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Hotel Highlights

  • Located just 30 minutes from central Melbourne, so makes a perfect weekend escape
  • Beautiful grounds, home to sculptures and the Victoria State Rose Garden
  • Soak in the blissful day spa, then sup at Joseph's Restaurant & Bar
  • Shadowfax cellar door, Werribee Open Range Zoo and the Equestrian Centre within easy reach


You’d never guess that the hedonistic Mansion Hotel & Spa outside Melbourne was once a Jesuit seminary. After losing its chastity belt, this 1870s Italianate Manor bedecked itself with modern details, a romantic restaurant, sexy cocktail bar and indulgent spa, attracting pleasure-seeking city dwellers on weekend getaways.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Mansion Hotel & Spa with us:

A spa welcome gift from the luxurious Waterlily range

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Mansion Hotel & Spa

Bed and breakfast 'Zoo package' Wine and dine 'Indulgence package' 'Romance package' 'Spring overindulgence'


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Need To Know


91, including eight suites.


11am, but flexible subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.


Double rooms from $154.37 (AU$190), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Selected rates include à la carte breakfast, access to Werribee Park and wine tasting at Shadowfax Winery.


To get set for a steamy weekend, hightail it to the Spa, where you'll find a Turkish-style hammam, eight treatment rooms with Vichy showers, a 17-metre heated pool and sigh-inducing massages.

At the hotel

Spa, steam rooms, gym, tennis court, gardens, library, snooker room, free WiFi in common areas. In rooms: flatscreen TV, minibar, movies on demand and broadband internet.

Our favourite rooms

Don't settle for anything less than a Superior Room. Located in the modern Spa Wing, these rooms have king-size beds, sitting areas, bathrooms with a shower and bath tub, neutral colour schemes and a lush, leafy outlook. If you splash out on a Junior Suite, you'll also get a spa bath and balcony.


Flanked by slate-grey day-beds, the heated indoor pool is filled with light from floor-to-ceiling windows, and illuminated by striking downlights at night.

Packing tips

Casual linens for strolling the gardens by day; city-smart attire for after-dark assignations. Feeling sporty? Bring tennis whites for on-court action, jodphurs for equine activities, and golf clubs for green pursuits.


Smoking isn't permitted in the hotel, and neither are pets – we wouldn't want Fido digging up the rose bushes.


It's not only big Smiths who'll be smitten with a weekend in Werribee – juniors of all ages are happily accommodated.

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Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

Joseph's Restaurant & Bar is a dark, handsome space of plush charcoal carpets and padded walls, gracefully arching windows and floaty burgundy curtains. At breakfast, choose from the buffet or an à la carte menu. Later in the day, expect modern Australian fare from chef Marcus Levy, who plucks fresh produce straight from the kitchen garden.

Hotel Bar

Joseph's Bar is an intimate spot for pre- or post-prandial sipping. At the gleaming stainless-steel bar, order a boutique brew or a glass of wine from the sexy back-lit selection, then linger over posh bar snacks, such as crunchy school prawns with aioli, and a wicked 'adults-only' macaroni cheese.

Last orders

Breakfast, 10.30am (10am weekdays); lunch, 2.30pm; dinner, 9.00pm.

Room service

Available 24 hours a day. A breakfast menu is served from 6.30am–11am. From 10.30am–11pm, order from the restaurant's main menu. Beyond that time, there's a more limited line-up of dishes.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Country-chic by night, polo-casual by day. A word to the wise: leave your Jimmy Choos at home – those pebbled walkways are hell on high heels.

Top table

In the evening, ask for an intimate table for two by the windows, which overlook Australia's largest parterre garden.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

You don't have to venture far to get your culture fix. Stroll the Sculpture Walk to view past winners of the Helen Lempriere Awards, or check out the hotel's striking collection of contemporary, indigenous and Zimbabwean artworks, or take time to smell more than 5,000 blooms at the Victoria State Rose Garden (K Road, Werribee). If sport is more your schtick, tee off at Werribee Park Golf Club (350 K Road; +61 (0)3 9742 1397), giddy up at Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre (170 K Road; +61 (0)3 9741 7672) or have a flutter at Werribee Racing Club (Bulban Road; +61 (0)3 9741 1800). Budding David Attenboroughs will delight in the Werribee Open Range Zoo (K Road; +61 (0)3 9731 9600), which is home to lions, zebras and hippos – oh my! The guided safari tours in open-top buses are a great way to get up close and personal with the wildlife.

Local restaurants

The Mansion Hotel & Spa's own eatery, Joseph's Restaurant & Bar, is the hottest table in town, so we wouldn't blame you for staying put. Should you feel like straying further than the ground-floor dining room, Shadowfax Winery (+61 (0)3 9731 4420) offers wine tastings in its cellar door, and tasty wood-fired pizzas and antipasti in the restaurant.

Local cafés

In Werribee, Moka Patisserie and Café (Shop 1/169, Watton Street; +61 (0)3 9741 8923) serves up breakfast muffins and eggs Benedict, lunchtime sandwiches and wraps, and a pretty selection of cakes and pastries, including scones baked to order. A short trot from the Equestrian Centre, Wyndham Cache Café (1 K Road, Werribee; +61 (0)3 9742 1526) is a local favourite for its wicked milkshakes and juicy wagyu burger with the works.

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Graceful Werribee Park grounds

Mansion Hotel & Spa

Werribee Park, K Road , Werribee South, Melbourne, Victoria Victoria, 3030, Australia


There are regular international flights to Melbourne Airport (, at Tullamarine, with domestic connection from all major Australian cities with Qantas (, Virgin Blue ( and Jetstar ( From there, it's a 40-minute drive to Werribee. Some domestic flights also land at a smaller airport at Avalon (, which is a 30-minute drive from Werribee. Both airports have car-hire desks.


V-line trains ( regularly depart Spencer Street Station in Melbourne for Werribee. The train station is five kilometres from the hotel.


If you're driving from Melbourne, head south-west along the West Gate Freeway and Princes Freeway for around 30 kilometres. Take the C108 exit towards Werribee, turn right at Duncans Road, take the first left at K Road, then turn right into South Drive. From Geelong, head north-east on the Princes Highway, then take the C109 exit for Werribee. Turn right at Werribee Street, then right at Duncans Road, right into K Road and right into South Drive. Avalon Airport is halfway between Geelong and Werribee. There's free parking at the hotel.


Want to make a grand entrance? The hotel can arrange helicopter transfers from Melbourne.


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Anonymous review

by Emma Sloley , New York City scribe

Mr Smith and I already reside in an urban jungle – New York – so it might seem counter-intuitive that we choose to spend our leisure time surrounded by wild animals. Yet here we are, pulling up in the imposing circular driveway of the Mansion Hotel & Spa at Werribee Park, a half-hour drive west of Melbourne, squealing with childlike enthusiasm over our first wildlife sighting, two …
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Mansion Hotel & Spa

Anonymous review by Emma Sloley, New York City scribe

Mr Smith and I already reside in an urban jungle – New York – so it might seem counter-intuitive that we choose to spend our leisure time surrounded by wild animals. Yet here we are, pulling up in the imposing circular driveway of the Mansion Hotel & Spa at Werribee Park, a half-hour drive west of Melbourne, squealing with childlike enthusiasm over our first wildlife sighting, two huge Cape Baron Geese self-importantly strutting and pecking on the immaculate lawn.

We’re here because this stately grand dame combines several of the items on our vacation A-list: animals, art and amore. An Italianate manse built in the 1870s and recently restored to its former glory, the Mansion is set on 10 bucolic acres between the Werribee Open Range Zoo and the well-regarded Shadowfax winery.

The mansion’s lobby makes a liaison-worthy first impression, thanks to soaring ceilings, quiet lounge-y corners and a flattering rosy light that promises delightful things to come. We don’t linger though: there’s plenty to pack into our short stay, so we head, as instructed, towards a flash of hot pink at the far end of the hallway. (Every direction in the hotel is charted from the pink painting, as though it’s a portal to other, fabulous worlds.) We turn right at the painting and admire the patina on the handrail as we ascend the opulent wooden staircase. Mr. Smith draws my attention to a series of bumpy little brass fixtures along the burnished rail: we reckon they’re to deter guests from sliding down the staircase in a fit of giddy joy.

Unlike many hotels that attempt to dispel the gloomy, in-between-worlds nature of its corridors with cheery colours and bright lighting, this one plays up the Gothic mood. The carpet is a deep shade of eggplant, while the archways and doors are painted gloss black. The effect is fabulously sinister, like being in a camp Agatha Christie movie. Our Junior Suite, on the other hand, is a soothing, minimalist study in autumnal shades of grey, beige and moss-green (a black bedroom might have been a Gothic bridge too far). The floor-to-ceiling windows frame a gigantic eucalyptus tree, whose marbled trunk morphs with the light from silver to dusky-pink and back again. Wedged in two of its mighty branches is what looks like a monumentally oversized ball of metal-wrapped twine, or the nest of a particularly ambitious bird. Art, it would appear, is everywhere. As if to celebrate this fact, a currawong – the large Australian bird species renowned for its beautiful warbling voice – sings us a little aria from its perch outside.

Having punctuated our drive here with several vineyard detours – this part of Victoria’s coastline is a burgeoning wine region producing some impressive pinot noir– we’re ready to slip into something more comfortable. After a bubble-filled soak in the pleasingly deep tub, we glam up and head down to the Library for apéritifs. Ah, for a library in every hotel. This one has everything you’d hope for: deep leather chairs, interesting art and a sultry ambience enhanced by a fireplace casting flecks of light on the dark walls. (It also has books, surprisingly enough.)

We relax into the loving arms of a Chesterfield, nurse our cocktails and watch the flames crackle prettily. I can’t help but feel that Mr Smith should really be wearing a velvet smoking jacket and cradling a snifter of brandy. Instead, he’s in a pin-striped blazer, black jeans and Converse trainers, sipping a Campari and soda. (Somehow he makes it work, so I forgive him for not being Noël Coward.)

Heading into the restaurant, Joseph’s, we’re ushered to a romantic little corner, seated in comfy chairs the colour of plums and left to ponder the menu. This adventurous document trips its way through Italy (osso buco made with venison) and South-east Asia (a high-concept dish composed of spiced soft-shell crab, tempura eggplant and something called Sichuan ‘sand’), with side-steps into molecular gastronomy along the way. We opt for the crab, along with a celeriac vichyssoise, which arrives as a silky-soft pool of deliciousness topped with a dainty poached quail egg. We follow with a fricasee of wild mushrooms and saddle of rabbit served with silverbeet from the garden. Dreamy.

Determined to burn off the Joseph-induced calories the next day, we pay a visit to the neighbouring open-range zoo. It’s one of the best we’ve experienced: spacious, thoughtful enclosures built to mimic African savannahs, complete with baobab trees, rolling hills and waterholes. The walkways are styled like an African village, with mudbrick and thatched roof buildings, charming hand-painted tin signs depicting arte naïf animals, and the occasional kid-friendly prop, such as sun-bleached skeletons half-concealed in tall grasses. Chickens run wild, picking and scratching happily in the foliage. We admire the perpetually-pacing cheetahs, coo at the adorable meerkats and get a jolt at the lion house, which is ingeniously designed with soaring glass windows so visitors feel like they’re right in the enclosure. From literally inches away we watch a majestically maned lion stalk a hapless bird before yawning mightily and resuming his nap.

Our animal fix sated, we explore the sprawling Victorian grounds of the Mansion, the highlight of which is a Harry Potter-esque grotto in a lake, encrusted on the inside with seashells, oak cones, fragments of mirrored glass and oddities including sheep knuckles and children’s teeth. (It was built in the 1870s as a shady retreat for the ladies of the house.) Speaking of dilettantes, it’s time for our treatments at the nine-room spa, located just off the greenhouse-like glassed-in swimming pool. We’ve opted for a couple’s hammam session, followed by facials: the therapists hand us two bowls, one filled with a salty scrub, the other a rich mud, and leave us to our own devices for 15 minutes. We enter the hammam, a small tiled steam-room, and perform a DIY body scrub while the fragrant steam does its work. It’s a perfect precursor to a longer treatment: languid, lush and resulting in baby-soft skin.

As a last hurrah, we decide to add a bottle to our cellar at the adjoining winery, Shadowfax (named for Gandalf’s magical horse in The Lord of the Rings… it’s all about animals in these parts). This popular label has an airy, convivial cellar door/restaurant that on our visit is elbow-to-elbow with weekend gourmands partaking of the excellent food and wines.

After much deliberation we stash a 10-year-old bottle of stellar pinot noir in the car and reluctantly take our leave. As we swing around that circular driveway for the last time, it feels like we’ve come full circle: the same pair of strutting geese is here to see us off. We wave at our feathered farewell committee and smile beatifically at one another. It’s been an idyllic couple of days, and worthy of a place on anyone’s A-list.


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