By June Ramli
Nestled at the beginning of the breathtaking Great Ocean Road is Sunnymead Hotel in Aireys Inlet.
I must confess, that I ventured into this destination without much prior knowledge of the area.
My original plan was to make my way to the Twelve Apostles, but I soon realized that the journey involved a lengthy and challenging drive along the coast, far more than a single day’s adventure could cover.
So, I opted for Aireys Inlet, which, as I discovered, was a charming alternative.
Aireys Inlet, located on the southern coast, is a convenient two-hour drive from Melbourne.
I decided to take the bus from the city, embarking on a unique journey.
The route included getting to Southern Cross and changing trains using the V Line to reach Geelong Station.
At this point, a separate bus ticket was required to travel to the countryside, which cost $10 per ticket.
I chose to purchase my return ticket on-site, but cash payment was also an option on the bus.
While this may sound complex, I viewed it as an adventure, and the entire journey took approximately three hours from start to finish.
You might wonder why I didn’t drive.
Well, car rental deposits can be hefty, so I opted for the bus to simplify things.
The bus ride to Aireys Inlet was picturesque, and time seemed to fly by.
When we arrived in the area, the bus driver remembered each passenger’s stop, making the journey comfortable and enjoyable.
My stop was at some shops in the area, and upon disembarking, I inquired about the location of the Sunnymead Hotel.
The friendly bus driver pointed me in the right direction.
A short walk brought me to my destination, a bright yellow hotel that resembled the motels you often see in American movies when characters take a break during a journey.
However, Sunnymead had an added touch of class.
I later learned from the owner that the hotel had recently undergone a stunning refurbishment, with interior design by his brother, inspired by his travels to India.
Sunnymead had a unique and exotic atmosphere, blending Mediterranean, Indian, and a touch of the ’70s, creating a visually striking and welcoming establishment.
The hotel boasts 20 rooms, each with its own parking space, a charming swimming pool (though I didn’t use it due to the chilly weather), and an Indian spa.
The hotel also features an Indian restaurant run by a British chef, which operates at specific times (it’s best to check with the hotel for their opening hours).
My stay at Sunnymead Hotel was a brief one, but I had a tough time leaving due to the comfortable bedding and overall appeal.
The hotel’s interiors matched the promotional pictures, assuring guests that they get value for their money.
Currently, the pricing is quite reasonable, making it an enticing choice for travelers.
One noteworthy point is that the area does not have Uber Eats, with the service’s operating boundary ending at Geelong.
Local shops also tend to close early, around 8 p.m.
So, it’s advisable to plan for early dining or stock up on snacks from the general store if you’re the type who enjoys midnight snacks while on vacation.
The hotel’s amenities are impressive, including a coffee maker, cocktail shaker, toaster, ironing board, and a vibrant bathrobe that adds a splash of color.
All these thoughtful details contribute to the hotel’s charm.
While the hotel doesn’t currently have an official star rating due to its recent opening, it could easily fall into the five-star category if it included bathroom slippers.
The hotel also features cards for players and separate bins for proper waste sorting.
There’s even a mini-bar stocked with fresh milk for your morning needs.
But what pleasantly surprised me the most was the availability of turmeric tea in the room.
Turmeric tea in a hotel room—how often do you come across that?
I enjoyed a cup during my stay and slept like a baby that night.
The stable and secure Wi-Fi connection was another plus, especially for remote workers seeking a change of scenery from their typical home-based offices.
Although there’s no dedicated workspace, sitting on the comfortable bed was a suitable alternative for work.
Would I recommend this delightful little hotel?
I encourage you to explore this hidden gem and hope you’ll be as enchanted as I was.
In summary, Sunnymead Hotel is a pristine and new-found treasure worth discovering.
June Ramli is the editor of DailyStraits.com. To stay in touch with June, look her up on Twitter @junesairaramli