Mount Lofty House co-owner Malcolm Bean on Adelaide’s luxury appeal

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Mount Lofty House could be called Adelaide’s quite achiever. Since coming under the wing of hoteliers Malcolm Bean and David Horbelt in 2009, the hotel has been reborn as one of South Australia’s luxury gems and scooped a tonne of awards along the way, including being named Tripadvisor’s number one Luxury Hotel in Australia and the South Pacific in 2023.

The duo have not been shy in investing in the property, which at the time of purchase had probably seen better days over its now 175-year history. Today the luxury boutique hotel boasts a three-hat restaurant, the biggest wine list in the State and the new Sequoia Lodge, which offers 14 luxury suites on the estate.

Tucked away in the Adelaide Hills, the biggest misconception for many particularly interstate visitors is just how close it is to the city – just 15 minutes.

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Hoteliers Malcolm Bean (left) and David Horbelt.

Bean describes Adelaide as a “misunderstood gem” for many on the East Coast who don’t believe just how close the property is from the CBD and international airport.

“I think the word is getting out thanks to South Australia now having events like Gather Round and other attractions,” he said.

While the leisure business is booming, so too is the conference market.

“This is our best conference year by a factor of 25 per cent out of the last 15 years,” he said.

“The offering at the estate is something that you pretty much cannot get anywhere else.

“We have just tried to customise the guest experiences, with things like fire and marshmallows in the gardens which is now home to a new garden bar.

“On the estate, we do bushwalks and we’re about to start yoga mornings. It is about providing a great conference retreat, not a conference facility.”

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Sequoia Lodge sits on the estate.

The history of the building is also a foundational element and one which is celebrated.

“Every afternoon in the Manor House we host a history tour run by the luxury concierge and guest services manager. Everybody gathers in the library for complementary sparkling wine before a tour throughout the whole building and down through the cellar,” said Bean.

“Guests feel really engaged with the history, the story and the experience they’re having.”

The building’s history has also resulted in having plenty of “nooks and crannies” for conference groups to explore.

“It’s the conversations that happen around the bar at night or the groups getting together in another corner of the of manner to work through a project or whatever they’re working on,” said Bean. “That’s where the magic occurs.”