Sometimes a holiday comes out of desire, and other times it’s a product of necessity. For anyone who’s lived through the 2020 we’ve had (Covid-19, bushfires and that US election), taking a break from life seems like a prerequisite to staying mentally sane. And while a road trip down the coast or booking into an Airbnb with friends are all wonderful antidotes to the 2020 blues, sometimes one just needs to escape — like, really get away from it. And without being able to leave the country, or even the state at times, it pays to have luxury, all-inclusive options closer to home.
It’s something Australia isn’t often as known for, especially when compared to the likes of Europe and Asia, which is teeming with uber-luxe spots to unwind and escape to. It isn’t that Australia is short on luxury stays, but only a handful offer the sort of total-relaxation-everything’s-included mentality that’s easy to find in the likes of Bali or Capri. However, settled in the bush just an hour and a half from Sydney you’ll find just that.
To call Pretty Beach House a hidden gem would do it a disservice. It’s not like the four-villa hotel-cum-residence is hiding — in fact, it’s been around since 2015 for those in the know — but upon entry it really does feel like you’ve stepped into an alternate world, one where you’ve suddenly become concealed from the everyday and the biggest problem is deciding which homemade pastry to choose for breakfast. In other words, utter relaxation awaits.
Nestled high in the trees above Pretty Beach in New South Wales’ Bouddi National Park, each of the four residences on the property feels innately private and completely secluded. Each has spacious, comfortable rooms which feel more like your wealthy friend’s best guesthouse than a traditional hotel, and views of the surrounding bush and Bouddi waterways are included with all. In three, private plunge pools mean there’s hardly any reason to leave your room — and when artisanal cheese boards can be delivered at all hours and there’s fresh gin and tonic provided in-room, why would one want to?
But venturing out into the communal spaces isn’t too bad, either. There’s a shared dining area — with the best view in the house and a communal infinity pool — where the private chef serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner, each to impeccable standards. From the aforementioned freshly made croissants and danishes which are on hand for the AM (baked in-house at sister property Bells At Killcare), followed by a share plate lunch and then a degustation dinner, you won’t be short on sustenance. And with a focus on fresh, local produce (the honey was a standout), everything feels like it’s been produced, caught or bought just for you. Which it kind of has, really. Add to this the impressive wine list, which harks all the way from France to the coast’s own Hunter Valley backyard, and the mealtimes certainly aren’t dull. And did we mention it’s all included in the room rate?