There are some places where attention to detail really sets them apart. Loloma Bed and Breakfast in Armidale, is certainly one of those places. Rhonda Morris has been running the boutique accommodation since the beginning of 2017 and the moment she greets you at the front door and you glimpse the elegant interior of the stunning 1882 Victorian home, you know you are about to experience something special.
There are two suites available at Loloma, the Ruby and the Sapphire. Both suites are rear wings of the main house, which means that although they are part of the gorgeous home, they are also quite private and have their own bathrooms and living areas. The Ruby Suite also has its own separate entry. There is a maximum of four guests at any one time at Loloma, which ensures you will have plenty of peace and quiet.
We were shown to the Ruby Suite, which is a showcase of stunning heritage features. There is so much to take in when you open the door, that it’s hard to know where to look first. The intricate pressed-metal ceilings, the stunning timber fireplace surround, the sparkling chandeliers, the high quality furnishings and the small decorative touches all compete for your attention. The highlight however, has to be the glorious arch, which forms a nook for the Queen size bed. The arched window over the head of the bed and the other windows, either side, let plenty of sun into the room, creating a bright and welcoming space. It was a freezing cold day when we came to stay, so the next thing we no-ticed was the toasty warm central heating.
The Ruby Suite is the larger apartment and consists of a living area, with dining corner, the bed nook, a separate dressing room or additional single bedroom (or snorer’s room!), the kitchen and the large bathroom. The kitchen has an original fireplace and old wood stove to add to the charm. These and the more modern stove are now only decorative, but with breakfast included and so many wonderful country pubs and restaurants within easy walking distance, why would you want to cook for yourself anyway? The kitchen has everything else you will need for your stay, including a fridge, kettle, filtered water and complimentary tea, coffee, fresh milk and bottled water.
The luxury continues in the bathroom, where a beautiful marble-topped double vanity with timber cabinets takes pride of place. There is also a rainwater shower head, plenty of fluffy white towels and French toiletries to complete the indulgent feel. The bathroom also has under-floor heating, which is very welcome on a cold Armidale morning. If you like to stay connected to the “real world” outside, there is free wi-fi and a huge flatscreen TV. Netflix is also included, which is perfect for a cosy night in!
The Sapphire Suite has recently been renovated in a sympathetic period style and although not quite as large as the Ruby Suite, it shares all the luxurious touches. The blue and gold theme lends it a regal feel, as does the pillow top Queen-sized bed with luxury linens, elegant furniture and beautiful bathroom.
Breakfast is served in the glass-roofed conservatory, between the two wings at the rear of the house. Breakfast hardly seems an adequate word to describe the indulgent and delicious meals that Rhonda prepared for us. The stunning presentation of the breakfast table, with white linen tablecloth, napkins and Portmeirion “Botanic Garden” crockery, sets the scene for the meal to come. There is a selection of cooked meals to choose from, which you order the night before. Our selections were the French toast and pancakes with mascarpone, both served with blueberries, banana, maple syrup and optional bacon. If Rhonda ever tires of running a B & B, I’m sure there is a spot on Master Chef waiting for her. In addition to these outstanding cooked meals, there was also a platter of fresh fruit, yoghurt and muesli served in antique glass dessert bowls, orange juice and your choice of either loose leaf tea or brewed coffee. Rhonda was the perfect host throughout- friendly and attentive, but not intrusive.
Although Loloma may look small from the front, don’t be fooled! Not only is the house quite large, but the grounds are huge! Hiding behind the house there is a salt-water swimming pool, summer house, gardens, a full size tennis court and undercover parking for guests. It truly feels like an oasis in the middle of Armidale. The property is located on quite a busy road, however there is no need to worry about traffic noise. Once you step inside, it is lovely and quiet.
All of these features would be more than enough in themselves to warrant the property’s description as a boutique, luxury bed and breakfast experience, but as mentioned, it is the small details that set it apart. The chocolates on the bedside table when you arrive, the fresh flowers, the snuggly throw rug on the couch and the obvious care given to decorating and furnishing the room, all combine with the overall opulence of the home to make you feel like you never want to leave.