When Jude Turner founded Spicers Retreats, she wanted to create a workplace that was accepting for all. The luxury retreats and nature conservation are just added bonuses.


Team culture and great customer experiences are not mutually exclusive. Do you think you can achieve one without the other? How does one deliver outstanding customer experiences without first ensuring the team culture is on point?

Jude Turner has a long history of workplace culture, having been part of the founding team of Flight Centre where her husband Skroo Turner remains as the CEO some 34 years later.

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An amazing workplace doesn’t happen by accident, it’s a purposeful intent by it’s founders or leaders.

This positive intention was the foundation that Spicers Retreats was built on some nine years ago.

Jude’s intention was to create a workplace that was accepting for all, one that actively encourages team members to have their personalities shine through no matter what their background.

Spicerians – as they fondly call themselves – have a collective passion for hospitality and everyone that works there feels like part of the family.

We spoke to Simon Magus, the General Manager of Spicers Balfour Hotel in Brisbane.

“Spicers Retreats is a phenomenal place to work,” he says.

“I have worked in a number of luxury hotels and spent three years working with the Royal Household in the UK before I joined the Spicers family in 2017.

“I am proud to be working for a company with such passion for its guests and a genuine love of its team, it’s a rare thing to find today.”

Simon and husband Tama both work for Spicers Retreats.

The Spicers story began out of a passion to share Queensland’s high country.

Spicers Gap is a mountain pass 100 kilometres west of Brisbane in the Scenic Rim, and was the original route over the Great Dividing Range.

This beautiful yet somewhat undiscovered region was the inspiration for the naming of Spicers Retreats.

Our founder Jude was born and raised in country Queensland with a family history of building and art.

She studied art at teachers’ college and taught for two years, before travelling and landing in London to work for the then-fledgling Topdeck Travel.

Jude’s passion for nature and hospitality, along with her genuine desire to want to share it with people, was the inspiration for Spicers Retreats.

Since then the group has grown to encompass: over 250 team members, nine luxury retreats, eight award-winning restaurants, four day spas, Queensland’s only Great Walk of Australia, four private cabin sites, three cattle breeding operations, a mountain bike park, 5,000 hectares of nature refuge, and a purpose built, Turner Family Foundation funded, Wildlife Centre.

Each Retreat is individually looked after or designed by Jude herself and her team of designers employed in-house.

She takes great care in every project to respect the land or existing building. This could be transforming a bare mountain top into a secluded couples oasis, or transforming three separate terrace houses in the middle of Sydney into a light filled sanctuary for leisure and business stays alike.

Jude’s passion lies not with the colour of the carpet nor the make of the bedspread, but where these Retreats are located, in an effort to entice guests out of their rooms and back into nature.

Growing up in the Southern Downs gave Jude the desire to share the Scenic Rim region with the rest of the world, and she did this by opening up a multi-day, guided, luxury walking product.

The walk takes in the mountain vistas, low lying creek beds, and diverse flora and fauna of the region, while staying in luxurious ‘glamping’ tents at Spicers Canopy.

In fact, the desire Jude has to provide people with the ability to get back and reconnect with nature has been taken one step further: Spicers will be launching a second luxury walking experience in early 2019.

This experience will explore a completely separate part of the Scenic Rim than the three-day walk, and will allow guests to stay in purpose built eco-cabins located within the Main Range National Park.

It’s a turning point for Queensland’s history, as Spicers will be the first ever business to operate within a national park.

From luxury walking experiences to a Wildlife Centre that was opened in 2017 on the 12,000-acre Hidden Vale property in Grandchester, Jude Turner and Spicers Retreats are a leading force behind conservation efforts of both nature and animals alike in Australia.

For Jude, a good culture within the business is a must.

The brand is only as good as the team behind it. Spicers company values resonate beautifully with team members – Happy, Humble, Smart. Simple, eloquent, and so on point.

People drawn to the values should consider a career with Spicers as they are genuinely the epicentre of the organisation.

As a very special and unique way to say thank you, each team member receives a complimentary night away with a plus one inclusive of dinner and breakfast every six months; this includes all roles within the company, both casual and full-time receiving equal benefits.

It’s fair to say that Spicers Retreats delivers on it’s outstanding relaxed luxury brand promise but delivers far beyond the norm when it comes to the team and the environment.

jude turner spicers retreats

Jude Turner. Image: Supplied.

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