By Renae Leith-Manos
There’s something pretty special about walking to dinner and looking up at the night sky to see it covered with glistening stars. Being a city girl, it’s not a sight I enjoy very often.
But on the way to dinner at Bells Killcare Boutique Hotel, Restaurant and Spa, mesmerised by a sky full of stars, I was reminded of how sweet such simple, authentic moments can be.
And it was far from the only special moment I enjoyed at Bells, one of New South Wales’ most charming places to enjoy a weekend away, just 90 minutes from the CBD.
From an organic vegetable garden to a lap pool, yoga classes and a stunning spa facility, there are enough activities to engage in if you want to focus on health and fitness and explore a piece of Australia.
But it was just as indulgent to peacefully enjoy the cottage-style room which included a huge bath, substantial walk-in shower, and an extensive open plan design with a comfortable lounge area and balcony overlooking the Bouddi Peninsula National Park.
The restaurant is within a beautiful setting, on the edge of rolling green manicured lawns. White picket fence posts and blue and white striped blinds reminded me of New York’s Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard. Charming and elegant, yet relaxed, and a touch romantic.
Leading Australian chef Stefano Manfredi took over the restaurant in 2007, and has stamped his authentic Italian style on every aspect of the menu. The majority of the food is local, most grown in the surrounding gardens, and it is clean and healthy. Local oysters were a highlight, as was the roast suckling pig.
The spa facility adds to the charm and relaxation of Bell’s, and has a distinctive Australian feel. Australian brand Li’tya skincare is used on many treatments. The products contain natural ingredients from Australian plants, and the signature Kodo massage treatment includes a smoking ceremony where dried Australian leaves fill the treatment room with an authentically Australian, relaxing scent. A couples room is available, and every treatment you could wish for is on offer.
Finding the perfect place to stay not too far from Sydney can feel elusive, especially if you want something a bit grown up, but not so luxurious you feel like you can’t chill out. Throw in the desire for some health and fitness and your choices are even more limited.
A weekend at Bells Killcare, located on the central coast has all of this and more.
As I walked back to my cottage following a sublime massage on the last morning of my stay, a kookaburra in a nearby tree caught my eye, and I was reminded how grounding it is to get back to nature – and how fortunate I was to do it in the lap of luxury.
I drove home on cloud nine.
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