After our short Asia sojourns for National Day and Chung Yeung Festival, it’s time to pick where to kick back over Christmas or Chinese New Year… And with a week or more usually at our disposal for both celebrations, Australia poses the perfect getaway! The hotel-hunters based in Mr & Mrs Smith’s Melbourne office have selected three locations that showcase some of Australia’s don’t-miss hotspots, including the urban glamour of Sydney, the wilderness that is the Wolgan Valley (which lies just 150km west of Sydney) and the nature-lover’s paradise of Jervis Bay, where you can go walkabout without compromising on comfort, following a scenic road trip from Sydney. So pack your gladrags, stock up on mossie spray and prepare to be wowed by outback luxe in the Wolgan Valley, fabulous bars and spas in Sydney and whale sightings in Jervis Bay…
Best for: Outback luxury, spoiling spa treatments and valley views
Style Outback Ultra-luxe
Setting No expense spared
With access to more than 4,000 acres of pristine wilderness and a rugged backdrop of sandstone cliffs frequently cloaked in mist, Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa takes outback accommodation to the next level with its sumptuous private villas and world-class spa. Designed in the classic Australian Federation style of wood and stone, the three suite types each have their own private pools: book the one-bed Heritage Suite King for a romantic break, the two-bed Wollemi for family fun and the self-contained Wolgan for parties up to six.
Peckish? Head over to the Wolgan Dining Room, where roaring fireplaces and expansive valley views are served up alongside dishes like smoked duck breast in confit orange and spiced rum jus, and truffled leek risotto with grana padano, gremolata and confit garlic. Want to sample the best local seasonal ingredients? Order the six-course tasting menu, where each dish is paired with a regional wine.
After a morning horse riding or strolling amid the unspoiled outback, seek out the sublime confines of the Timeless Spa, where the four-hour signature experience – which includes salt-therapy exfoliation and an Australian mineral facial – will take you to dinner and a cocktail at the Valley Bar & Terrace Lounge, which also hosts a walk-in wine cellar. Bottoms up!
SASSY SAVING: Book with Smith and and get access to a Romance Package, including all meals with non-alcoholic drinks, a bottle of Bollinger champagne, chocolate indulgence and petals on arrival, as well as two on-site nature based activities per person. The offer ends 1 January 2014.
Best for: Culture vultures, fashionistas and partying ’til dawn
Style Theatrical temptress
Setting Sydney’s happening heart
Aspiring urbanites will adore QT Sydney, a 200-room property carved out of the historic State Theatre and Gowings Department Store buildings that blends Gothic and Art Deco styles for architectural wow. All the boutique bedrooms pass muster with the fashion set, thanks to the vibrant hits of colour coolly accessorised with throws, rugs, modern lounge chairs and quirky light fixtures such as bowler hat pendant lamps.
Three needn’t be a crowd, as all rooms and suites feature space for one rollaway bed (you’ll just have to fight for the glorious king-size). DIY martini kits will help you get the party started before hitting the Gilt Lounge, where cocktails including the Millionaire #1 and Widow’s Kiss are mixed up until 2am on the weekends.
Pre-or post-party, gents can get a shave or facial at SpaQ’s old-school barbers; gals can grab a 30-minute Petite Hand Pamper or Twinkle Toes for night-on-the-town-perfect nails. Pep yourself up the next day with a caffeine hit from Parlour Lane Roaster’s Café next door, or work your way through the coffee varieties with your own Nespresso pod if you can’t face leaving your pad. With room service at your beck and call 24 hours of the day, there’s really no need if you don’t want to…
Best for: Walkabout, watersports and whale-spotting
Style Barefoot bush luxury
Setting South coast sanctuary
Surrounded by paperbark and eucalyptus trees, eco-retreat Paperbark Camp presents 12 tree-fringed tents in Jervis Bay, where kangas bounce and mynas tweet at this luxe tented camp, with Jervis Bay’s closest beaches just four kilometres away.
Elegantly perched on raised decking and equipped with a private wrap-around balcony, hardwood floors and a queen-size bed, the Original Safari Tent is a far cry from the typical camping experience. The Deluxe Safari Tent also ramps up the glamping factor, with an outdoor lounge area (get your binoculars ready!) and freestanding bath.
Paperbark’s dining experience is similarly high-end, with all wannabe Crocodile Dundees catered for at the Gunyah, where yellowfin tuna tartare and five-texture chocolate cake are among the menu must-tries. You’ll have no problem burning off all those moreishly calorific dinners, as bush treks, kayaking at nearby Currambene Creek and cycling down to Jervis for whale- and dolphin-watching are just some of the high-energy pursuits on offer. Back at the ranch, swap your bush stories (and keep an eye out for possums) with new friends around the campfire over cheese and wine, before retiring to the balcony for a spot of stargazing.
SASSY SAVING: Book with Smith to enjoy the South Coast Extreme Explorer Two Night Package, which includes breakfast, three-course dinner in the Gunyah treetop dining room each night, a two-hour dolphin cruise on Jervis Bay, a gourmet picnic lunch, entry to Illawara Fly treetop walk and other perks. The offer ends 31 December 2013.
To experience Australia’s urban chic and naturalistic beat – plus stunning properties globally – visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 800 905 326.