A Convent Turned Luxury Hotel: Explore Australia’s Great Ocean Road (Part 3)

Looking up at the words  “Convent of St. Patrick” in the stained glass over the entry door, I had to wonder what I was doing here. In truth, my confusion began as we turned onto the drive and I looked up at the classic architecture while hubby announced, “this is where we are staying tonight.”

St Patrick's Luxury Botique Hotel in Korit, Australia

Our first view of St. Patrick’s as we pulled through the gate. The manicured gardens framed the classic architecture that seems to fit naturally in this modest town of Koroit, Australia. Located half way between Warrnambool and Port Fairy, it is a bit off the beaten path.

With no hint of it being anything other than a convent, I was hesitant as hubby knocked on the door.  From the moment it opened, we entered an alternate reality filled with warm colours and eclectic decor. We were warmly greeted by Vivienne, the proprietor and we entered this former convent, turned luxury boutique hotel.

Renovations updated 107-year-old Saint Patrick Convent while maintaining its original style. The eccentric decor reflects Vivienne’s fascinating life of travel. It’s impressive. And it works. Take a look:

Old chapel in St Patrick's Luxury Botique Hotel in Korit, Australia

Down the hall from our room was the old chapel, now a sitting room.

Former St Patrick's Convent now a Luxury Botique Hotel in Korit, Australia

Seen in a hallway.

A bedroom in St Patrick's Luxury Botique Hotel in Korit, Australia

This is our luxurious room with a sitting area.

Stairs and stained glassin St Patrick's Luxury Botique Hotel in Korit, Australia

With tall ceilings throughout, the staircase was quite long. The first photo is looking down from the upper level to the landing, the second is looking down from the landing.

Lilac lounge in St Patrick's Luxury Botique Hotel in Korit, Australia

When we returned from dinner Vivienne had already started a cosy fire in the Lilac Room, added romantic music, and suggested we enjoy a port and the magic of the evening.

Kitchen in St Patrick's Luxury Botique Hotel in Korit, Australia

We had our breakfast in the dining room, with two notable features. The tapestry on the wall was given to Vivienne by Mother Theresa. And it is the original stove that is still operational in the kitchen.

Formal dining room in St Patrick's Luxury Botique Hotel in Korit, Australia

Bright and colourful the formal ruby dining room is worth an exploration.

A sign in St Patrick's Luxury Botique Hotel in Korit, Australia

The sign over another room’s bathroom reminds us of the simple life that once filled these walls. What is now an ensuite bathroom, once held the beds of four nuns.

And if staying in a former convent wasn’t unusual enough, we had dinner at Alex’s Pizza Outback Bar. Our directions were to enter the pizza restaurant and tell them we want to eat in the “back room.” If it had not been raining, we could have entered from the exterior, but those doors were closed today. So, without hesitation, we were taken through a side kitchen, down a hallway, and brought into the most bizarre restaurant setting I have seen for a while. Clearly Australian, the wall decor covered everything from sports to crocodiles. And the menu was equally as random with options ranging from Thai chilli to Spanish paella.

Alex's Pizza Outback Bar in Koroit, Australia

Alex’s Pizza Outback Bar.

Practical Information:

  • Koroit is approximately 15 minutes west of Warrnambool and 10 minutes east of Port Fairy. It is on land originally inhabited by the Peel Whurrong Aborigines.
  • St. Patrick’s  has an interesting history from a convent to school, hostel, and finally a luxury boutique hotel.
  • Koroit is listed by the national trust as one of Australia’s most complete examples of an early Irish settlement.
  • Nearby (5 minutes drive) is Tower Hill, a national park located within the crater of an extinct volcano.  We didn’t visit, however, we have heard that sunset is a great time to spot koalas, kangaroos and emus.
  • The Grampians National Park (blog post coming soon) begins an hour to the north.
  • Southern Right Whales can be spotted from July to September as they calve at Logan’s Beach in Warrnambool.
  • Koroit was our last stop after two days driving the Great Ocean Road, the first day focused more on amazing beaches, surfing, and a waterfall, while the second day seemed filled with and rock formation and a wild koala sighting.
  • We used Lonely Planet – Australia to find unusual places while we travelled.

Our only regret: Not staying longer.

Given the option, would you stay in a former convent off the beaten path, or would you prefer to stay in the main town?

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A former convent is now St Patrick's Luxury Botique Hotel in Korit, Australia

This post is linked at BeThere2Day for Wordless Wednesday on Tuesday, Through My Lens, Life Thru the Lens, Our World Tuesdays, Travel Tuesday, Ruby Tuesday Too, and Outdoor Wednesday.

Disclaimer: Nothing to disclaim today. We were paid guests of St Patrick’s Luxury Boutique Hotel, and Vivienne was not even aware that we are travel writers. The opinions expressed here are strictly my own.

This post was proofread by Grammarly (Try it for free)

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Comments

  1. says

    I don’t know if I’d stay in a convent given 12 years of Catholic school. They always seemed so mysterious, almost gothic to us. I do love the idea and lush reds and fireplace though. So cool the tapestry is from Mother Theresa.

    • says

      For us it was probably a good thing that it was a bit off the beaten path, as we made the reservation somewhat last minute. Otherwise, it might have been filled up. Although, it should be booked out every night. It’s only 10-15 minutes from either main town, and so cool.

  2. says

    Dear Rhonda,
    Thankyou so very much for the magnificent photo’s and generous write up.
    Restoration took many years and now the convent exudes a luxurious ambience with a gentle sense of calm.
    My mother and I did it up together, we had so much fun like two little girls playing house dress ups
    We chose to decorate in mostly purple and reds as the colours match the stained glass and are the colours of the Catholic Church.
    When she housed the nuns there were no bathrooms or toilets inside they had to go outside. Now every bedroom has its own ensuite bath, shower and toilet.
    When we first opened we invited the nuns whom were still alive to visit and they said “if it had been so lovely as this they would never have left'”.
    kindest regards
    Vivienne

  3. says

    This place is very beautiful but I couldn’t stay here. When I was younger, I was an alter boy and had to go to the Catholic convent to help with mass. It was very early in the morning and even to this day I still have memories of negative things in my mind. It would be very hard to sleep in a bed with my wife just knowing that nuns & priests had been there. I know it’s crazy but that’s how I feel. Crazy aren’t I. Oh well that’s me

    I’m glad that you enjoyed the place. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

  4. says

    Well, I must say I’m in awe! Ohhhhhhhhhhhh if walls could talk!!! I absolutely love stained glass windows. When I’m in church I find myself staring at them because of their beauty. Thank you so very much for sharing. I am now following you. Oh yes, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  5. says

    Wonderful place, Rhonda, and you have done it justice withy our beautiful photos.
    Thank you for taking part in the Travel Tuesday meme, I look forward to seeing more of your entries in the weeks ahead.

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