Montacute Pavilion and Gardens is like no other Daylesford accommodation. It is a European-inspired hideaway in the treetops of one of Daylesford’s oldest and most historic gardens near the Wombat Hill Botanical gardens. Completely private, it is designed as the perfect romantic couples’ getaway. The bedroom is not just a bedroom, but a place to lounge in all day. And the bathroom is not just a bathroom: huge bath and ‘The greatest shower in the world, in which one can live out one’s fantasies of bathing, nymphlike, in a grotto.’ There is a fully equipped kitchen and comfortable sitting room downstairs, as well as a second bedroom and ensuite.

In the garden there is a terrace, an exotic dining pavilion, and spectacular parterres, and lots of seats in leafy nooks. Shops and cafés are just a few streets away. It is perfect for couples, couples with children, or friends who just want to hang out in a special place. Even hermits. It is great for longer stays. The building, which is based on the garden pavilions at Montacute House in England, is intriguingly festive, while the furnishings are luxurious, a mix of modern antiques and arts-and crafts cosiness. As one guest wrote: ‘I felt that I had died and gone to heaven’. It has all the luxury touches: Molton Brown toiletries, a hamper and a complimentary bottle of Passing Clouds’ ‘Graeme’s Blend’. There is off street parking and flat-screen TVs with Netflix on both floors.

Panel 1

The Vision

Montacute Pavilion is an interpretation of the garden pavilions at Montacute House, Somerset, England (Fig. 1)

Montacute House is one of the most important Elizabethan houses in England, now the property of the National Trust.  There is a terrace at the front of the main house with on either side two pavilions built in about 1600. These were originally probably banqueting pavilions, although now there is nothing inside. Midway between them was an entrance gate, now gone. A similar arrangement is still intact at Hardwick Hall.

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From the garden

Montacute Pavilion is an accurate enlargement (120% bigger) of these pavilions, but with two main changes. The windows have been changed from the type with a semicircular bay with flat side lights to bigger rectangular bays of Elizabethan type such as are found in the main Montacute House building, and it has been extended on the street side to accommodate the master bathroom and the downstairs bedroom. This changes the look of the building somewhat: from the street, the effect is quite exotic; from the secret garden and the Chinoiserie fabrique it is more comlplicated, while the pure Montacute view is from the garden on the west side.

Morning mist.

The intention has not been to create a replica of the Elizabethan building, but to take its form, and translate it into a building which is both a garden ornament and functional holiday accommodation, using (mostly) standard building materials. This is how the architecture of the past was made: by taking an admired model and adapting it to present-day purposes. This is what Andrea Palladio did when he created Veneto farmhouses in an antique/classical style. The original Montacute pavilions are of stone with slate roofs, but this has been translated into timber with a Colourbond corrugated roof. The building is, of course, timber framed, with the cladding made from Silvertop Ash, and the stringcourses made from treated pine.

Elizabethan architecture demonstrates an interesting interaction between traditional Gothic forms and a new Renaissance interest in Classical forms. The ogee curve (reverse curve) of the roof is a traditional Gothic form that was a favourite roof form in Elizabethan buildings. The radius of both convex and concave sections is 2800 mm. The original pavilions were dressed with classical columns at the corners and a classical entablature with modillions, topped by battlements. I found the battlements to be a little rudimentary, and so developed somewhat different ones based on those at another Elizabethan building, Stanway House in the Cotswolds.

These battlements are made of solid Accoya timber. This is a form of treated pine made with radiata pine treated with vinegar. It is not widely used in Australia and is therefore relatively expensive, but there are plants in the Netherlands and elsewhere that produce it. It is both more durable and more stable than the usual treated pine, and has been used for building bridges in Europe. It is also non-toxic: the company that made them for me told me that their workshop spelled like a fish-and-chip shop when they were making them. The modillions were made in treated pine, cut from standard 75 x 200 mm sleepers.

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Cornice, with modillions, battlements, dragon spouts and obelisks.

The feature that people find most striking are the obelisks and the finial on top, which are clad in brass and some copper. In the original pavilions these were of stone, but the translation into a timber building resulted in a different colouristic concept. Some people find them to be excessively exotic, especially the colour, suggesting other building typologies, but they are meant to add a festive note. After all, it is a place for enjoying oneself, and who needs drab? The dragon spouts are a bit of whimsy. They are the equivalent of Gothic gargoyles and are common in central and Eastern Europe rather than England (there is a seventeenth-century example in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and interesting examples, often remade, at Schloss Ambras, Innsbruck, Austria; Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland; and at Schwäbische Hall, Germany.  Click here and here for more about these. Elizabethan buildings had long channel waterspouts (old photos of the Montacute pavilions show them, though they are probably not original). Click here for more about this. Mostly these were replaced with cast iron downpipes in the eighteenth century. These dragon spouts are functional, but not as the normal way of removing roof water (building rules do not permit it) which is taken by downpipes. However, should the downpipes be blocked the dragon spouts would come into play. The vases are not found in the Montacute pavilions but came about because the bathroom extension needed chamfered corner so as not to be too boxy, while the ground floor bedroom needed to be rectangular: the vases ease the transition, as well as providing visual interest from the bathroom, where they manage to look a kittle Art Deco. They are made of painted Accoya.

Panel 2

Reviews and Testimonials

October 2019. This was certainly the climax to our stay in Victoria. What a way to end a holiday! A surprise destination for my daughters; it was very satisfying to see them squealing like young girls when they arrived. “OMG Mum! This is beautiful. It’s like something from Alice in Wonderland!” (They are both in their 30’s.) This is certainly a surreal residence. Being a Queenslander I drooled over all the plants I can’t grow in Brisbane. Loved the swathe of daffodils. The accommodation is 5 star. Wonderful touches to detail in every room. Thank you for giving us such a memorable holiday. C, C and S.

September 2019. Thank you for having us. Our boys loved the wonderful garden! What a beautiful place. Thank you for having us. K, N + boys (Melbourne)

September 2019. We had a delightful time relaxing in your extraordinary place! The attention to detail and little luxuries was so great – we will come back – we want to see your lovely garden in summer and autumn too. Thanks S and M.

September 2019. This unique property really does think of everything you could need for a long weekend or extended stay. The attention to detail by the owners is so greatly appreciated and we would love to go back and experience the place in all the seasons (but the daffodils look spectacular at the moment). M.

September 2019. Six years ago today we were in the UK on one of our long road trips visiting stately homes and galleries, gardens etc. and we went to Montacute House in Somerset, a National Trust property, the inspiration for Montacute Pavilion. Relooking at the photos we took it was clearly a fabulous Elizabethan house and wonderful garden. (We are now looking at monkey puzzle trees for home!) Its all wonderful – garden and the Pavilion and everything in the accommodation is top class and comfortable. The bottle of red and the hamper a very nice touch. D and P. (Adelaide).

September 2019. Thank you for a beautiful setting to my break before baby. Montacute is stunning. The gardens are divine and we couldn’t have asked for more. We will definitely be back! G and N.

August 2019. Thank you!!!  Montacute is truly a piece of heaven on earth. It’s one treasure. Loved each and every bit of this lovely place. Hats off to the minute attention to details. Visited this lovely place to celebrate our anniversary with our little girl. Have enjoyed every minute of our stay. Wish time could stop here and we would not have to leave this  treasure and return back to our busy life again. Definitely looking forward to visit again. Best wishes. A and A.

August 2019. Thank you so much for our stay at Montacute Pavilion. Both building and garden embody extraordinary vision, molta fantasia, and rigorous historical knowledge into a unique and most wonderful aesthetic experience. You have created a masterpiece that is also molto accogliente. M and G. Dunedin and Christchurch, New Zealand.

August 2019. Wow! What a beautiful place to spend a relaxing time in! It was very cold when we arrived and we walked into a very warm and inviting home away from home. Sad to leave, thank you for making out time memorable. So gorgeous here … thank you. R and M.

August 2019. We had seen and admired Montacute from afar on our last stay in Daylesford, so imagine my excitement when my wife surprised me for my birthday with a weekend away at Montacute. A wonderfully warm and inviting pavilion with beautiful gardens, even in the heart of winter. You have created a beautiful place. Thank you. M and B.

July 2019. The beautiful private garden is fabulous for my photos. Loved it so much!  Y.

July 2019. Wonderful stay at Montacute! Warmful winter escape. Joyful garden and sunshine. Clean and nice room with modern design details. Excellent anniversary memory stay.

July 2019. We had such a beautiful and relaxing stay here! So happy we found this place. Thank you for allowing us to stay at this amazing little place. I’ve written place too many times but it really is a nice place! Place out. K and D.

June 2019. Absolutely perfect from arrival, you won’t want to leave the house and gardens. D

June 2019. The perfect way to spend our 3rd wedding anniversary. The house and garden are so beautiful that whenever we left all we wanted to do was come back! You truly have created something magical, we cannot wait to come back. R and D.

June 2019. Thank you so much for creating such a beautiful place to stay. You have thought of everything. We love your sense of style, surprising at every turn. The pavilion is wonderful, thank you for sharing the story and yesterday, in the bright sunlight, the gold was lit and such a spectacle! Many thanks, K and B.

June 2019. Absolutely stunning property and gardens. Pictures don’t do it justice! R.

June 2019. Thank you so much for creating such a beautiful place to stay. You have thought of everything. We love your sense of style, surprising at every turn. The pavilion is wonderful, thank you for sharing the story and yesterday, in the bright sunlight, the gold was lit and such a spectacle! Many thanks, K and B.

June 2019. What a lovely experience. We particularly enjoyed the garden and watching the various birds enjoy the bird bath. The fires were also magic on the cold nights. B.

May 2019. Gorgeous palace in the setting of a serene garden. One has a dilemma whether one should go out into the town and surroundings to enjoy or just stay put in the Montacute pavilion and enjoy it more! Very nice in-house facilities! As one wakes up early morning lying in the first floor bed, it is a sight to behold! The welcome wine – Passing Clouds is rich. Enjoyed thoroughly and hope to return.

May 2019. Wow! This house is gorgeous, we loved the gardens, birds, all the modcons. Our children loved playing hide and seek and treasure hunts in the garden. We’ve travelled and stayed in many holiday homes, but Montacute has to be No. 1!! We’ll definitely be back to stay here again. Just perfect! Married @ the Convent. M and S.

May 2019. Our time here has been such a pleasure. We have delighted in everything – the garden, the birds, the peace and quiet and above all, the comfort and luxury appointments at every turn. We hope to return in another season to relax once again here at Montacute Pavilion. D and D. P.S. we loved the chestnut trees!

May 2019. The home was an absolute delight from the moment we entered the property. The high end finishing, heated ensuite flooring, beautifully maintained gardens, I could go on about everything at this property because it was one of the best homes we stayed at. Our children loved running around the garden mazes. We’ll definitely stay here again. M.

May 2019. We loved everything about Montacute Pavilion!! Such fun playing hide and seek in the stunning garden! We have voted and all agree that this is the best place that we have ever stayed!! Thank you so much. S and J, and W and S.

April 2019. **BOOK THIS ACCOM FOR PHOTOS FOR WEDDING DAY PREPARATIONS!! WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED** We booked this accommodation for our mini honeymoon for the night of our wedding. Our only regret is we didn’t stay here before the wedding so we could take full advantage of the garden for photos. This accommodation will take you into another world as soon as you drive (or walk) into the private gardens which surround the house. There was so much attention to detail in the garden you know its being loved and cared for every day. Walking through the gardens you discover little secret hideaways to read and enjoy the beauty surrounding you. The attention to detail is carried on throughout the house, which is a two storey, two bedroom (with separate ensuites) and lounge/kitchen area downstairs. There is beautiful art in every room (including the toilet). It was in pristine condition and not a speck of dust to be seen. The upstairs area is clearly fitted-out for a newly wedded couple, complete with its own fireplace and rug, nooks overlooking the gardens and stunning bathroom which has a stand alone bath and a gorgeous shower. The little extras included were the final touch to this accommodation which sets it apart. The house is fitted with electronic blinds, free coffee pods, high quality bathroom soaps AND the hamper provided. (I won’t spoil the surprise). To put it simply, I have already been told we will be having our first wedding anniversary here, which says it all. M.

April, 2019. A wonderfully appointed property that leaves nothing to be desired. The many thoughtful touches of the owners made our stay very relaxing and comfortable. Do not hesitate to book, you will not regret it! L and T.

April 2019. Thank you for sharing this wonderful house with us. The garden was such a hit with the kids, especially after the Easter bunny visited. We’ll definitely be back. Al the best, A, Q, R and E.

April 2019. Can I live here please?!! So beautiful and with the added pleasure of a panoply of exotic birds. Heaven! Thank you so much. M. (York, U.K.)

April 2019. Thank you so much, we have had a wonderful time these past few days. We love the property and will definitely be back! All the small touches make the world of difference and are grealy appreciated. All the best, L and T.

March 2019. We love your whimsy David! Thank you for sharing your creation with us!

February 2019. Everything was thought of. Visually spectacular and extremely comfortable.

February 2019. This is our second visit. Once again we have had a lovely time celebrating M’s ‘25’. Great to see how the garden has changed as we were here in winter previously.

January 2019. Montacute is an absolute diamond. The thought that has gone into the design of the house and gardens is unbelievable and nothing has been missed. The standard of this accommodation far exceeded my expectations and is one of the best places I’ve ever stayed. It’s quirky with amazing style and character. The gardens are a fantastic place to relax with so many places to sit and take on the different views.

January, 2019. Wow! Amazing property! Didn’t leave the property much to wander around- loved it that much. Thank you for the little touches of lux! Great place to watch the world go by.

January 2019. Thank you for having us, we absolutely found peaceful settings and quiet that we needed. The gardens are just beautiful and we enjoyed the delicious mulberries!

December 2018. Another wonderful stay at the perfect ‘little home’. Kids have thoroughly enjoyed the garden and the hospitality was excellent, as always. J, C, E, L and T.

November 2018. Amazing, would definitely return. The pictures don’t do this place justice. High end fit out, great internet, comfy beds, amazing bathroom, great views of the garden. The gardens were fantastic.

November 2018. We have thoroughly enjoyed your eclectic home. Full of one-of-a-kind architecture and modern trends. You have stunning and beautiful gardens that are very well maintained.

October 2018. Thank you for creating a special place in Daylesford. The gardens are gorgeous and relaxing, and the views from the pavilion into the gardens is magical. My partner was blows away by this treat for his 75th birthday. D and R (Sydney) and C (Melbourne)

October 2018. Hands down one of the most unique and opulent places we have ever stayed! It was a joy discovering the house and garden. I could live in the master bedroom (:. Beautifully appointed and fantastic amenities; we had a wonderful time — high point of our honeymoon. L and J.

September 2018. Exceptional. We didn’t find anything we didn’t like. Beds were so comfy and roomy, attention to detail about the place was second to none. Loved the garden, a lot of which is very unusual. And the heated floor in the en-suite main was a welcome plus as it freezing this particular weekend. Definitely worth another stay

September 2018. What a wonderful and quirky place you have created! The gardens are just lovely and I really enjoyed reading the history of how this pavilion came to fruition. Thank you. G and L.

September 2018. Such a beautiful and romantic spot. Such attention to detail, with all the delights we could ask for! Thank you! B and T, and F.

September 2018. This is our dream house. We loved it we’re going to come back aigen soon. (young visitors.)

September 2018. This has been a wonderfully relaxing and therapeutic holiday in such a picturesque accommodation. Thank you for the opportunity to experience pure bliss!

September 2018. There have been many wondrous words to describe your unique getaway, but one that has not been used is … fan-dabby dozy!

September 2018. A lovely place to spend a ‘long weekend’ for us on our 30th wedding anniversary. This ‘pavilion’ has all that you need for a relax and just sitting around looking out the windows to the interesting garden.

August 2018. Montacute Pavillion and Gardens is an amazingly beautiful and special place where you are treated by beautiful design and little extra touches of luxury that include a local produce hamper. Perfect for a romantic getaway. We loved our stay here and hope to return soon.

August 2018. I am in the process of finishing ‘The Architecture of Happiness’ and I think this wonderful Pavilion and gardens perfectly articulates the point. My husband and I, celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary, have absolutely enjoyed the house and the garden views. We’re contemplating a return trip in autumn and spring to see those incredible trees in different seasons.

July 2018, An absolute delight to stay at this wonderful place for our babymoon. We have had a fabulous time watching the garden on a drizzly weekend and great chats with our loved ones. Thank you for sharing this experience with well facilitated furnishings and facilities available.

July 2018. My wife and I love the house. Everything is clean and well furnished. We especially love the attention to detail in the design of the house and the gardens. The heating facilities and fireplace was a hit with my wife especially the daybed by the bay window overlooking the garden. I like the abundance of power points, USB charging points and the remote powered shades. We love the large windows and views and had a lovely view of the lunar eclipse on Saturday. We hope to return another time during spring or autumn, when we could spend more time in the garden. The provision of milk, coffee, muesli, wine and snacks is a lovely touch.

July 2018. Thank you for having created such a beautiful home. From the moment we drove up the street Montacute stood as a magnificent unique structure amongst suburban homes. However, inside it is more than a structure, it is a home. All modern conveniences included and the quality of all the essentials is top class. The bedding, towels, toiletries and other items are of the quality of a 5 star hotel. We were here for my husband’s 50th birthday weekend and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The gardens are spectacular. It is obvious there has been a lot of thought and love put into this home. Thank you for sharing it. I want to come back in Spring and Summer to experience the gardens!

July 2018. It is truly an Oasis. This is day 1 of 3 and by far the best property I have stayed in. And we have travelled in Europe and a lot in Australia. Will come back in Summer, look forward to it.

July 2018. Thank you for providing such a peaceful, comfortable and warm place for us to rest and enjoy. We have really enjoyed our stat here. Hope to stay here again another time.

July 2018. Very sad to be leaving this tranquil, gorgeous home. So comfortable, so relaxing. The most luxurious bedroom – and bathroom – we’ve ever seen. Kept warm in these wintry evenings by your beautiful fires. Perfect coffee. Could go on. Thanks so much, we’ll definitely be back.

July 2018. Beautiful, love the garden. Look forward to coming again to see it in Spring/Summer. We have enjoyed our mother-daughter time. Great place to sit by the fire, talk and have time to catch up. P.S. Loved the coffee machine!

July 2018. Absolutely beautiful property and lovely gardens. we also got a cute welcome hamper that had some local wine and snacks. mum and I will definitely be coming back. Highly recommend this property.

July 2018   Whimsical, quirky and a refined attention to detail. What’s not to love?

May 2018. Absolutely divine! What a beautiful place. Totally relaxing and clearly put together with love. The stunning garden made us feel we were in Arcadia.

April 2018. Great stay in Daylesford, lots of walking, eating and shopping. Montacute was very relaxing. Lovely garden, very comfy bed, we enjoyed sitting in the garden. Perfect stay.

April 2018. What a wonderful place to celebrate my 50th birthday. The Montacute Pavilion was magical. Gorgeous gardens, beautiful house with every need met. Thank you so much for the perfect accommodation, for the perfect holiday.

April 2018. Perfect. Wonderful 3 days to celebrate a 40th anniversary and engagement. Loved the property, stunning gardens & perfect retreat!

April 2018. Thank you so much. When we drove in I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The garden is so stunning. *Magical* in fact. The house is as beautiful as the Cotswolds of England, just when I thought it couldn’t get any better it did. I really don’t want to go home. I was the lucky one. I ended up with the Royal Suite, my friend had a lovely time also. Next time she can have the Royal Suite if she’s lucky. Thank you for sharing your chestnuts, I had such fun foraging. Will look forward to returning to Montacute Pavilion. Now I want to go to Somerset, England. 3 beautiful days.

March 2018. Thoroughly enjoyed this unique little property. The immaculate gardens and arabesque flavor made for an incredibly memorable experience.

March 2018. Thank you for a beautiful stay. It has been a most relaxing stay for us, making this Chillout the best one yet!

March 2018. It’s a wonderland!

March 2018. What a beautiful place to stay in such a lovely area! We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend ‘get away’ to Daylesford and we will be back! This property is certainly a memorable one, and staying in it had added to the lovely memory we have of the area!

November 2017. What an absolute pleasure to stay in such a unique, confortable, lush secret hideaway! The property is gorgeous from the views over the stunning gardens, the mix of old and new, the gorgeous treasures and the little touches like the hamper and the Molton Brown toiletries. Perfect! We feel revived, relaxed, and wish we could stay longer. Wonderful job in creating such a special property, hope to be back someday!.

November 2017. Thank you for sharing your beautiful property with us. A generous touch in the provision of Graeme’s Blend and lovely toiletries didn’t go unnoticed. We appreciate the owners vision and historical relevance in building a unique residence in Daylesford. The house has a warmth and wonderful connection to its gardens.

November 2017. This amazing residence reflects a vision and passion for historical relevance and clever design. Wombat Hill welcomes you when you leave the property and Cliffy’s +Wine & The Country make a daily walk into an exciting adventure. Manteau Noir will surprise you with a touch of France. The Mill Markets & Weekend Farmer’s Markets complete the experience. Molly said ‘.., do yourself a favour….’

September 2017. We just got back from a beautiful child-free parental-retreaty weekend at Montacute in Daylesford. It was truly divine. Loved the luxurious accommodation & garden (and the bathroom)! I had seen photos but it’s even better in the flesh.

Panel 3

Wedding Stays and Honeymoons

Montacute Pavilion and Gardens is perfect for your wedding stay or honeymoon. If you are having a wedding at one of the Daylesford wedding venues this is the perfect place for the wedding couple to stay. If you contact us we can help organise transport to the wedding venue. You can have the wedding photos taken at Montacute, but please arrange this in advance direct with Montacute Pavilion. By arrangement, you can also use other parts of the Villa Castagna garden. For further information contact montacute@iinet.net.au or David on 0430 455 900

Guest have written that:

‘We booked this accommodation for our mini honeymoon for the night of our wedding. Our only regret is we didn’t stay here before the wedding so we could take full advantage of the garden for photos. This accommodation will take you into another world as soon as you drive (or walk) into the private gardens which surround the house. There was so much attention to detail in the garden you know its being loved and cared for every day. … The attention to detail is carried on throughout the house

‘Hands down one of the most unique and opulent places we have ever stayed! It was a joy discovering the house and garden. I could live in the master bedroom!. Beautifully appointed and fantastic amenities; we had a wonderful time — the high point of our honeymoon.’

Wow! This house is gorgeous, we loved the gardens, birds, all the modcons. Our children loved playing hide and seek and treasure hunts in the garden. We’ve travelled and stayed in many holiday homes, but Montacute has to be No. 1!! We’ll definitely be back to stay here again. Just perfect! Married @ the Convent – May 2019.

Absolutely stunning property and grounds!! My partner proposed in the garden on our second night here! Couldn’t have asked for a better place!

For special arrangements contact montacute@iinet.net.au or David on 0430 455 900