Destination: Australian Lodges
Bells at Killcare
The linchpin property of the Bells collection of hotels (read about Pretty Beach House and The Beach House at Bells), Bells at Killcare is reminiscent of a country house hotel in England or a property like Meadowood in Napa. It sits on twenty-four manicured acres on the Bouddi Peninsula, about two-hours drive north of Sydney on Australia’s Central Coast.
The heart and soul of the property is its famous Manfredi restaurant, named after Sydney celebrity chef Stefano Manfredi, the undisputed king of contemporary Italian cuisine in Australia. Manfredi, which occupies the main manor house, draws foodies from around the country and has made Bells a popular wedding venue for smart Sydneysiders. Gardens surround the house, including one dedicated to roses and another kitchen garden that Manfredi and his team have planted. (It provides 15% of the produce for the restaurant.)
There’s a chic new spa annex off of the main house for pampering as well as a lovely pool surrounded by loungers and umbrellas. Guestrooms are set in twenty-five clapboard cottages spread over the property. Some of the most popular are two-storeys, but all feature a quintessential Hamptons beach look with wood floors, sisal carpets, big comfy chairs upholstered in nautical blue stripes and cute touches like pillows on the beds that say Unwind or Relax. Outside are porches with wicker furniture and climbing vines and views to the grounds.
Most guests spend their days on the property or exploring the bush walks of Bouddi peninsula or Killcare beach, which is only a five-minute drive. The staff will send you off with a picnic, trail maps and beach towels and welcome you back for dinner at the best restaurant in the region only steps from your room.
Who Should Stay: Couples or families looking for a weekend escape from Sydney.
Getting There: There are numerous ways to arrive at Killcare. 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.
Bells Beach House
The Beach House, which sits just steps from the sands of Killcare beach, has stunning views of the waves and the beach scene from its upper deck. The house was built for Australian ad tycoon John Singleton who now has it managed by Bells and shares it with others (read about other Bells properties: Pretty Beach House and Bells at Killcare).
The contemporary beach house, which would fit right in on the Malibu Coast, has three main bedrooms and a bunkroom so it can sleep up to six adults and four kids, but must be rented in its entirety. (There’s also a little bungalow in the front of the house with another bedroom. That can be rented separately.) The compound is ideal for a large family or families traveling together. Well-known Aussie decorator Chrissie Jeffery masterminded the Australian surfer chic interiors. Two surfboards actually hang on one wall of the upstairs great room. There is a wonderful open plan on the second floor with a dining area, living room and kitchen all merged into one space and spilling out onto a vast deck facing the beach.
The décor throughout is classic beach house with wood floors, driftwood and wicker furniture mixed in with large squashy couches and club chairs perfect for sinking into after a day in the sun. Practical touches include spare Havianas in every room and a laundry room on the first floor stocked with thick striped beach towels. With gorgeous Killcare beach steps away, a national park laced with walking trails in sight and the ferry to Palm Beach nearby, there are loads of activities just out the front door but the laid-back atmosphere really invites chilling out and returning to the lazy days of childhood summers.
Note: The house does not come with a staff but Bells will provide housekeeping and catering on request.
Who Should Go: Families or friends looking for a blissful beach holiday on their own.
Who Should Not Go: Those who want the full-services of a hotel.
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