19 March 2015
With so much going on in the city, a relaxing short break is a welcome diversion. And with endless enticing options available, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is choosing where to go first.
At Medlow Bath in the Blue Mountains, just under two hours’ drive west of the city, The Hydro Majestic offers sweeping views over beautiful Megalong Valley. This grand historic hotel has recently undergone a magnificent makeover to restore it to its former splendour. Settle into a comfy chair with a cocktail in the beautiful Belgravia Lobby Lounge; have a cup of tea in the brand-new, Chinese-inspired Salon Du The, or simply take in the crisp Blue Mountains air during a stroll through the property’s picturesque grounds.
With butler service an option, along with rose petals sprinkled on your bed at night, a stay at Peppers Convent in the Hunter Valley, two hours’ drive from Sydney, is all about you. Set amid beautiful gardens and vineyards, the convent was once home to an Order of Brigidine nuns. Built in 1909 and transported from Coonamble to Pokolbin in 1990, the building has been lovingly restored and now has the ambience of an indulgent French baroque mansion.
There’s fun in store for the whole family at the brand-new Ibis Styles, overlooking Tuggerah Lakes at The Entrance on the NSW Central Coast. The property is about two minutes’ walk from the beach and guests have access to a gym and children’s play centre.
Caves House, built in the Federation Arts and Crafts style by NSW Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon in 1897, is steeped in charm and history. Conveniently close to the remarkable Jenolan Caves west of the Blue Mountains, Caves House is a place to relax and forget about the day-to-day (there are no phones or televisions in guestrooms, which range from backpacker-style to Grand Classic).
Nearby, at the top end of the luxe scale, is Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, situated in its own wildlife reserve between two national parks. Lauded as one of the best retreats in Australia, each of the property’s 40 suites has a private indoor-outdoor swimming pool.
Further afield, you can be among the first to stay in the Circa 1936 Hotel, due to open soon. A new incarnation of the former Rural Bank in Corowa, a historic town on the bank of the Murray River in the state’s far south, this small luxury hotel features 4m-high pressed metal ceilings and art deco highlights combined with 21st-century amenities, including an Asian-inspired day spa.
At Corynnia Station near Griffith, experience life on a working farm as you stay in one of the eclectic Outback-style accommodation options.
Overlooking the white sands of Hyams Beach at Jervis Bay, contemporary accommodation and old-world hospitality can be found at the new Hyams Beach Bed and Breakfast which has two elegant suites and is across the road from Hyams Beach Cafe. Newcastle’s Bed and Breakfast, a 120-year-old home featuring three elegant guestrooms in the suburb of Lambton, two hours’ drive north of Sydney, gets consistently good reviews from guests.
For self-contained accommodation, The Close in Morpeth on the banks of the Hunter River two hours north of Sydney, is a beautifully renovated boutique-style property that can accommodate up to 12 guests.
Moama on Murray’s Talo Retreat, meanwhile, offers a most unusual stay. Guests are housed in Mongolian yurts, surrounded by the peace and tranquillity of the Murray region. The circular-shaped traditional nomadic dwellings feature canvas walls lined with Australian wool and domed skylights, enabling guests to stargaze from their bed.
And if you simply can’t bear to be separated from your pampered pet during your short break, Ned’s Bed in Clybucca near Kempsey on the Mid North Coast offers a warm welcome to dogs and horses, with stables and dog yards included in the expansive natural bushland in which the property is set. If you’re the artistic type, Kingstudio Creative Stays by the Clarence River combines B&B accommodation with an art gallery, and offers guests the chance to work with a professional artist during special print workshops.