It’s usually a good omen when your taxi goes down a really, really long drive, and you’re met with a smile and a glass of champagne. So it begins at Spicers Sangoma Retreat, an eco-retreat in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales that has just six suites and an all-inclusive policy.
We sip our bubbly in their living room which overlooks the natural landscape of the foot of the mountains: it’s instantly calming. While Sydney is visible on a clear day, this feels a world away from the city already. Carefully chosen books on art, fashion and photography are dotted around the room which decorated in warm natural hues, with plenty of leather, skins and wood giving the feel of a very luxurious lodge.
Downstairs, the open-plan restaurant is hosting quiet, content looking couples for lunch (this is an adults-only hotel, we are assured). For both lunch and dinner, the accent is on fresh, organic, seasonal produce sourced from local farmers: we have a few choices for lunch while the evening menu is a set four course with accompanying wines – all well-chosen and well-received.
The chef says a cheerful hello; despite its expansive grounds this is an intimate place where the staff know exactly who’s who among their guests – many of whom are honeymooners or celebrating special anniversaries. There’s an infinity lap pool with a stunning view, as well as a separate sauna, but we’re keen to see our room.
Our suite is a short walk from the main building along a gravel path surrounded by native bush. I say ‘suite’ but it’s more of a small house: a stand-alone building with a terrace, a living room area and a kitchen as well as a large bed, a deep bath and a shower, all overlooking the trees and a respectable distance from the next property should you wish to bathe with the blinds open (the only doors are for the wardrobe and toilet, which seems fair).
There’s a DVD player in the suite and a box of movies to rummage through in the living room, though we make sure we take the opportunity to roam the grounds, despite the fact that we’ve arrived on a rare rainy day. It all feels quite rugged and exploratory, despite being a five star hotel. If you don’t fancy going it alone, Spicers also offer guided nature walks, mountain biking and night-time wildlife spotting as well as excursions to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden and Tobruk Sheep Station.
It’s somewhere we could stay a week or more, but one day and night is enough to feel very pampered, relaxed and close to nature. If you’re hitting Sydney, it’s well worth coming out here for a breather and a dose of luxury in the wild.
Tell me more about Spicers Sangoma Retreat
Prices at the all-inclusive Spicers Sangoma Retreat start from $1,299 per night and include; luxury accommodation, light lunch for two (on arrival or daily), dinner for two, gourmet breakfast for two, all beverages during your stay and full mini bar.
Spicers can arrange transfers with Dynamic Limousines who provide a very comfortable and efficient service. You can also take the train to Richmond from Sydney, and take a cab or transfer from there.