From the sandy beaches of FNQ to the hustle and bustle of Thailand, we take in the summer sights with Myer ambassador Rachael Finch.
“I love Byron,” declares Rachael, all sun-kissed and long limbs. Her dark hair has been swept up into a loose pony for our shoot as she effortlessly perches on the edge of a table at Adelaide’s Osteria Oggi on Pirie Street, waiting for our team to set up. “But I’d really love to see Crete – there’s a hotel there called The Theodore Boutique Hotel that’s meant to be amazing. It’s centred around wellbeing and spiritual healing.”
We’re talking dream holiday destinations, and Rachael’s list covers a lot of ground – from luxe local favourites like Orpheus Island in north Queensland to the Ukraine, where her husband of five years, Misha, grew up. “Misha spent the first 10 years of his life there, so I can’t wait to go and see what it’s like!” Here she shares her absolute favourite holiday spots, plus a few that are on her wish list.
ORPHEUS ISLAND, QUEENSLAND
Orpheus Island Lodge
“It’s a secluded, relaxed and very quiet escape,” says Rachael, of the luxe island resort off the coast of Townsville. There are just 14 boutique suites (the place only accommodates 28 people!), and they’re all beachfront facing. Paradise.
“Food is pretty much made to order – whatever you feel like, the chef will make!” The chef Rachael refers to is Paul Wilson, who worked as sous chef at Denmark’s acclaimed Geranium restaurant before recently landing the gig at Orpheus. Due to the small number of guests, Wilson is able to personalise the menu, even going as far as sitting down with guests when they arrive to find out what sort of culinary experience they want while they’re on the island.
You’re in the lap of luxury, surrounded by the World Heritage-listed Reef, so it’s no surprise that snorkelling and diving are at the top of the must-do list for many visitors. That, and indulging in the award-winning day spa and unwinding poolside. “You can also take out a private charter to go fishing, or walk along the shore line collecting sea shells,” adds Rachael.
Taking pride of place on top of Cape Panwa, the private and totally luxe Sri Panwa Hotel in Phuket is one for the bucket list. “We stayed here for our honeymoon,” says Rachael. “The villas are stunning, with 180-degree views overlooking the ocean.”
The dining options here are endless – choose from Thai, Chinese and Japanese (“I had the most amazing sashimi I’ve ever tasted”), plus there’s an exclusive rooftop bar where you can enjoy Mexican tapas and a poolside cooking school.
A private beach and 100-metre pier make the hotel easily accessible for large boats, so island-hopping a breeze. For land-dwellers, there are also two tennis courts, a fully equipped gym, and yoga and pilates classes.
Panorama De Luxe
“Misha grew up in Ukraine and i would absolutely love to visit,” says Rachael of her husband’s hometown. At the top of the luxe list is the Panorama De Luxe, a grand and opulent five-star hotel in Odessa. For total luxury, stay in the deluxe suite – a 180 degree curved room with floor-to-ceiling windows and views out to the Black Sea.
Take your meal poolside on the hotel’s Summer Terrace, where you can enjoy everything from veal carpaccio to French fries!
You’ll want to take in the mountaintop views from Lviv High Castle – it’s the highest point in the city and a great place to appreciate the beauty of the green-domed churches and surrounding countryside. The bustling Market Square is also worth exploring.
ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
“I’ve fallen in love with Adelaide! The relaxed lifestyle is definitely appealing, and the beautiful beaches earn it a place on my list of ‘must-return’ destination”, says Rachael. She’s only visited on work assignments, so hasn’t had much time to explore but when she manages a weekend away she says she’d like to check out Mt Lofty House in the Adelaide Hills.
“The views are supposed to be amazing, and there’s apparently a really great day spa, too!”
Our shoot was held at the beautiful Osteria Oggi on Pirie Street in the CBD, and the authentic Italian food definitely impressed Rachael and the crew. Not surprisingly, given the slew of awards this place has earned over recent years.
“I haven’t visited the wine regions in SA yet,” says Rachael, “but the Barossa, McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hill’s are all on my (long!) list of places I’d love to visit! Exploring my way around sounds like the perfect afternoon!”