are the beneficiaries.

Despite winning multiple awards in their first year resting-on-laurels doesn’t seem to be a palatable option for the pair. Days after my stay (December 2016) they introduced iPad’s streaming Spotify to the villas so you can create the perfect musical accompaniment for your mood and activities.

In mid-January 2017 an epic outdoor viewing platform replete with a luxurious day bed swinging beneath will be added to the property. David and Mani already have further exceptional enhancements to Clifftop in the pipeline.

It seems the only constant here will be change, for the even better.

The wrap

There is a genuine personality infused into each of the three luxury villas at Clifftop. These architectural masterpieces are far from inanimate buildings. Each are slightly different. Each a different character. A bespoke amalgam of the architect and owners exacting visions.

clifftop at hepburn exterior
Source: Clifftop at Hepburn.

If you already lead a luxurious life Clifftop at Hepburn will be a perfect accoutrement to your lifestyle. However if like most of us you aspire for luxury then a stay here will leave you simply spellbound and pining for more. I call it achievable luxury.

Clifftop’s own website sums it up perfectly when it says…

“Leave your cares at the door and step into Clifftop at Hepburn, a retreat to fine living, unparalleled architecture and opulent indulgence. From the moment you step in, you’re in another world…”

We don’t tend to do star-ratings any more here at Thirty Summers but as you can see I did manage to do another form of star rating during my stay. It seems an apt place to end our review and summarise our stay. In a word…


clifftop at hepburn by night

More information.

Rates start from $349 per night. (Correct 27 Dec, 2016)

Please note: I stayed as a guest of Clifftop at Hepburn. All opinions and views expressed are my own. All photography © Saxon Templeton unless otherwise credited.

Festival Lens

Music lover with camera in hand. You see what I saw on Thirty Summers. "If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff" - Jim Richardson.

13 thoughts on “Clifftop at Hepburn. A luxury escape you will never want to leave.

  1. Lucky you getting to review such a luxurious and gorgeous place Saxon. We’ve stayed in many places at both Daylesford and HSprings over the last few years (usually on our anniversary) but this one’s a bit out of our price range. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Miriam. Yes lucky us! It certainly is a spot for the extraordinary rather than the ordinary. Might be worth a Follow on their FB page as I noted they occasionally put up last-minute deals on there. Cheers

      Liked by 1 person

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