“There can be no denying it, this is a most beautiful place to come home to” says Neil.
And when you have a career in the dramatic arts, a spectacular dramatic landscape is just the tonic. And to have a small boutique hospitality business as well makes it a perfect blend. Neil Melville trained as an actor, writer and musician while his wife Bo trained as a costume designer at the highly regarded West Australian Academy of Performing Arts.
Bo and Neil met while touring with The Melbourne Theatre Company and came to Glenaire to build a new home and manage their delightful little boutique hospitality venture together. “There is plenty of space for us and the guests”, says Bo. “We have over 100 acres of beautiful forest with walking trails and fabulous ocean views.” And being a devoted dog lover Bo assures us that ‘Glenaire Cottages’ are very pet friendly. “I can’t go anywhere without my little Dusty (her miniatuare black schnauzer) so I know how important it is to be comfortable knowing that your dog is most welcome.”
And Neil still gets time to do his acting. He is currently working with Claudia Karvan and Toby Schmitz in the new ABC drama “Newton’s Law “and has recently appeared in “Rake” “Jack Irish”, “Utopia”, “The Hollowmen”, “Howzat: Kerry Packer’s War”, “Killing Time”, and “Underbelly” while still finding time to perform on stage in The Production Company’s “West Side Story” at the State Theatre last year.
“It is a great privilege to be able to share this with our guests and pass on our knowledge of the area. It’s not for everybody, but we have developed a like-minded set of regulars and many referred guests. We are here if needed but discreetly inconspicuous if not.”
Neil has had a long association with Glenaire his mother having married a local farmer 50 years ago. “It was a culture shock to a 13 year old city kid. I didn’t really take to it at first but I had a wonderful stepfather who introduced me to the ways of the bush. He liked to challenge my ‘city ways’ and taught me things I would never have known and for which I am eternally grateful. It took a while but I came back to it when my mother and I developed the idea of building cottages. She got the ball rolling. Being a city girl she could see the attraction. There was only camping back in those days and she copped a lot of criticism. She bought forested land that no self respecting farmer could understand: ‘What are you gunna do? Run a snake to the acre?’ ‘No-one’ll come here!’ But with an outsiders eye she could see the certain attraction of the Otways and proceeded to build the first log cabin. No sooner done than the surfers arrived with the heralding of Johanna Beach as the location for the World Surfing Championships and names like Nat Young, Wayne Lynch, and American surfer Rolf Aurness brought the world’s attention to our little secret.”
No village has ever been established at Glenaire so the visitors keep coming back for the natural beauty and energizing power of the landscape. For Neil & Bo it is business and pleasure combined and a wonderful antidote to their city commitments.