"I’m excited by design. It really is a miracle to stand in a space and create something.”
In 1986 the charming Jan Clark and her husband Peter founded the Lancemore Collection; Australia’s leading boutique lifestyle brand and pioneer of boutique hotels and residential conference facilities.
“Never did I think that when I was building, planning and designing Lindenderry (part of the Lancemore stable) that two of my children would be married there. Not to mention all the other wonderful wedding celebrations, engagements and anniversaries that have since been celebrated on the property.”
"It’s about finding that perfect balance in hospitality. Knowing when to engage with a guest and when to respect their privacy is one of the key elements to them experiencing a pleasant stay.” Jan Clark, Founder Lancemore Collection
“These days people seem to make less down-time for themselves, or their budgets don’t extend to multiple getaways in a year. So, it’s our responsibility that when they do decide to take some quality time away, we make their stay as welcoming, as genuine and as memorable as possible for all the right reasons.”
Jan confesses proudly that the latest refurbishment at Lindenderry is very much the doing of her talented daughter Caroline.
“Caroline’s spatial understanding mixed with her creative flair is remarkable. The way she can manipulate a space to enhance its atmosphere really is breathtaking.” Jan does however, remain heavily involved in the curation of the look and feel of both the indoor and outdoor elements of all the properties.
“Colour impacts on the way we feel. I am a water colourist, so colour is always where I begin.” Jan Clark, Founder Lancemore Collection
Jan explains that when designing a space she tends to steer clear of yellows and greens and instead focuses on blues, greys and taupes. And she always likes to incorporate a whisper of red. “Red is such a joyful colour. The energy in the room is instantly enhanced with a touch of red be it through a vase, a collection of book binders, an element in a painting.”
“I really adore the UK brand of paints by Farrow & Ball. They are masters of heritage colours and I find their palette subtle and honest, perfectly suited to our ethos.” Natural materials and fibres such as linen, cotton, wool, marble and timber are also key elements you’ll find at each carefully curated property.
“It makes complete sense to me that materials from nature will make one feel instantly at ease and content in a room.”
Jan’s design aesthetic is also informed by her extensive overseas travels. “I design like I travel. I like to educate myself on the history of the region, the architecture, the philosophy, the politics... That’s how I incorporate the honesty and genuineness into my designs. I take a holistic approach and I feel that helps create the timelessness experienced at all the Lancemore properties. It’s a very considered approach.”
It’s this immersion of travel that brings the richness and individualism to the Lancemore Collection. It’s not unusual to wander through one of the properties and be greeted by an authentic tribal rug, an African head rest, an 18th century oil jar from Madrid or a 17th century Dutch corbel, for example. “It’s perfectly understandable that some guests won’t recognise such artefacts but for those who do, they greatly appreciate it and it brings me considerable delight.”
“At every stage I have the guests as my central focus. This means acknowledging the importance of quality furnishings and longevity of finishes. I insist on never having anything in any of our properties that I wouldn’t be proud to have in my own home.”
Given Jan’s extensive travels and knowledge, I asked if she felt Australian hotels had a unique element, look or feel.
“Absolutely. Australians are genuine and our rooms reflect this; they tend to be more generous in size. For example, in the USA rooms tend to be smaller and more heavily decorated. In Australia, it’s all about our light. It’s obviously very different to the light in Europe and so the colour schemes need to reflect and adapt.”
“Australians love to lounge. We will rearrange the cushion on the hotel’s sofa, or change the positioning of the chair next to the window in order to be comfortable. Whereas somewhere like France, comfort is often overshadowed by style.” “Australians are also early adaptors of technology. I recall that when Peter and I first launched Lancemore Hill, there were no televisions in the rooms. The space was designed for conferences so its focus was to encourage the guests to socialise and intermingle with each other. However, this has quickly changed over time.”
“Now days we are all wedded to our phones, and I am no exception! As such, it’s important to cater to those desires in both our rooms and common spaces. Having said this, I’m a big believer in creating intimate spaces within a hotel. Spaces in which guests can take a moment to experience and enjoy, and feel a sense of privacy despite being in a communal area. For example, a beautiful alcove in the garden, a spot by the fire, or a place by a window with a stunning vista.”
“Also, we love to read. You’ll always find the latest edition of the Spectator right alongside Vogue Living, or a beautiful coffee table book or novel on the shelf in all our properties.” Having someone as artistic, innovative and passionate as Jan at the helm for so many years, it’s absolutely no surprise that each Lancemore Collection property is as individual as their guests.
Feeling inspired to book your next holiday or weekend away? The Lancemore Collection boutique properties include:
- Mansion Hotel & Spa at Werribee Park
- Lindenderry at Red Hill
- Lindenwarrah at Milawa
- Lancemore Hill at Macedon Ranges
New South Wales
- Larmont Sydney by Lancemore
- Alamanda Palm Cove by Lancemore