Roll through the gates of this exquisite estate and you’ll know you have arrived somewhere special. For us, it takes but a few steps across the white-pebbled car park to be greeted by a grand door sweeping open just for us, matched with a welcoming smile.
One could be forgiven for feeling you’d slipped into Europe just 15 minutes from Hobart, but there are plenty of cues to remind you that you’re still nestled in Tasmania. The grounds of Villa Howden tumble into the shores of sparkling North West Bay and grand windows frame the classic Tasmanian backdrop. It’s secluded. And it’s terribly romantic.
Cushioned in luxury, this is the type of experience that simply makes you feel special. The type that reminds you to treat yourself or spoil another, and celebrate life’s little pleasures. On this Sunday afternoon, it’s all about the joy of High Tea.
“We have your complimentary Tasmanian Pirie sparkling on its way,” explains the cheerful waitress as she lays our linen napkins across our laps, causing us to exchange spoilt grins.
No sooner had she disappeared from the glorious light-filled dining room, she was back with two flutes of crisp bubbles and wait for it, a three-tiered delivery of seasonal High Tea delights.
It was difficult to know where to start; the traditional fluffy scones with rich Tasmanian cream and Kate’s Berry Farm jam taking the lofty heights of level one? The warm savoury treats on the lower level accompanied with ribbon sandwiches? Or the mid-plate, where my eyes grew large at the sweet, sweet treasures.
As it turns out, it doesn’t matter where you start, any way you go will lead you to three empty tiers. But it’s not just what’s on the plate that lures people down here. There’s so much more to absorb.
There’s a certain pleasure that comes with escaping the masses; High Tea promises a personal touch. There’s a grace in its tradition. There’s a warmth in feeling as if you’ve been invited into a private country home. And there’s an elegance in the soft tunes of the baby grand, punctuated by the hum of polite chatter.
And really, at $35 per head, you don’t have to be Queen Elizabeth to enjoy a fancy High Tea party! Plus, it doesn’t even have to be fancy, bring a picnic rug and enjoy yours by the water. Villa Howden are generous in their servings, and you’re sure to feel slightly over-indulged by the time your plates are bare. At this point, it’s the perfect time to wander out to the landscaped gardens or even strike up a game of lawn croquet.
It’s not easy rolling back out those distinguished gates that signal immersion and a retreat from the bustle of life. But not all is lost. You’re not thrown straight into the cityscape, but instead have the chance to discover more rural and very real Tasmanian experiences….the Huon Valley or the enchanting Channel are just around the bend.
*Of course you too can enjoy a free $12 glass of Tassie Pirie when you book through December and mention Tailored Tasmania.
Your launch pad for exploring Tasmania like a local.