This is just what the Doctor ordered...

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The welcoming party at the D’entrecasteaux Hotel

I was flicking through a brochure for the Huon Valley looking for a place to stay for the night. I didn’t want just anything and would rather have gone home than go and check into something just so-so, or in French Comme ci, comme ça. My eyes scanned the brochure and all the accommodation choices thinking as I looked from one humdrum place to another, “they are all so bland; I want to stay somewhere special.” Then I saw it, number 49 - D’Entrecasteaux French Provincial Style Boutique Hotel, this is what I was looking for. I finished reading the blurb next to the photo. It read “Nestled on the shores of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, offering luxurious accommodation, spectacular bay views and private balconies. Excellent cuisine (by arrangement), dining conservatory, licensed Bar, indoor heated pool, library, sitting rooms, log fires, petanque (I still don’t know what this is) croquet, in-room spa treatments, bikes and canoes. Map Ref: 13”. Ok I know where I want to stay tonight, now I just have to find it and see if they have a room to spare. Next stop France...

I looked at the adjoining map and found the hotel was not very far from the Margate Train where I had had lunch today. What’s another trip down that road when I was going to France for the night, yet I would be only 15 minutes away from Hobart. It’s a small world after all.

Once I found the hotel I was delighted to see it looked as nice as it does in the photo; too often hotels will have a ten year old photo showing it in its glory day but the reality is the hotel has passed its used by date and is in dire need of a facelift. The D’Entrecasteaux only opened its doors as a hotel just over 12 months ago and I am pleased to announce it is everything I had hoped it would be and so much more.

I drove into the spacious car park, parked my car and made my way to the entrance after stopping to pat the little white dog who came over to welcome me. When I walked in the young lady behind the desk gave me a big smile and friendly welcome. I asked if they had a room for the night and when she told me they had a few, I asked if I could possibly have a look at some of them to decide which one I would prefer. Rachel showed me a couple of different rooms and pointed out the good points of each one. One had its own terrace which if I was staying for more than the night might have been a nice option. I could see myself sitting out there writing in my journal and enjoying a good glass of wine while watching the sunset. However, this was not going to be my room for the night so I asked to see another room. The next room Rachel showed me was another chateau suite with gorgeous views over North West Bay. This was more like it but it still was not my room. Rachel said the only different type of room was the Tower Suite but that it still needed making up from the guests that stayed there last night. I said I just wanted to get a feel for the room and I promised not to look at the unmade room. So Rachel took me to the tower suite. I knew the moment I walked in this was the room for me.

There are plenty of spots to make yourself comfortable in front of the fire
I don’t know what set it apart from the other rooms, but when I saw the huge claw-foot bath in the bathroom I knew without a doubt this was the one.

Once we were back at the front desk Rachel asked if I would like to dine with them this evening. I said I would if it was possible because I had read that it is by prior arrangement. She went to check with the chef and came back with the news that I could have the eight course meal with them this evening, I need to be there at 6:30 for 7pm. Great my room and my dinner are sorted I just need to fill in the next hour or so before my room would be ready. I went away (I went home to grab a change of clothes and other necessities) and came back just over an hour later and my room was ready for me so I checked in to spend some time relaxing in my room before dinner.

My room was room number 8. The Tower Suite, or Le Suite De La Tourelle as is written on the room key and the door - I love it.

The first thing I did was check every nook and cranny in the room to see what we had. There was a mini bar hiding in one of the antique cabinets, with coffee and tea making facilities. All the furnishings were French antiques. There was ample hanging space in the amour along with a robe for guest use, the couch folded out into another bed, but the piece de resistance was the bathroom. I went in to start filling the tub for a bath, the huge claw-foot bath the kind that even I could sink all the way under the water in. Usually I have to sit up or bend my knees because baths are just not long enough or deep enough, but this was magic. I soaked for a while and then it was time to head down to dinner.

I had time to enjoy a glass of wine in the sitting room with the fire roaring before heading into dinner. There were ten people there for dinner only and another couple staying in the hotel for the night and we all ate dinner together.

Courses one and two were Salmon something or other and mussels something or other else, I don’t remember now what the waitress said, but boy oh boy were they delicious. There were dried leaves scattered on the table around a little tea candle. I loved this place. There was music in the background the first song I noticed was Snow Patrol ‘Chasing Cars’.

I was feeling so happy and relaxed; I was thinking I might have another bath in the morning before checking out, it would have been great to sit in the bath and enjoy view from the bathroom; it is gorgeous looking out over the water.

I was trying to decide what to do tomorrow, I’ll have breakfast here, maybe go for a swim or a kayak or maybe go for a bike ride, I could do any of those things at the hotel. If I didn’t do any of those I might go over to Bruny (Island) for the day.

As I mentioned, I found this place in the Huon Trail map and guide. It said it was a ‘French Provincial Style boutique Hotel’; well I want to go to France...

My life is all about France now, I have a moneybox by the door, which I call my ‘Paris Fund’, and whenever I have a two-dollar coin, it goes in my ‘Paris Fund’. Even the tea lady at work is in on it. She knows I won’t spend any two dollar coins I get in change so she always makes sure I receive a two dollar coin in my change if I buy anything from her. If I am going to get a dollar ninety change from someone, I will search for another 10 cents so I can get another two-dollar coin, all my friends are in on it too.

I love this place
The other day at work, I can’t remember what happened now, but Lauren was sorting some money out and she had a two dollar coin, and said, “It’s for the Paris fund” and threw it in my direction. I tell you, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.  I try to get people to donate to the Paris Fund when they come to my house. I will ask them if they have any spare two-dollar coins they would like to donate. Some people just scoff at me as if to say, yeah right, I’m giving you my hard earned money to send you to the other side of the world where you might not return from. Others are more than happy to spare their change. My dad had the strongest reaction. He told me in no uncertain terms there would be no way in the world he would give me money to put towards sending me to Europe and away from home. Hasn’t he learnt yet that, the more he fights something I want to do, the more determined I am to do it? Then as I was dropping dad back at the airport after his stay, he shoved some money in my bag and told me to put it towards Paris. I nearly burst into tears. My dad has never done anything to help me follow my dreams in the past and this was a huge gesture for him to make. Thanks dad.

... I digress; let me take you back to my wonderful little getaway and the D’Entrecasteaux Hotel...

Prior to dinner I went into the sitting room where I met a couple from the Gold Coast, we have stayed in many of the same places here in Tassie. Lemonthyme Lodge up near Cradle Mountain and Hawley House up at Hawley Beach... They told me the funniest story about Hawley House (they referred to it as Faulty Towers, and if you read my review of the place, I had a taste of the Faulty Towers, but I stayed there when the present owners had just taken it over, so all was new and pretty good). I have a photo of Shane on the roof of Hawley House pretending to turn the tap of a bath that is up there. Well, some people had gone up to have a bath and then gone to dinner and after dinner when they returned to their room, the bath was sitting on their bed. It had fallen through the roof and landed on their bed. They are bloody lucky they didn’t skip dinner and enjoy some other tasty delights in their room, otherwise they would have been in all sorts of trouble. Shane and I had stayed in the room below the one where the bath dropped in for an evening of pillow talk.

I desperately needed this getaway. I really needed to shut down and recharge and today has been perfect so far. I felt so good. Ok, so maybe a little tipsy from the Pinot Gris, I had to buy a bottle because they don’t do wine by the glass, I was just glad I didn’t have to drive home. I did want a glass of bubbles prior to dinner, but because of the nil by the glass policy, I had to choose what I wanted to have with my dinner for my pre dinner drink as well. They do have an extensive bar and serve spirits by the glass (thank God), but not wine and champagne. There was a large group of people having dinner who were there for a tasting night and they got to try a lot of different wines throughout the night.

Another song that played was Bernard Fanning ‘Watch Over Me’, “When trouble fills my world you bring me peace, you calm me down, you’re my relief. When walls come crashing down around my feet, you light my way, you’re my release. So say you’ll watch over me, when I’m in too deep, tell me you’ll always be, there to pull me free.” I love this song so much... It is kind of how I am feeling now...

If France is going to be anything at all like this experience, I am going to love it!

Rudolph wrote and told me how I will feel right at home in Paris.

The 18th Century Shutters imported from France
I sure hope so.

When I went home to pick up some things, I forgot to throw in another pair of shoes, so I’m sitting here in this really nice hotel, having this wonderful dinner and I am wearing my flowery all stars. :)

I think the hotel stole my IPod, another song ‘20 reasons’ by Thirsty Merc also played.

When we had finished the next course, the woman at the next table was telling me how they went to the Versace hotel on the Gold Coast for a special dinner and that there were two chefs in some sort of competition, and how everything they made had truffle in it. In her words, they were “Truffled to death”. I think with truffles, you can have too much of a good thing. Less is best. What we had tonight was perfect, Chicken Liver crouton topped with mushrooms and a truffle sauce. This was to die for. It was my favourite dish of the evening.

Over dinner, I had been thinking about this little getaway. Would I have preferred to have someone with me, specifically a partner? It would have been nice; I won’t deny that, but getting away on my own has been really good for me. I like spending time alone and I have had so much fun. It was interesting the reactions of the people around me, “A woman going to a lovely little country hotel for the night all by herself!” I didn’t feel sad that I was here by myself and not with a partner. Let’s face it though, there aint much to chose from here in Tassie even if I were interested.

The dinner was still going at 9:40pm, by then we had had a couple more courses

- Chicken Liver crouton topped with mushrooms and a truffle sauce.

- Beef Parmentier, which is similar to Shepherd’s Pie

The waitress placed a cheese knife on my table next. So to recap, we had had bread, the Salmon, the mussels, my favourite, the chicken liver crouton with mushrooms and truffle sauce, then the beef, next cheese, I presume desert will come, and then coffee would make it 8. The waitress told me it would be 8 courses.

Yep, cheese, it was a Bothwell Blue cheese with honey (?) and walnuts. The honey was an inspired choice and the combination is delicious. Who would have thought?

I think I had heard only one song tonight that’s not on my IPod, but it was U2 and I do have the CD at home.

I was having a ball, listening to good music, chatting with the other people in the room and eating a very good meal. What more could a girl want?

Dinner finished at 10:10pm. Desert was pears poached in elderflower cider with chocolate ice-cream drizzled in chocolate sauce. OMG this meal was perfect. Each ‘bite’ was the perfect size. I didn’t want anymore and nor was I over full. We moved into the sitting room after dinner and everyone chatted. I enjoyed a Baileys and a chat by the fire with Jan and Lauchie (the couple from the Gold Coast), and the owners of the hotel, Sheryl and John. I kept telling Sheryl how much I loved her hotel and at one stage, I said I would like to move in. The funny thing was I think she thought I was joking. :)

I had such a wonderful evening. I met some wonderful people and the meal was out of this world.

The welcoming party at the entrance to D’Entrecasteaux Hotel
I wouldn’t get much sleep tonight, breakfast was at 8am and I didn’t get back to my room until well after midnight. I was looking forward to tomorrow though. I love this place. I love it so much...

Sunflower300 says:
Oh, I know Petanque now; I just didn't recognise the name. :)
Thank you so much for your kind words about my blog Rudolph, I thoroughly enjoyed writing it but I enjoyed researching it much more. :)
I could never become a food critic; I find it too hard to report when I don't like something. :) Thank you so much for your kind comment though; I'm glad you enjoyed the meal too. :)
Posted on: May 01, 2009
Sweetski says:
Where to begin with leaving a comment suitable for this fabulous blog? Well, at the top I would say.

Petanque in uninspiring words is 'men playing with their balls' :D It is the French's favourite pastime. A game in which the goal is to throw heavy silvery metal balls nearest to a small wooden ball. The game is played on those typical French yellow gravel lanes. It can be played by two to four players.

Now for the rest of 'today's' story; what a wonderful written blog. I have read all of your blogs and I think I can fairly say, this may be the best ever. Ever thought of becoming a food critic? My mouth sure was watering after reading about those lovely delicious courses.

I am glad you could boost your spirit with such a superb and luxurious splash out :D Great choice of hotel! I think they got the atmosphere just right. There's only one big difference: not a single (affordable) room in Paris is a spacious as the one you stayed in. Prepare for broom closets my friend :D
Posted on: Apr 25, 2009
Lord_Mike says:
You may not have to go to France...I think you found it in your own back yard!
Posted on: Apr 24, 2009
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The welcoming party at the D’ent…
The welcoming party at the D’en…
My first peak inside was very welc…
My first peak inside was very wel…
The pretty view from one of the ar…
The pretty view from one of the a…
The bright and cheery sitting room…
The bright and cheery sitting roo…
There are plenty of spots to make …
There are plenty of spots to make…
I love this place
I love this place
The 18th Century Shutters imported…
The 18th Century Shutters importe…
The welcoming party at the entranc…
The welcoming party at the entran…
My room with the gilded French ant…
My room with the gilded French an…
The plasma screen TV, but why woul…
The plasma screen TV, but why wou…
My gilded French antique bed was a…
My gilded French antique bed was …
The claw-foot bath. I indulged in …
The claw-foot bath. I indulged in…
The bathroom in the tower suite wi…
The bathroom in the tower suite w…
My bathroom
My bathroom
Bathroom amenities
Bathroom amenities
An antique cabinet hides the mini …
An antique cabinet hides the mini…
The artwork by Harold Day I bought…
The artwork by Harold Day I bough…
Heading down to dinner
Heading down to dinner
A nook in the library
A nook in the library
Pre dinner wine in the sitting room
Pre dinner wine in the sitting room
Dinner for one
Dinner for one
First course a Salmon something or…
First course a Salmon something o…
Muscles something or other else
Muscles something or other else
My room key
My room key
Chicken liver crouton with mushroo…
Chicken liver crouton with mushro…
Beef Parmentier – similar to a s…
Beef Parmentier – similar to a …
Bothwell blue cheese with Tassie h…
Bothwell blue cheese with Tassie …
Jan from the Gold Coast
Jan from the Gold Coast
Pears and chocolate ice-cream
Pears and chocolate ice-cream
A little corner in my room with an…
A little corner in my room with a…
Just before hopping into bed. It…
Just before hopping into bed. It…
Howden
photo by: Sunflower300