The gorgeous Daylesford in Victoria, along with its neighboring twin Hepburn Springs, is one of Australia’s most famous spa retreats. The Italian-Swiss-founded town lies an hour northwest of Melbourne in the Great Dividing Range. Its origins might go back to the Gold Rush, but now it brims with about 70-odd hot springs. With healing sanctuaries, massage centers, gorgeous lakes, and crystal-clear springs, Daylesford is nothing short of laidback utopia. What’s more, this lovely little town is also a haven for the LGBT community, and is popularly known as ‘Gaylesford’! Besides a slew of gay accommodations and hotels in Daylesford, the town is also an epicenter for some of the most epic LGBT parties. These include the Daylesford Beartopia and its Pride festival ChillOut, which is the largest rural LGBTQ+ festival in Australia!
Melbourne might be Victoria’s gay capital, but Daylesford is something else. Almost every second person is gay, and it has one of the 10 places in Australia with the highest proportion of gay couples. Despite there being no exclusively gay bars, there are a plethora of gay-owned businesses, so it feels like coming home. Moreover, the entire town has tolerance and open-mindedness sewn into its very fabric. Hence, the LGBT community absolutely adores the quaint Daylesford. Add to that the amazing relaxed, country-style experiences and dining options. Also, the presence of mineral springs and rejuvenating treatments makes this town the perfect place to kick back and relax. To that end, here are the top 11 gay accommodations and hotels in Daylesford.
The Dudley Boutique Hotel
The Dudley Boutique Hotel is one of the finest gay hotels in Daylesford. It lies right on the main street of Hepburn Springs, around 10 minutes north of Daylesford. It sits in a structure that’s one of the finest examples of timber Federation-style architecture. That, coupled with trimmed hedges and a picket gate make it one of the most picturesque facades you’d have ever seen. The country-style property lies on gorgeous manicured grounds and serves a lavish afternoon tea at weekends. During colder months, retreat to the warmth of the fireside in the lounge area and enjoy a drink. Besides complimentary coffee/tea served throughout the day, there is even a delicious breakfast. Think homemade bread, muffins, sausages, tomatoes, bacon, and eggs. Yum!
With just seven rooms, staying here is as intimate as it gets. They all reflect the early 1900s-style when the guesthouse first opened, and when travelers specifically came here for the hot springs. What’s more, you’re even treated to champagne on arrival, while rooms feature plush beds and upmarket toiletries in the bathrooms. Finally, the rooms even have soft bathrobes.
There’s no doubt that Holyrood House is one of the most gorgeous gay accommodations in Daylesford sitting right in the heart of it. The elegant country house-turned-bed-and-breakfast is set on lush, manicured gardens and features a stunning main dining room. It’s where a delicious la carte breakfast, that changes daily, is served. During afternoons, sip on complimentary tea from antique silverware and fine china. When the weather is warmer, the patio is the perfect place to curl up with a glass of wine and a book. Winter months are the ideal time to cozy up by the fireplace in the sitting room with a hot cup of coffee.
Every room at Holyrood House is different and speaks volumes about its history in the form of stunning artwork on the walls. Silk drapes, bespoke linen, and Alpaca blankets add a degree of luxury, as do the complimentary coffee, tea, Hepburn Springs mineral water, and toiletries.
Right down the street from the Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens sits one of the most postcard-perfect gay accommodations in Daylesford, Fortuna Cottage. This one-bedroom cottage is surrounded by stunning gardens, complete with vibrant autumn flowers. All-in-all, it makes for one amazing romantic gay getaway right in the very heart of Daylesford and is perfect for exploring the charming town.
To begin with, there’s a snug seating area with a fireplace, where you can cozy up to your partner on cold Australian nights. During mornings, you can make yourself a quick and simple breakfast in the fully equipped kitchen. If you don’t want to cook, then there are lots of options for yummy breakfast places nearby. Free Wi-Fi and a flatscreen TV round off the amenities, providing entertainment. The room with the attached bathroom is equally charming with comfy beds, fresh flowers, and moody lights, turning it into a relaxing space.
If it’s luxury accommodation you want in Daylesford, then there’s no place better than the gay friendly Lake House. As the name suggests, the soothing retreat sits on the eastern banks of Lake Daylesford. The award-winning hotel is home to one of the most celebrated restaurants in the country and is refined to the last brick. In fact, it is ‘the’ place to enjoy the bounty of the bushland, right from nature to seasonal produce to art.
The elegant and understated hotel was made for some seriously luxurious unwinding. The highlight is the stunning heated infinity pool that directly overlooks the lake. Lounge on the daybeds and sip cocktails from the poolside bar, or retreat to the hush of the Argyle Library and sip on aged whiskey. The spa is highly regarded, with its private treetop huts with deep soaking tubs. The standout, however, is the esteemed restaurant, helmed by one of Australia’s most prolific chefs. The dining room is also the setting for one of the most hearty breakfasts in town. So, you have everything from buffet-style pastries and frittata to à la carte options like poached eggs and kimchi pancake. So, it’s no surprise that the hotel also runs a cooking school, with hands-on masterclasses from some of Australia’s best chefs.
The 33 suites here are spread across several accommodation types. If money isn’t an issue, we’d highly recommend the Waterfront Pool Studios or the Suites which come with dual-person spas. Even the Spa Villa has its own outdoor whirlpool tub.
The name says it all – Balconies Lakeside is a stunning Edwardian-era boutique bed-and-breakfast that lies right on the banks of Lake Daylesford. It’s one of the best gay accommodations in Daylesford, with all three studios boasting stunning views of the emerald-green lake. With the hosts having lived in Daylesford for years, you can rest assured of the very best travel tips on what to explore in town. Plus, the area is extremely popular for cycling and is one of the best ways to explore the town on your own.
Just like other relaxed accommodations in the town, this 1912-built property also features many spaces for lounging and relaxing. The living room/lounge area is minimally furnished with comfy seating and a flatscreen TV. There’s even a sun-kissed terrace that feels great when the weather is warm. And of course, the gardens right outside are perfect for enjoying a morning walk, something that’s like a dream back home. Begin your day with a full Irish/English breakfast, which can be enjoyed in the comfort of your room. Rounding up the amenities here is the free Wi-Fi and luggage storage.
That said, it’s the units here that are the standout. All of them are spacious with small kitchenettes with fridges, coffeemakers, and microwaves. The bedrooms are spacious with separate sitting areas as well as patios with alfresco seating and fantastic views of the lake.
Peppers Mineral Springs Hotel
There’s no better place to indulge in romance traditional style than at Peppers Mineral Springs Hotel. The 1935-built hotel is one of the most luxurious gay hotels in Daylesford. It also houses one of the few full-service spas in the region and is the perfect hideaway for a romantic getaway in the region.
Stepping into the hotel is like stepping back in time. The entire place is surrounded by scenic gardens, of which the formal Italian gardens are the most spectacular, complete with a mini hedge maze. The public spaces are all sophisticated and elegant, with original 1930s detailing, marble, and bespoke furniture. The dining room and speakeasy-like glamorous bar hark back to a glorious past, with a focus on modern, regional fare. The bar, particularly, is perfect for everything from evening cocktails to nightcaps. There’s even a guest lounge with a fireplace to relax. The highlight is the spa with 11 treatment rooms, complete with a relaxation lounge and dual hydrotherapy baths. The Mineral Spa is especially unique and has ‘floating beds’ where you lie on hammocks of warm water sans getting wet!
When it comes to accommodations, you can choose between traditional rooms and self-contained villas for the ultimate experience. Nevertheless, all rooms have a slew of modern creature comforts that’ll make your stay as comfortable as it gets. That said, get the rooms which have private balconies and spa baths in the room itself!
If you’re looking for a characterful and historic gay accommodation in Daylesford, then look no further than the Hotel Bellinzona. The 1903-built Hepburn Springs hotel, which has undergone two facelifts, sits on sprawling lush grounds in the heart of Australia’s spa capital. There is nothing about the property that you will find fault with, beginning from its incredible heated indoor pool and sauna. After a long day of exploring Daylesford, it’s the ideal way to relax your sore muscles. After a swim and a soak, head to the sensational spa and enjoy a relaxing and invigorating massage or body treatments. If you’re restless for some action, then head to the communal lounge area which has a table tennis setup and a billiards table. Apart from the restaurant that serves superb fare, the highlight is the cellar door wine bar. It serves refreshing cocktails along with excellent nightly entertainment.
With just 43 rooms to choose from, staying at this resort is one highly intimate affair. Since it’s a historic property, all rooms, even the entry-level ones, are huge, to say the least. Besides mod-cons like flatscreen TVs and coffee/tea-making facilities, they also have contemporary bathrooms with massive shower areas large enough for two.
Farmers Arms Hotel Daylesford
The attractive, 150-year-old redbrick gay friendly Farmers Arms Hotel Daylesford is the quintessential old-style pub that every town should have. The hotel sits at the eastern end of town and is a short stroll from the Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens right in the town center. The gastro-pub is particularly gay friendly, and has long attracted patrons for its merry and cheery vibe. The place is also a hotel and offers luxe suites accommodation right across the road.
Staying at the Farmers Arms is all about the suites. For instance, the Superior Suites are spacious with a more contemporary design, the Art Suites feature a bevy of artworks. Nevertheless, all suites feature bespoke crockery and pottery pieces by local artists, which you can also purchase. Even though each suite is individually decorated, they all feature the most modern flourishes. These include complimentary minibars, coffee/tea stations, free Wi-Fi, and state-of-the-art climate control systems. Besides flatscreen TVs with Netflix, you’ll also find modern bathrooms with equally bespoke toiletries.
Besides the bar and restaurant where you can enjoy all meals, the property even boasts lush gardens. Furthermore, it sits within walking distance of many of the town’s sights and attractions.
Old Chilli B&B
Old Chilli B&B is anything but old and is rather one of the most charming gay accommodations in Daylesford. Located right in the heart of the town, the bed-and-breakfast is the ideal budget and yet local-like stay. To begin with, you can dig into a hearty gourmet continental breakfast every morning in the sun-lit room. The frontal sun-kissed verandah with comfy deck chairs is a great place to sip on wine while watching an Australian sunset. It’s overflowing with Australian foliage and is one Instagram-worthy spot. Whether morning or evening, the gardens are a great place to enjoy a walk. Rounding up the services is the free Wi-Fi.
When it comes to the rooms, all of them feature private entrances and have French doors that open into a large patio or balcony. What’s more, they all enjoy sweeping views of alpacas and the gorgeous Aussie bushland. Besides plush beds, flatscreen TVs, and modern, updated bathrooms, rooms also feature spa baths. If you’re leaving on a Sunday, then you can check-out as late as 5 p.m.!
The Royal Daylesford Hotel
The gay friendly Royal Daylesford Hotel offers luxurious accommodations, combined with a bit of history and oodles of charm. Located right down the lane from Lake Daylesford, the 1856-built historic hotel combines Victorian-era character and charm with modern-day creature comforts. With just 10 suites, it’s the perfect escape if you’re looking for a romantic, luxurious, or relaxing getaway in the gorgeous rural Aussie bushland. Even though it’s a small hotel, it’s facilities befit that of a regular-sized one. For one, it has a restaurant, café, and a sports bar. From continental breakfast to dinners and everything in between, you won’t have to actually step out for anything. There’s even a cozy lounge that’s perfect for relaxing with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.
Since it’s a heritage structure, rooms differ in sizes and styles. Nevertheless, they all feature exposed-brick walls, comfy beds, separate seating areas, and kitchenettes. Also, most of them have ensuite bathrooms with spa baths and even balconies.
Lying one block down from the lake, Hotel Frangos is perhaps one of the most famous gay accommodations in Daylesford. Charming and luxurious in equal measure, the property features a gamut of amenities and facilities that can’t help but make you fall in love with this place. The on-site café and bar, for one, serves everything from full buffet breakfasts to casual fare to melt-in-your-mouth dinners. The bar is particularly amazing and is also gay-popular. You can choose from regional wines, cocktails, and even beer on tap. During warmer months, grab a table in the vine-covered Agora Courtyard of the bar and enjoy a nice meal. If you want to unwind, then the on-site Endota spa offers a range of pampering massages and body treatments.
You’ll be equally impressed when it comes to the rooms too. The uniquely-styled guest rooms are all singular, and yet modern to boot. So, you have your usual pick of mod-cons like flatscreen TVs and ensuite bathrooms, but also minibars, coffee machines, and complimentary bathrobes.
Just So You Know:
- The leafy, bucolic Daylesford is highly considered as the gay capital of regional Victoria. In fact, a 2016 Census data listed it as one of the top 10 destinations in Australia for same-sex female couples to live in.
Get Some Culture in Daylesford:
- ChillOut Festival – Also known as Daylesford Pride, this is the biggest LGBTQ+ celebration in rural Australia. From drag shows and a hilarious street parade to dance parties.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Daylesford:
- Daylesford Hotel – A traditional pub, this place serves lip-smacking Australian pub food. Wash it down with the best imported and Australian beers, of which many are on tap.
- The Farmers Arms Hotel – This iconic pub restaurant, which is also a gay friendly hotel, serves delicious food and brews and is a favorite with locals.
Best Gay Saunas in Daylesford:
Daylesford doesn’t have a gay sauna, but who cares? You’re in a town full of lovely hot springs!