This luxury resort in the NSW Blue Mountains is filled with kid-friendly features, ANGELA SAURINE writes
“Look mummy!” my two-year-old son Oliver cries, as he runs towards the floor-to-ceiling fish tank in the lobby … and so begins our stay at the Fairmont Resort & Spa Blue Mountains. Luxury and family-friendly are two things I don’t immediately associate, but this property has nailed it, with everything from miniature train rides around the grounds to a merry-go-round and indoor playrooms. Stopping on the way back to our room to press the button to see a model train, which is being restored, is another highlight of our stay. The resort has the feel of a high-end ski lodge, with stone fireplaces, high vaulted ceilings and timber beams. Friendly and accommodating towards families, staff happily grant us late check-out so I can time the drive home around nap time, and speedily process meal orders to combat mischievous and impatient toddlers.
The resort is 1.5 hours’ drive west of Sydney on the edge of the Jamison Valley, in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park. It’s around 13 minutes’ drive to the Echo Point Lookout at Katoomba, which offers views of the famous Three Sisters rock formation.
There are 224 rooms and suites with views of either the bushland valley, or the grounds and gardens. They range from standard rooms, with a choice of either one king bed, two single beds or two queen beds, through to the Grand Luxury Suite, which was designed and built for the Dalai Lama in the lead-up to his Australian tour in 2015. Other offerings include a Family Suite, with two interconnecting bedrooms; one a king bedroom with an ensuite bathroom and the other with two single beds. There’s even a pet-friendly room on the ground floor, which includes a fenced courtyard. If you have small kids, consider requesting a room close to the lifts to save them running (or in my case rolling!) down the long corridor.
There are no shortage of activities to keep the littlies amused, with mini electric car rides, pony rides, a merry-go-round and the popular Fairmont Express Train for children aged 3-12, operating on weekends and during school holidays. The under fours indoor playroom, Dane’s Room (named after the owner’s eldest son), has a jungle gym and slippery dips, while Kids Magic Kingdom has a giant jungle gym for 5 to 13-year-olds. There’s also a mirror maze and arcade games, and a lounge for teens with table tennis and pinball machines. Then there’s the cinema, indoor and outdoor pool, two tennis courts, a basketball court, outdoor gym, and an adventure park for kids over 10-years-old and 1.4m tall to climb through the trees on wires, bridges and towers. Just walking around the grounds and stopping to have morning tea under the willow trees beside the pond spotting ducks, koi fish, dragonflies and butterflies is a delight. An indoor ice-skating rink is also being built, and is expected to open sometime in 2021. The Ubika Day Spa offers the chance for busy parents to relax and rejuvenate, with facials, spa and body rituals and massages, as well as morning yoga classes on weekends and during school holidays. The 18-hole Fairmont Resort and Leura Golf Club, established in 1902, is the oldest course in the Blue Mountains and has beautiful views.
FOOD AND DRINK
There are several restaurants to choose from, all offering kids’ menus. Embers has light fittings made of antlers, and offers magnificent views from soaring floor-to-ceiling windows set around a stone fireplace, while Jamison’s has a terrace that is great for families. Eucalypt Grill offers a more sophisticated dining experience, and The Sublime Lounge serves light refreshments such as cakes, as well as coffee, wine, craft beer and cocktails. The bistro at the Leura Golf Club is also a great option for families, with a menu of clubhouse-style food such as burgers and chicken parmigiana, with views over the 18th green.
A range of bushwalks is accessible from the resort, including the easy Sublime Point Lookout walk, which takes about an hour, and the 45-minute Gladstone Lookout walk. A visit to Scenic World at Katoomba to ride the world’s steepest train, the Scenic Railway, is a must. Walk between the clifftops on the Scenic Skyway, stroll under the canopy of a temperate rainforest on the Scenic Walkway, and glide past ancient sandstone cliffs on the Scenic Cableway. You can also enjoy a picnic in the Megalong Valley, around 30 minutes’ drive away, and take a dip in one of its inviting swimming holes.
The writer was a guest of Fairmont Resort & Spa Blue Mountains, MGallery by Sofitel.
FAIRMONT RESORT & SPA BLUE MOUNTAINS, MGALLERY BY SOFITEL
1 Sublime Point Rd, Leura, NSW, 2780
(02) 4785 0000