48 hours in one of Australia’s most luxurious resorts and it’s just one hour from Sydney

Originally published by Vogue, 17 December 2017

It’s bucket list-worthy.

Checking in to Pretty Beach House truly feels like checking into paradise. The experience really begins with the scenic drive, twisting and turning through the stunning leafy Bouddi National Park as you get closer to the luxury hotel and only really ending when you drive back down the cement driveway and out of the gates on your journey home. Located 90 minutes out of Sydney, Pretty Beach House is set in NSW’s divine Bouddi Peninsula surrounded by the National Park, with certain parts of the property built high enough to look out over the sparkling Brisbane Water. This private guest house, hidden away on the Central Coast, is one of the most luxurious hotels in Australia. Whether you’re after a romantic getaway or a place to recharge alone, here’s what you can expect on a 48 hour stay at this very special property.

On arrival you are personally checked in by one of the hotel’s roaming staff members – who you become very familiar with. After all, Pretty Beach House has just four guest houses, so it’s a very intimate space. Guests are greeted with a welcome drink and walked around the property, as well as privately escorted to your room as the hotel staff helpfully point out the various features.

The hotel staff explained the idea behind the hotel is for guests to feel like they can settle in and make themselves at home, so the property also has a central area (pictured here) in the main house. Here, there’s a lounge room, dining room, fully staffed open kitchen with a chef’s table, a self-serve bar and a pool attached that all guests can use.

The stunning leafy setting offers complete tranquility. Here, one of the guest houses nestled into the National Park, as seen from the main house.

The one-bedroom guest room known as the Hideaway Pavilion boasts a large living space, complete with a king bed, a walk-in wardrobe, lounge room, desk and bathroom, as well as an ever-stocked mini bar. Guests can call to the main house for in-room dining, which includes wine and alcohol, all included in the stay. In fact, all meals and drinks are included in the experience.

The luxurious cast iron slipper bath is a special touch. The bathroom floors are heated and this room also hosts a twin shower.

The private outdoor deck with a double day bed and plunge pool can be accessed via the bathroom or the main room.

It’s all in the details: bespoke candles, bath salts and lush Italian towels on offer in the room.

After settling in, head up to the main house where lunch is served daily, you simply arrive between 12pm and 2pm to dine at your leisure. Guests can help themselves from the fully stocked bar as they dine on a seasonal menu overlooking the stunning views.

The cuisine at Pretty Beach House is worth the visit in itself. The Italian-inspired menu by executive chef Dean Jones is pure culinary heaven and lunch itself is two courses.

However, guests can also personally ask the chef on duty for whatever fare they feel like – during this stay guests dined on a pizza lunch after it was requested the day prior by a fellow guest.

The menu changes daily too.

Even lunch is finished off with a dessert.

After lunch, take a stroll through the property or down to the foreshore path at Hardys Bay. Feeling adventurous? The hotel also offers bush walks, with a special packed lunch available on request so you can dine on a picnic blanket overlooking the National Park and Brisbane Water after your coastal walk.

Unsure of where the afternoon should take you? Simply ask. Throughout the entire stay, the staff are exceptional, no request is a problem and everything can be accommodated. In fact, you’ll interact with the staff so much they start to feel like family – unless you want some time out of course, and then the do-not-disturb sign is respected so that you can switch off and relax.

Guests can also unwind with a fully functional day spa on site at the resort. Try out a one hour Kodo massage, using special indigenous-inspired techniques or get glowing with a professional facial. The spa offers botanical products courtesy of beauty brand Li’tya.

After dressing for dinner, enjoy a glass of champagne and canapés as you are guided through an indigenous smoking ceremony. This ritual is extremely cleansing and is a memorable moment of the stay.

Dinner is served in the main house (unless you opt for it in your room!) and each night is a five-course degustation dinner with paired wines. Like lunch, the chef begins preparing it whenever you arrive at the dining room. After all, the staff at Pretty Beach House want you to truly relax – no deadlines, no rushing and definitely no alarms the next morning!

Guests can also opt to dine at the chef’s table, where they’ll be taken through each course personally as it’s cooked. Wherever you choose to dine, trust us, the food is so good, you won’t want to leave.

After a restful night’s sleep, you wake to a delicious and healthy seasonal breakfast. First, the staff will serve you a continental element with spreads, fruit salad and breads, before you are able to select from a hot menu – think eggs any way with your choice of add ons. The staff are incredibly accommodating, so guests can always request whatever they wish, with the chef going above and beyond to please.

Now you’re ready to do it all again.

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