Australia boasts some pretty amazing holiday homes, but there’s one that’s a little more impressive than others, securing the top gong in Stayz’ Holiday Home of the Year award.
If you were to scroll through photos of this Aussie “castle” you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re on a Greek island.
Its name is ‘Mykonos’ and it’s a dazzling Mediterranean-inspired castle on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast that’s been described as a “slice of paradise”.
It boasts some pretty spectacular features including a grand turret room, daybeds scattered throughout the property and three outdoor entertainment areas.
There’s even an elevated luxury heated pool, outdoor kitchen and barbecue on the roof deck.
“With four bedrooms sleeping up to eight people and an average price of $1157 a night, the home is ideal for a large group getaway or a fun-filled family staycation,” Stayz travel expert Daniel Finch told news.com.au.
The “spectacular” property, which nabbed the gold medal in Stayz’ 12th annual awards, is a short stroll from the white sands of Sunshine Beach and “perfect for Aussies seeking a Euro-trip without the expense (or long flight)”.
“Guests experience a slice of Greece without ever having to leave Australia,” Mykonos’ property manager Maryanne said.
Stayz, which has over 50,000 homes available locally, said the criteria for the awards were based on star reviews of 4.5 or more, positive guests reviews and property descriptions saying the accommodations were suitable for family and group travellers.
“Stayz holiday home experts then select gold, silver, and bronze medal winners for the top three homes in the country,” Mr Finch said.
Taking out the silver medal is the ‘Sinclairs of Berry’ farm located in Berry, in the Shoalhaven region on NSW’s south coast.
Set on 8000sq m, it overlooks Broughton Mill Creek and is perfect for large groups as it sleeps up to 18 guests. It also offers an open-plan kitchen and large dining area.
Caroline Sinclair, owner of the property, said she feels extremely grateful and very humbled to have placed second, adding they never expected it.
“I guess that’s what makes it so truly special for us,” Ms Sinclair told news.com.au.
“A beautiful surprise for doing what we love. We put so much love and effort into everything we do. To know that our guests see this and can experience this is really special to us.”
She said the location is a definite standout as it’s located within walking distance of the main street.
“Yet once you’re inside the property gates you have two acres of beautiful gardens all to yourself, you’re instantly transformed to a farm oasis,” she said.
“Guests instantly relax as soon as they walk into the house. Some guests have even said the house feels like a big warm hug.”
Ms Sinclair said it’s also the small and unexpected personal touches that make guests feel special.
“The house is filled with flowers in absolutely every room, the kitchen is filled with fresh local produce from our family farm, home-baked cakes, handwritten notes, and a welcoming dining table for 18 beautifully set for the family to enjoy a special meal.”
Meanwhile, securing third place is a sprawling federation home in Wilyabrup, nestled in Western Australia’s Margaret River wine region.
With old-world charm and interiors, the ‘Birdwood Estate’ castle features a grand turret room and towers over three stories.
It boasts four fireplaces, soaring ceilings, traditional bay windows and exposed beams salvaged from Westralia rail sleepers.
“There’s a real mix in the selected list this year,” Mr Finch told news.com.au.
“We’ve got the castle-inspired homes, with both Mykonos house and Birdwood Estate in Margaret River having their own impressive turret rooms.
“We’re also seeing some Asian heritage come through, with the Japanese and Chinese inspired ‘Qii House Eco Retreat’ eco-style retreat, which even has its own tea house, meditation room and eco-bath.”
The mountain retreat in Benwerrin, Victoria came seventh on the list. It was built by renowned architect Edgard Pirrotta and restored by local artisans.
Mr Finch said while financial pressures are a real concern for many Aussies at the moment, they’re continuing to see many prioritise travel.
“Our top 10 finalist homes cater to eight to 18 people and average $1488 a night, which represents good value for money, especially if you divide the cost among families and friends and take advantage of self-catering and the entertainment plus facilities these homes offer.”
Last year, a Kangaroo Valley property called ‘Attunga KV’ took out the top gong.