Australian Lodges: Where to Stay: Family Friendly: Bells at Killcare
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.— Melissa Biggs Bradley 05/07/2012