Acre of Roses | Meet The Makers
2 Bedroom Cottage | 1 Bedroom Potting Shed
Potting Shed from $180 and The Cottage from $325 per night
Acre of Roses is a luxury wellness retreat. Owners Sandy McKinley and Rob Roy have restored an historic miner’s cottage and a charming potting shed into two beautiful spaces. But that’s just the start – every detail has been thought through to promote wellness, mindfulness and most importantly, the art of slowing down. From the rainwater fed cedar hot tub, to the carefully selected linens and aromatherapy steam shower, there has been a laser focus upon the creation of a fully immersive wellness experience.
On top of this, Sandy, a self-trained florist, has been busy promoting and developing a network of sustainable and ethical micro-flower farms, collaborating to create health products and providing coaching to other businesses. Where does she find the time?
The Origins Guide spoke to Sandy about her passion and inspiration, what keeps guests coming back and what she’s currently working on.
Where does the inspiration and passion behind Acre of Roses come from?
Growing up in New Zealand I would often fly to the South Island to visit my Grandmother in Christchurch. Her love of flowers always inspired me and my appreciation grew from there. My father being an architect instilled a real passion for design in me – combined with his gift of the gab, hosting and hospitality were things I was drawn to.
I wanted to create a space where guests felt comfortable, could unwind in a beautiful setting and share a yarn or two.
Your dad must be quite proud of the result!
I think so. Though he’s no longer with us he had the opportunity to visit the home and see it evolve from when we purchased the humble cottage and garden in 2007. In a way I feel that Dad’s tied to the place – there’s a real soul to this land.
How did you initially develop and curate the offering?
Prior to setting up Acre of Roses, we flew to Europe to attend a luxury hotel management course in Wales. After that we travelled around Ireland and Scotland – visiting hotels, such as The Rosewood, to learn and incorporate things we came across.
It feels like a bit of a full circle journey now as recently I’ve connected and exchanged learnings with some larger hospitality companies and hotel groups on how they are shaping guest experience and approaches to wellness.
What does ‘luxury wellness’ encompass at Acres of Roses?
It really is full spectrum, but the details are important. We have a cedar hot tub, an aromatherapy shower and bath salts to promote relaxation. Before bed, blue light blockers can be used to enhance sleep, and we’ve even gone as far as working with HEPA specialists to purify the air to enhance the guest experience.
We’ve also worked with local experts to develop the art of forest bathing or Shinrin-yoku. This a Japanese form of using nature to promote healing and the restoration of wellbeing.
What kinds of guests are attracted to the property?
We’ve really struck a chord with a younger generation of consumer. These days your 30 something audience is really taking heed of holistic wellness and the importance of self-care.
We’ve also become quite the popular setting for elopements – the brick folly and garden is the perfect setting for intimate nuptials. The occasional chef or two also drops in. We have a market garden where chefs love to pick a few things, then cook up a meal in a relaxed setting.
How do you describe your design aesthetic and style?
We worked in collaboration with Belle Hemming Bright to develop the design and look. There’s a subtle but distinct character to every room enhanced by vintage pieces and recycled objects.
Design wise, I wanted the style to be a fusion of our Celtic roots, my Kiwi upbringing and a coastal Cape-Cod meets country feel. Ultimately it comes together in a very nurturing, comfortable and luxurious manner.
What else are you currently working on?
Well there are a few things in the works! When we established Acre of Roses we developed an affiliation with neighbouring flower farm Crofters Fold – from this we setup Consortium Botanicus, a network of micro flower farms. Most recently we’ve been working with Daylesford Macedon Tourism to develop a slow flower farm trail. It’s a wonderful way to discover the region – and perfect when enjoying a stay at The Cottage or the Potting Shed.
Also, we’ve recently developed a range of rose water petal kefir probiotic drinks in collaboration with The Fermentary and Crofters Fold.
'Go Slow' - the mantra we all need to adopt
Upon reflecting on a wonderful conversation with Sandy I cannot help think that ‘go slow’ is a lesson for all of us. Sometimes we all need to take a bit of time to relax, reflect, dream a little and most importantly create room for the next rush of activity that propels us forward.
Take a bit of time out, smell the roses.
You’ll never know where it takes you.
Acre of Roses | Your Hosts Sandy and Rob
Acre of Roses is a luxury wellness escape on a working micro-flower farm growing heritage roses and bee-friendly flowers in the regional village of Trentham. Guests can choose to stay in either the two bedroom 1860’s Miner’s Cottage or the one bedroom, dog friendly, Potting Shed. Uniquely styled, both stays offer all the comforts one would expect of a luxury wellness escape.