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A Luxury Weekender In An Airport Hangar

Not today. Our home for the next two nights is the airport…or rather an aircraft hangar. I am not reenacting a scene from The Terminal, starring Tom Hanks, but checking out one of Australia’s most unique luxury getaways – Hangar House.

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Not quite sure if we have knocked on the door of their home or hotel we are greeted by happy furry faces of Russo and Thor who come bounding out of the house.

Mr G starts bonding with them over a session of Frisbee (they are the adorable border collie dogs, of Alex and Heath the owners). I chat with Heath who is completely at ease with his oh so cool barefooted look and trendy jeans.

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Hangar House is more like staying in someone’s home than a hotel, to be fair this is our first experience where the owners live on the property. It’s achingly beautiful; white sofas, fluffy rugs, roaring fires, sleek dining table, quirky 3D photos plus a sleek kitchen I want to take home with me.

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Heath shows us around. A huge hand painted mural of planes dominate the end wall and he opens a door to space where the planes are kept. It’s bonkers and it’s beautiful.

This isn’t a dusty hanger, uh-uh, it’s got a glitter ball, shimmering chandeliers, sit up bar, four red stools, an electric piano, sofas and…two planes. One sadly has had its ‘tail feather’ knocked off (the pilot apparently forgot to open the doors) yeah right, more likely a party gone wild! If Liberace was a pilot I have a feeling he would live here all year long.

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Our Constellation suite is at the far end of the hanger on the top floor. At the end of the room doors open onto a balcony and miles of interrupted countryside vistas. A few remote control clicks and our fireplace is roaring. A silver metal chandelier hangs over a vintage French dresser.

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The juxtaposition of age and elegance with youthful glamour is a feature of Alex’s attention to interior design. A screen (John Lewis no less) is all that separates bedroom from bathroom.

Perhaps it’s my Brit sensibilities, but I do have a ‘thing’ about open plan toilets (aka no walls/doors) not exactly romance inducing! Mr G gives me his ‘get over yourself’ look.

On the other hand the Jacuzzi sits just behind the dining table (where else?), it’s a decadently sexy double berth affair which just begs for any weekender to put aside time for bubble romance. Tick! Love it!

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We have a mini kitchen and crack open the complimentary bottle of Moothi Rocks red and indulge with a wonderful hamper from Rachel Mccarthy . Thoughtfully Alex and Heath unpacked it all to the fridge.

We dive into gourmet items cooked by Rachel; putta bucca free range bacon, bean and potato salad, roast chicken, High Valley Feta and Mudgee hazelnut pumpkin salad with Karrabool olive oil and hummus, it’s delicious a romp through a Mudgee orchard.

Dinner is at the award winning Pipeclay Pumphouse. Our chariot awaits as Alex kindly offers to drive us there. He does this for his guests whenever he can, the boys hospitality and thoughtfulness is something which is the hallmark of a stay. Under the cover of darkness we turn into Robert Stein’s vineyard.

The dining room is the old pump house. Flagstone floors, corrugated roof with floor to ceiling windows out onto the lake. We can’t see the free roaming old world pigs but the produce sings with freshness from the paddock. It’s starry-eyed spot to dine as we tuck into caramelised onion tarte tatin with Jannei goats cheese.

Mains of pan roasted rainbow trout fillet architecturally sculptured over fondant potato, with tuscan cabbage and a smoky eel emulsion is paired with a 2014 Saignee. Mr G’s roasted pork loin with ham terrine, roasted leeks and a vichyssoise puree is bursting with artisan flavour.

The next morning up am up early. I am not a social butterfly at breakfast, but this place is bringing the best out in me as the other guests arrive a bleary eyed after an indulgent evening of Mudgee wine and conversation.

We all get to know one another and what would normally be a functional task of eating turns into a few hours of laughter, banter and tales that would make your hair curl. Alex and Heath are hilarious.

They are the soul of what makes Hangar House remarkable. It’s so much fun we fun we are one of the last to head out to the vineyards.

A days wine tasting at Logan, Short Sheep, Farmers Daughter and Di Lusso is enough to make anyone hungry. Tonight Rebecca Sutton from Olive.a.twist is cooking for us. Showered, jacuzzied and dressed for dinner. We feel like superstars as we dine on cauliflower fondue. Our meal is seasonal, local with many elements foraged.

I am having a ‘Noma moment’! It’s a special experience to have a private chef talk through the provenance of each element. Our main of crispy kale, fennel and spatchcock is simply out of this world, followed up by a succulent baked pear, Murrugundy Pistachio Crumble and Spencer Cocoa Chocolate with a salted vine leaf butte. She leaves us with a few of her Hello Lovelies hand crafted cordials.

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Normally this is the bit where you would retire to bed, but we pop downstairs to see if anyone’s around. Heath, Alex and a few of the guests are tucking into a take away Chinese dinner.

So we do the Mudgee thing…pull up a chair, share a bottle of wine and join them.

Written by Karen Lawson

Karen Lawson is a renowned food and travel writer. She is also the CEO of accelerator company Slingshot. She was previously the CEO of CareerOne, winner of BRW Most Innovative Company.

Karen is a huge ‘foodie’ and has been a food and luxury travel journalist for over ten years, writing for a diverse range of publishers. She enjoys researching and writing trips to uncover the world's most luxurious places to stay, places to pop your taste buds and is always on the hunt for new and notable extra-ordinary experiences. She is also an inspirational speaker and a regular on the speaker circuit.

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