The luxury of choice: The Louise Barossa Valley
A vista of gently rolling hills, 5000 acres of shiraz vines and a wide, open sky - there isn’t a more picturesque location than this. It was, in fact, this very view which, for US natives Jim & Helen Carreker, ended a world-wide search and bore the creation of an icon - The Louise Barossa Valley.
In the 12 years since the Carrekers took the classic country motel, Hermitage of Barossa, and moulded it into the sleek Relais et Chateaux affiliate it is today, the landscape of Barossa Valley tourism too has grown. Jim Carreker, ex Silicon Valley CEO, likening this evolution to that of the Napa Valley with Thomas Keller and The French Laundry at the helm. One luxury location inviting others to join them, creating a vibrant, enticing culinary tourism destination. Jim points to neighbours Hentley Farm, FermentAsian and St Hugo (now home to the Louise’s original Executive Chef, Mark McNamara) as examples.
The vast travel experience and research of Jim and Helen has paid dividends in creating The Louise. They know what it takes to be impressed. You get the sense that nothing is overlooked here, from the moment Reception staff appear to greet you in the sculptural courtyard, to the state-of-the-art facilities (including a helipad) and emphasis on privacy in the 15 guest suites. Here you can choose to partake in one of the exclusive tours offered by the region’s wineries or simply enjoy the view from your private terrace. This is understated luxury at its best. Luxury which has seen the Louise awarded multiple times, most recently winning the Great Wine Capitals of the World Best of Wine Tourism Awards in Accommodation for the 2nd consecutive year.
Since the beginning The Louise has focused on creating an exceptional culinary experience for their guests. With Appellation they have earned their reputation for excellence in regional dining. Executive Chef Ryan Edwards transforms produce from the kitchen garden, local farmers’ markets and producers into a refined menu. Add Sommelier Cassaly Fitzgerald’s fine wine selections and you have something truly world-class. The food and wine pairing is taken very seriously here, Jim laughingly comments “it’s not unusual to find Ryan, Cassaly, numerous variations of a dish and 12 bottles of wine on the pass as they search for the perfect match.”This process can take days, as sauces, accompaniments & seasonings are adjusted, all to ensure the two regional heroes are in perfect harmony.
Aligning with their dedication to providing their guests the luxury of choice (even Appellation’s 4 course ‘degustation’ menu allows guests 4-5 options per course) is the recent addition of ‘Bar Louise’. In quick order it has become the perfect spot for guests weary from days of non-stop touring and locals alike. The Club Sandwich, a ‘chubby’ delight of brioche, charred chicken and local bacon took out top honours in the Gourmet Traveller 2017 Australian Hotel Awards.
Ryan Edwards summarises his philosophy in the kitchen as “(service) with a sense of generosity and simplicity. I believe if you are true to your philosophy your cuisine will always be unique.”This same philosophy can be seen throughout The Louise’s entire operation. The ultimate culinary getaway, in Jim Carreker’s words, “here you can absorb the mood, the tone of the sky and the land in this beautiful area.” The perfect calm luxury from which to explore the Barossa Valley. What more could you possibly want?
The Louise is located in the Barossa Valley on the corner of Seppeltsfield and Stonewell Roads, Marananga, South Australia.
The Louise is the 2017 and 2018 regional winner of the Best of Wine Tourism Award in the Accommodation category.