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  • by Lindy Schneider
Grand old country hotels like this one are becoming a rare find in a world where contemporary hotel renovations and the ‘bistro’ising of pubs seems to take precedence over preserving hotel charm.

The Alpine Retreat Hotel is idyllically located on the banks of the Yarra in Warburton and carries the history of the town without compromising the creature comforts.

Accommodation is well-priced (from $40 per night) and put to good use by the steady stream of weekend cyclists that ride the Rail Trail, 30 kilometres from Lilydale.

The food is honest and the serving size is overwhelmingly generous. Thursday nights is ‘$12 Parmy’ night and for connoisseurs the ‘Godfather Parmy’ is an experience to savour.

A full bar features a solid range of local and imported wines and the adjacent conservatory is delightful whatever the season. The venue offers a grand ballroom for weddings and functions, but for a daily drop the locals will tell you the back bar is the go.

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