Destination: Australian Lodges
Pretty Beach House
An hour and a half drive north of Sydney is a set of properties known as Bells owned by Australian ad mogul John Singleton. (Check out Bells and Bells Beach House) The jewel of them is one of the smallest five-star hotels in the world. Pretty Beach House is named not for a beach; it doesn’t sit on one but rather high up in a eucalyptus forest with views through the trees to the Brisbaine waters or bay. The town where it is located is called Pretty Beach, which is where the name comes from.
The seven-acre estate, which resembles a magical forest garden with foot paths through a lush landscape, was created as a private home. Mr. Singleton bought the property, where the main house now serves as a sort of clubhouse for the six guests who stay in the three tree-house like guest rooms. Each is different and set apart for maximum privacy with their own living and bedrooms as well as porches with hot tubs. Guests gather in the great room at the main house for meals, which are prepared by a gourmet chef trained by Australian celebrity chef Stefano Manfredi. Dinner may consist of five exquisite courses or something simple; it is as you wish. In addition to the always-on-call chef, the attentive staff includes a butler, though the word is way too formal to capture the warmth of the incredibly capable woman who was running things when we stayed. She appeared with a smile whenever we showed up at the main house, suggested activities and meals and coordinated our group seamlessly so whether you woke up early or slept in late, breakfast pastries were warm and the newspapers were laid out.
There are various bush walks in the area, including one from the house that leads down to a private beach and another that follows cliffs connecting two coves. The staff will accompany you or send you off with a backpack, trail maps, water and their phone number so you can call when you want to be collected. One day they arranged for a beach lunch down at their sister property Bells Beach House so after my hike, we could spend the afternoon walking on the beach or lounging on the deck of the Beach House, eating our lunch with a spectacular view of the water.
Most people, and most are couples, who come to Pretty Beach rarely leave the property though. They hole up in the tree-house hideaways and enjoy the privacy and peace of being tucked into the eucalypt trees with the wilderness outside (a large lizard and numerous kookaburras often show up at breakfast) and every comfort inside.
Why Go To stay in one of three deluxe tree-houses in the Australian bush with beaches nearby and a butler and chef on call. This is Sydneysiders’ version of the Post Ranch Inn.
Who Should Go: Couples seeking a very private and pampered experience.
Who Should Not Go: Families with children under the age of 12 and those seeking a scene with easy access to other people and activities. The property is very secluded and part of its charm is how remote and private it feels. Children are only welcome when the entire property is taken over, but families who have stayed, love it.
Getting There: There are numerous ways to arrive at Pretty Beach. The drive from Sydney takes about an hour and a half to two hours depending on the traffic. Alternatively, it is possible to arrive by helicopter, seaplane or boat from Sydney, which take a bit over a half hour.
Indagare Tip: For families who want to be on the beach, the owners have just opened the wonderful Bells Beach House, a three-bedroom house right on Killcare beach.
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