My daughter Natalia says that the Blue Mountains are her favourite place in the whole world. With the school holidays coinciding with Christmas in July celebrations at Fairmont Resort & Spa, we decided upon a Dad and daughter holiday in this very special place two hours west of Sydney.
On a crisp Autumn mid-week afternoon we arrived at the Fairmont Resort & Spa and the hotel was buzzing with activity. As we walked through the lobby to check in we admired all the Yulefest decorations including a Christmas tree draped in lights with gifts, reindeers and cute little penguins adding to the festive scene. Natalia loved it!
The hotel’s vibe was magical with the air infused with the cosy aroma of a wood fire and we felt like we had checked into an exotic ski chalet. Our fellow guests were rugged up in winter jackets, scarfs and beanies which added to the cool mountain atmosphere.
Formalities were dispensed with readily, despite us arriving an hour before official check-in time. Before we went to our room we booked a series of activities for the coming days. The friendly concierge gave us an overview of all the hotel activities, as well as some tips for kid-friendly lookouts, hiking and biking trails. We scheduled times for breakfasts, dinners, pony rides, train rides, arcades and the swimming pool. Due to Covid-19, all activities had to be booked in advance to ensure compliance with social distancing and to allow hotel staff to clean the areas properly. The Fairmont recently launched an ALLSAFE Label to meet stringent cleaning standards, which gave me peace of mind.
Our large suite had a great view over the valley, and after unpacking, we set out to explore the expansive hotel grounds. The Fairmont is being upgraded with improvements to landscaped gardens, a pond populated with fish and ducks, there’s new tennis and basketball courts, an outdoor and horse stables. There is also a high-ropes adventure course that looked very challenging, though unfortunately Natalia was too young to participate (for kids aged 10 and above).
Natalia and I however did play basketball, looked in on the ponies Diego and Blossom, ran around in the picturesque maze garden, looked at the Koi fish in the pond, then raced back to the hotel for her ride around the property in the Fairmont Express Train. She loved the train so much she rode it every day we were there.
Each day during our 3-day stay was filled with some kind of adventure. We woke up bright and early and were usually the first ones in Embers restaurant, getting to sit right by the massive and very cozy fireplace overlooking the majestic Blue Mountains beyond. Outdoors it was a nippy 2C, with the mist just rolling off Jamison valley below. It was amazing. Breakfast was abundant (no buffet option due to Covid-19 unfortunately), and the staff really took great care and effort to give us personalised and attentive service.
We combined our stay with hikes along the Three Sisters, where Natalia wanted to walk all the way down the Giant Staircase, conveniently forgetting that we also had to walk back up! No visit to the Blue Mountains would be complete without a few hours spent at Scenic world and the exciting Scenic Railway. We also visited Katoomba and Leura, had hot chocolate at The Gingerbread House, rode our bikes and took in the scenic valley views from Sublime Point near the hotel.
Other times we enjoyed staying at the Fairmont, swimming in the heated indoor pool every day and sometimes had the whole place to ourselves. Natalia could’ve easily stayed there all day.
Each evening after dinner in the Club House or indulging in room service, we would go to the movies in the auditorium or play games in the Arcade room until we ran out of coins.
Despite the unusual circumstances of holidaying during Covid-19, we had a fantastic stay which reminded us both why the Blue Mountains continue to be one of our favourite places in the whole world.