I’ll start today’s feature with full disclosure: the wonderful woman behind Trentham accommodation Acre of Roses is a client of mine in my marketing membership community The Modern Marketing Collective – and through that a friend. But more than that, Sandy McKinley is a creative genius.
Sandy and her partner Rob have meticulously transformed their 1860’s miner’s cottage into a luxurious wellness accommodation in Trentham, bee-friendly rose farm, and event venue known under the umbrella name of Acre of Roses. This is exactly the type of place I feature here on getinmyhome, as Acre of Roses has been created with creative abundance, design integrity and collaboration at its core. So let’s begin!
Like many journeys, Sandy’s has been a windy one, scattered with clues along the way as to where she has ended up. In her “other life”, Sandy worked in marketing. But she always dreamed of having a country cottage offering accommodation.
After moving from New Zealand to Melbourne for work, her friends took her to Trentham, 95 kilometres north-west of Melbourne, for a day trip. Sandy remembers being captivated by the town:
I felt at home.
It was on this fated trip that Sandy also found her new home: a cottage on a sprawling acreage that she had long imagined.
Despite operating as an accommodation previously, the property needed some love. But this didn’t faze Sandy, who started on small renovations. Then, as fate would have it, Sandy met local Master Builder, Rob Roy. Their friendship soon turned into something more, and the two are marrying this December on the property they have since lovingly and relentlessly transformed into the epitome of luxurious guest experiences
Doors opened to Acre of Roses‘ first guests just weeks ago, with more bookings than the two had even imagined. But it’s not hard for guests to fall in love with this special place, which Sandy and Rob designed to allow them to “relax and rejuvenate from the busyness and stresses of city life”.
We wanted to provide somewhere comfortable and beautiful for them to create memories, reconnect with their senses and themselves, detox physically and mentally, and stop to (literally) smell the roses.
Let’s talk about the incredible interiors! Sandy worked with local interior designer Belle Hemming-Bright to create what she calls the “Hamptons-meets-country” interiors.
The colour tones and furnishings are stylish yet calming, with colours been chosen to induce relaxation, while the curtains and furnishings were made by Belle’s partner Andy Hemming of The Upholstery House.
I love the heirlooms, vintage pieces and art, all gathered by Sandy over the years, which add so much character to the place.
The three bedrooms are named after their unique interiors: The Chinoiserie Room for its delicate furnishings and Asian influences; The Fornasetti Room for its feature wall mural by Italian painter Piero Fornasetti and The Verdure Room for its outdoor vista of green lushness and the serene and joyful expression of UK artist Jessica Zoob’s fabrics.
If you haven’t already picked up, Acre of Roses is a real collaboration of local experts. Along with Belle and Andy, is the property’s gardener, horticulturist Tim Pilgrim – who is behind Paul Bangay and The Estate Trentham’s gardens, and stonemason Tom Hamlon, who built a folly for the property from local salvaged bricks after Sandy’s fascination for ruins.
But Acre of Roses isn’t just a visual feast, the other senses are very well catered for.
There’s the region’s only cedar hot tub, filled with filled with natural rainwater; an on-demand masseuse, theatre room, a Smoothie Bar (with seasonal recipes prepared by the in-house nutritionist), a Coffee Bar (essential for me when I’m away from home!), and the potager gardens that guests can take their pick from (literally!).
Sound has a physiological effect and is key to Acre of Roses’ offering. Guests can explore the customised Spotify playlists but even better, enjoy the therapeutic Wombat State Forest next door, with the option to go “forest bathing” (which is right up the top of my list!).
Then of course there are the scents: as a working micro-flower farm, it is heady with the smell of more than 1700 sustainably grown heritage rose bushes, combined with Trentham’s clear sub alpine air and Acre of Roses’ in-house organic aromatherapy oils.
With all of this on offer, it’s no surprise that guests have already described their experience at Acre of Roses as:
Remarkable, food for the soul and magical.