Bliss at Bells at Killcare

Looking for a NSW property to really impress? Look no further, Bells at Killcare on the NSW Central Coast is sure to please even the fussiest of travellers, writes lastminute lovely, Nicole.

This post was originally meant to cover all of the details of my weekend on the Central Coast. It became clear as soon as we arrived at the gorgeous five-star Bells at Killcare Boutique Hotel Restaurant & Spa that this was a property deserving of attention not to be shared with anything else.
My biggest challenge? Writing about this amazing stay without being too gushy (not a bad problem to have, you could say). I’ll try but no promises!
Goodbye big smoke…
Escaping work with a Friday afternoon early mark, Mr lastminute lovely (Mr LML for short) and I head for the F3, leaving the big smoke of Sydney behind, ready to indulge in a weekend of relaxation and rejuvenation. Bells at Killcare here we come!
…Hello paradise!

Located around an hour north of Sydney, Bells at Killcare is a boutique hotel like no other I’ve visited. Its style is reminiscent of The Hamptons, the luxury beachside retreat popular with New York’s wealthy crowd.

Home for the weekend… I could get used to this!

While I’ve had a plenty of getaways on the Central Coast, I’ve never ventured to the Bouddi Peninsula. It encompasses the towns of Killcare, Hardy’s Bay, Pretty Beach and Wagstaffe and with ‘Bouddi’ the Aboriginal word for ‘heart’ it’s the perfect spot for a romantic break.
As we turn off into the winding driveway, it feels like we’re arriving at our ridiculously rich relative’s home rather than a hotel to base ourselves for the weekend.
Picture country estate style gardens, manor buildings, nautical inspired blue and white stripes, and a perfect blend of luxury, elegance and sophistication. From the get go we know it’s going to be hard to leave this adults-only retreat.
Living it up
On check-in, we’re super keen to check out our villa and I’m not disappointed.
A new selection of villas was opened in November bringing the total to 25 and we’re lucky enough to be calling one of the new abodes home for the next two days – yeah baby!

Unwind? Don’t mind if I do!

The fact that there is no mobile phone reception in our cabin is a welcome finding (there is complementary Wi-Fi access if emails are a necessity – avoid it if you can, I say).
The king bed is divine, the Ralph Lauren furnishings gorgeous, flat screen TVs in both the living area and bedroom super convenient and the freestanding bath has my name written all over it.

Sigh! Wish I had one of these at home

Every little detail has been thought of, exactly what you want in a holiday and a world away from the often stale feeling of even the most luxurious hotel rooms.
My favourite feature though is the gorgeous balcony which acts as almost an extra room, overlooking a pond (think of it as your own little oasis). Sitting out here with cup of tea first thing in the morning is the ideal way to kick off the day.

Perfect spot for a cup of tea

Not a bad view to wake up to

If getting back to nature is your holiday style, the bushland setting means you share the grounds with ducks (too cute), kookaburras and even rabbits (one bounces across our path one evening, right on cue.)
First stop: the bar
We wander up from our villa, through the grassy green grounds to our dinner date.

Champers? Yes please!

As we venture into the bar, our expectations are high. The award winning wine list provides many temptations but a celebratory champagne is the obvious choice. The bar is cosy and feels a lot like a posh country club that you have to yourself. So far, so good!

I could get very comfortable here

For the love of food
Aside from the amazing property itself, Bells at Killcare is also home to Manfredi at Bells, run by Stefano Manfredi and the proud recipient of One Chef’s Hat in the acclaimed Good Food Guide every year since it started operating in 2008.
The values of Manfredi at Bells – authenticity, simplicity and freshness- shine through on the seasonal menu, inspired by the produce grown in the estate’s vegetable gardens (in fact, when having a quick swim before dinner one evening we witness a chef coming out from the restaurant with a large silver bowl to collect lettuce from the garden! Love it.)

Guarding the gardens

Doesn't get any fresher

In the name of research (of course), we test out plenty of the seasonal menu.
Restaurant Manager Hayley and her team are an absolute delight, providing plenty of useful recommendations.
I’m not exaggerating when I say the sourdough bread (made fresh daily onsite) served with olive oil is up there with one of the tastiest varieties I’ve ever had (seriously, hang the carbs and eat up!)

Next up we share the Misto, a tasting plate that came highly recommended with phenomenal flavours (and impressive presentation).

The entrees of duck breast with currants, walnuts and lemon sauce, and Grilled octopus both feature unique flavour combinations that I’d never tried before but work together brilliantly.

My main is my savoury highlight. The whiting is cooked to perfection and the dish’s delicate flavours and textures combine to create a spectacular main.

Mr LML indulges in the roast suckling pig and from my tasting it too was delicious.


There’s always room for dessert
Thank goodness we have room to indulge with a sweet treat because the desserts are something special.

Mr LML (not really a sweet tooth) chooses the strawberry and mascarpone torta and is immediately hooked.

When in doubt, I’ll always go for chocolate and this mantra served me well at Manfredi at Bells. The Tartufo di Amendei chocolate is ridiculously good. It appears like a truffle and when cracked open provides sweet chocolately goodness. If you’re a dark chocolate lover, this is THE dessert for you.


Work it off
There’s plenty to do on the Central Coast for a weekend away (you can check out all my suggestions here) but the location of Bells at Killcare amongst the bush, makes a bit of outdoor adventure (to burn off all the calories!) an absolute must.
We visit the nearby Bouddi National Park; a good way to shake off the cobwebs after the previous night’s indulgences (there are plenty of bushwalking tracks and we received a map on check-in).

Ready to burn some calories

Back to nature

The lap pool at Bell’s also provides a good opportunity to get active (without working up too much of a sweat!)

Quick dip


Brekky time

Morning has broken!

I have been known to evaluate a getaway by the quality of the breakfast (there’s nothing better than a good hotel brekkie).
Hosted daily in the restaurant in the Manor House, the setting is even more enjoyable in the morning light than it was the night before. The large country style balcony overlooking the immaculate gardens is the perfect spot for reading the papers leisurely with coffee in hand.

Brekky with a view

With continental breakfast included in the accommodation cost, the freshly squeezed OJ, organic granola with yoghurt and fruit (and of course, more of that freshly baked bread) is brekkie perfection.

There is also an a la carte menu. Mr LML’s scrambled eggs with trout hits the spot (items are mostly around the $18 mark – next visit I plan to try the pancakes).


What a view
While it may feel like a world away from the CBD, The Bouddi Peninsula is in fact just across from Sydney Palm Beach (you could catch the Ferry if the F3 doesn’t appeal). We venture to the nearby lookout to check it out for ourselves, spotting Sydney’s landmarks in the distance.

Map highlighting the sights of Sydney

Say cheese!

The verdict
I’m not sure I’ve succeeded in not sounding too gushy but it should be clear at least that my recommendation is to book in a trip to Bells at Killcare for a special getaway, you won’t regret it.

Nicole and Mr LML stayed as guests of Bells at Killcare


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