The Lane Retreat, Hunter Valley cabin review

The Lane Retreat offers Hunter Valley’s newest luxury accommodation, nestled between the vines and the Broken Back Mountain Range. It is set on 15 hectares of one of Bimbadgen’s award-winning wineries, with 60 eco-conscious charcoal cabins that compel you to slow down and relax on your private deck. 

Traveller: Tina-Louise Jackson
Room: Studio Retreat 
Address: 409 Palmers Lane, Pokolbin, NSW 2320
Date: March 2024
Price range: From $260 per night
Best for: Winery-hopping with friends, a romantic break or for a wedding 

Location

In the heart of the Hunter Valley, The Lane Retreat is a world away from the hustle and bustle and bright lights of the city, yet it is an easy two-and-a-half drive from Sydney and 15 minutes from Cessnock on the doorstep of some of the Hunter Valley’s finest wineries.  

The showstopper

The peace and tranquillity of the location and the stunning views be it the 50-year-old Palmers Lane vines or to the Broken Back Mountain range. ‘Bimbadgen’ in the local indigenous language, means ‘Place of Good View’ and I can see why. It’s even more stunning at sunrise or sunset. 

Facade of winery in Hunter Valley
Bimbadgen means Place of Good View © The Lane Retreat

The room

The Studio Retreats are arranged in clusters of three or four, each with a private deck overlooking either the Broken Back Mountain range or the vineyards. Check-in is seamless. You’ll be texted an entry code before your arrival, meaning you’ll never need to worry about whether you have the key or key card when leaving your room (as long as you remember the code, of course).  

The interior colour palette is muted greens and terracotta, perfectly reflecting the landscape beyond. A well-equipped kitchenette offers a fridge, microwave, kettle, and coffee machine. The AH Beard bed takes centre stage and is supremely comfortable, positioned to take in the views from the floor-to-ceiling glass doors in front. There’s a sofa and table for two, which we cheekily relocate to the deck for breakfast alfresco each morning of our stay. The bathroom boasts double vanities and a double shower, not just in size but offering two rain shower heads. 

Bedroom at winery in the Hunter Valley
The colour palette perfectly reflects the landscape © The Lane Retreat

Green thumbs up

In tune with its natural surroundings, each retreat harnesses the sun’s power via solar panels on the roof and runs on tank water. The supplied metal water bottles can be refilled with cold filtered water at the swimming pool.

The family factor

The retreats are designed for two and are more suited to a stay for couples or friends, although families are welcome. With the retreats mostly in clusters of three or four, it’s also perfect for a multigenerational get-together.

Beyond the rooms

Stroll around the 15-hectare property, finishing at The Pantry for a coffee, browse the homewares and local cheeses and meats – perfect for throwing together a charcuterie board to pair with your wine. Stock up your mini-bar with local wines or Bimbadgen’s Night Merchant cocktails (made with their gin and vodka served in handy cans). Head to the heated swimming pool for a few laps or to soak up the Hunter Valley sun, then grab some ice for your Night Merchant cocktails from the ice machine and head back to your deck for some R&R.

Swimming pool surrounded by vineyards
Head to the swimming pool to soak up the Hunter Valley sun © The Lane Retreat

I wish I could take home

The double shower. No more arguments about hogging the bathroom or who gets the first shower. Genius!

Dish to dine for

Bimbadgen offers two dining options in one stunning location. Dine alfresco beneath a canopy of vines in the Tuscan courtyard at Bimbadgen Wood Fire Pizza. Sip a glass of wine (served at cellar door prices, which is refreshing to note) and tuck into delicious pizza while tapping your feet to the live music. The pork and fennel pizza is my top pick.

Perched above, with dining options overlooking the Tuscan courtyard and the vineyards beyond, Esca Bimbadgen offers fine dining showcasing Bimbadgen’s fine wines and a menu created by Head Chef Keira Madeley. Select from the a la carte menu, or opt for the Signature Experience, which is five courses expertly paired with Bimbadgen’s best wines. Food is bursting with fresh flavour. We dine on Ox Heart tomato with smoked mozzarella, Kingfish Crudo, an NZ Hakupa with mussel emulsion, and Quail Ballotine. Then finished with the exquisite deconstructed Baklava, served with honeyed yoghurt.

Dining table with food and wine
Bimbadgen offers fine dining showcasing its fine wines © The Lane Retreat

Amenity game

Aptly named Hunter Lab amenities reside in your bathroom, bursting with citrus scents with a dash of rum. The fridge doubles as a mini bar, stocked with Bimbadgen’s wines and Night Merchant cocktails.

Before booking

Bimbadgen does host several events during the year, so book ahead if you’re after accommodation for these, particularly if your chosen dates coincide with A Day on the Green.

Insiders’ tips

For your corner of the vines, ask for Cabin 56, set apart from the rest, making it the perfect honeymoon cabin. Whilst Bimbadgen and Emma’s Cottage are only a short drive away, The Lane Retreat provides a door-to-door shuttle service, ideal if you plan to linger a little longer at the wineries or enjoy dinner at Esca or Wood Fire Pizza.

Spa life

There’s no spa on site. However, in-room treatments can be arranged.

Man having massage in winery
Indulge with an in-room massage © The Lane Retreat

Staying in

Whilst there is no restaurant, gourmet breakfast supplies will be available in your room each day. During our stay, we breakfasted on crunchy granola, organic blueberry yoghurt, cold-pressed juice, and delicious Bob & Pete’s banana bread. After breakfast, take a stroll or swim and relax on your private deck overlooking the vines with a book and perhaps later with a glass of wine.   

Stepping out

It would be rude not to explore Australia’s oldest wine region. Bimbadgen is a five-minute drive (or take the complimentary shuttle). Tastings take place in the contemporary Cellar Door with Manager Jordan expertly guides us through Bimbadgen’s finest wines. Our Signature Experience tasting finishes with Bimbadgen’s newest creation, Night Merchant Spirits, silky smooth vodka perfect for sipping neat over ice, and gin infused with 12 botanicals. 

Couple with bikes by vineyards
Explore Australia’s oldest wine region © The Lane Retreat

Drive out to Emma’s Cottage, a boutique vineyard and home to Bimbadgen’s alter ego, Alter Wines. Our tasting is paired with a gourmet grazing platter featuring locally sourced charcuterie and cheeses from The Smelly Cheese Company and Binnorie Dairy.

If only

I could wake up to that view every morning.

V&T expert rating

A relaxing weekend break from Sydney and plenty of local wines? What’s not to love! It has to be a 10/10.

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