As much as I love living in Bondi – and love it I do – like everywhere, from London to LA, sometimes it’s nice to get away from the familiar in exchange for adventures anew. While the beach on my doorstep is undeniably beautiful, it does bring with it a year round buzz of tourists and travellers, which means that whenever I book a weekend away, serenity and solitude are high on my wish-list.
I first came across Bells at Killcare on Instagram, and loved the look of their freestanding copper baths and stunning garden villas. Boasting a semi-rural location in the heart of the central coast, this beautiful boutique hotel looked like the perfect place for a weekend retreat from Sydney. We left on a sunny Sunday morning, and, despite it being the middle of winter were spoilt with balmy temperatures and the sort of sunshine more synonymous with spring.
Nestled against the backdrop of Bouddi National Park and Maitland Bay, with surf beaches and walking trails a-plenty, Bells at Killcare is just ninety minutes north of Sydney and offers guests the perfect fusion of country retreat and coastal chic. We arrived in the early afternoon sunshine, and enjoyed a relaxing drink inside the Manor House, taking in the sun dappled stretch of grounds before making our way to our two storey deluxe cottage. The boudoirs at Bells at Killcare are set a short walk (or drive) from the main house, amid eight acres of pretty English-style gardens, and many of them overlook the on-site lake. Boasting a Hamptons-esque vibe, stylish interiors, a downstairs decking, upstairs balcony, stand alone bath and king-sized bed, we soon decided against exploring the nearby beaches and walking trails, instead opting to make the most of our room by enjoying a lazy afternoon on the balcony.
In addition to the perfectly manicured lawn, Bells at Killcare features a shimmering turquoise swimming pool, flanked by sun-loungers and umbrellas and a generously stocked honestly bar, housed in a navy Kombi Van. After deciding on a bottle of chilled prosecco, we made out way back to our cottage for some sundowners on the balcony, where we enjoying the dying daylight, cosied up under blankets and basking in the serenity and solitude of our surrounds.
Dinner at the Manor House was a decadent affair; bedecked with nautical touches, chandeliers and flickering candles, the ambience of the restaurant was both relaxed and elegant, and the food was flavoursome and beautifully presented: we started with seared scallops with cauliflower, guanciale, pea tendrils, roast garlic & anchovy, followed by potato gnocchi with gorgonzola cream, rocket, walnut & chive and our main was herb crusted blue eye cod with garden chard, tomato, caper & olive. To finish: a mouthwatering chocolate pudding, which was even better than it looked. Satiated and merry, we strolled back to the cottage under a star speckled sky, and fell asleep with the balcony doors open, the cool night air a perfect contrast to the warmth of the bed.
As readers of this blog will know, mornings are my favourite part of day, and waking up to the early morning sun streaked across our balcony, and the cold bite of the breeze billowing in our curtains made for the perfect start to our day. After reading in bed accompanied by copious cups of tea, we dressed for breakfast and meandered back to the Manor House where we settled in to the sun drenched conservatory to eat. As well as an inviting buffet that consisted of pastries, chia pots, fresh fruit, cheeses and meats, Bells at Killcare offer a hot menu, and – unable to choose just two options – the waitress kindly allowed us three, and so we feasted on a twice baked cheese soufflé with smoked salmon, French toast with caramelised bananas and poached eggs with house-made labna, chilli oil & almond crumb.
We enjoyed a final cup of tea on the balcony of our cottage before checking out, and decided that en route back to Sydney we would explore the local area a bit more. Just a short drive from Hardy’s Bay – a picture-perfect Australian coastal village with unrivalled views of the water, bays and waterways that weave around this part of the coast out to Ettalong Beach and Daleys Point. Boasting a rustic pier, a small bistro-cum-deli, a sweet little eatery called The Fat Goose, and a simple shoreline freckled with boats, it’s quintessential Australia at its very best, and the perfect example of the endless small pockets of beauty the country has to offer.
While Bells at KIllcare may be a classic country retreat, its proximity to the water and the nautical touches throughout is what not only establishes it as a hotel in its own league, but also pays such wonderful homage to its Central Coast location. Tranquil and soothing in ambience, its leafy locale and rooms with views offer guests the comfort of a home away from home, without compromising on style or luxury. A sumptuous slice of serenity that feels a million miles away from Sydney, Bells at Killcare is a dream destination for anyone wanting to escape the city for some serious rest and relaxation.
Bells at Killcare Boutique Hotel, Restaurant & Spa
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