Recently Carl and I left Sydney for a weekend in the Blue Mountains, a 90-minute drive from Sydney. Carl had been asked to speak at a function being held at the sensational Lilianfels Resort. In usual style we began packing two hours after we were already supposed to have arrived so we threw a few things into a suitcase, packed an overnight bag for Alfie, rushed him to my parents house where we dropped him and his suitcase at the bottom of the driveway, took off in the car and phoned the uni students to say we’d be back in 24 hours. Nicely done.
We hadn’t been in the car for more than a few minutes when I asked, ‘Did you fill up the car with petrol?’
‘Oh, no, I didn’t have time’.
‘Well do we need any?’
‘Yeah, it’s on empty’. If you think Carl always drives around on empty you’d be completely correct. It drives me crazy. We were now on the M2 and had just paid $5.50 for the privilege. We had to exit the M2 to fill up the petrol tank then pay another $5.50 to get back on the same road we’d just exited.
Then Carl confessed to not having actually made time to write the speech he would be delivering in just a few hours. You might be wondering what Carl does all day. I certainly do. So I took out my lap top and bashed out a speech with him while he drove us to Lilianfels.
If you haven’t been to Lilianfels you really must put it on your wish list. We have been there on one previous occasion and I just love it.
Lilanfels is in Echo Point at Katoomba. Sir Frederick Darley bought the land in 1888 and had a house designed for him as his summer residence. He named the home, ‘Lilianfels’ after his daughter, Lilian, who was battling tuberculosis. It was an extremely grand and spacious home surrounded in wonderful established gardens.
Years later the property was sold and re-sold and sold again with the state of the home and gardens deteriorating with every subsequent owner. In 1987 Lilianfels was purchased by an Australian company that restored the house and gardens and built a country styled guest house on adjoining land. The new building was opened in 1992 with the original home being re-named Darleys which is the resort’s main restaurant.
There are 81 guest rooms and four suites within the country house. Facilities include a reading room, billiard room, lobby lounge with three fireplaces, Lilians Restaurant, an indoor swimming pool, conference rooms, health club with gymnasium, sauna, steam rooms, spas, beauty and massage rooms. Pity we were only there for one night.
On our way to Lilianfels I checked the weather for Katoomba and found it was sitting between 4 degrees (39F) and just 13 degrees (55F). I was so relieved I’d packed my coat. When you swing into the driveway there is valet parking and porters are there to take your bags. We were shown straight up to our room that was spacious with a king-sized bed. I did notice when I entered the room that it was on the chilly side and you could feel cold air coming in through the closed window. The porter said he would turn up the air-conditioning that was positioned on 19C (66F) and he cranked it up to a more suitable 25C (77F).
Of course disregarding the size and appearance of the room, the one thing everyone wants to know about is the wi-fi. I intended on using the internet via my phone but I’m with Vodafone and couldn’t get any mobile reception. I then tried the i-pad and that’s with Telstra and couldn’t get a bar of reception with that either. Wi-fi is available from the hotel but it’s not free. It’s $5.00/hour or $20.00/24 hours which is less expensive than other places I’ve stayed and the connection is simple, easy and speedy.
The bathroom is a lovely size with a deep bath and a separate shower (always so much better than a shower over the bath). And perhaps I’m ageing but I found that magnifying mirror above the vanity so handy for applying my makeup. We only had a few minutes before we had to be at the dinner where Carl was guest of honour so Carl went down to reception to print the speech and I had a shower. It was then that I realised that in my hurry to pack I’d forgotten not only all my skincare but also deodorant. Probably a good thing this was only a mini-break.
We had a quick drink at the bar before heading to Darleys Restaurant that is situated in the original homestead. Carl had a Cascade Light for $9.50 and I had a glass of Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc for $16.00. We then buttoned up our coats to head into the cold and walk the 100mtrs or so to the restaurant.
The company that had invited Carl had booked the entire restaurant and so it was a private function and we were presented with a menu with three choices for entree, main course and dessert. The food was incredible but I didn’t take any images as didn’t feel it would be appropriate. Carl delivered his speech and received great applause so I’m counting that as a big success.
After a very memorable and fabulous meal we walked back to the guest house and entered our room. Sadly, it was still an ice box. I rang reception and the man said he would be up in a few minutes to deliver some blankets. When he arrived he apologised profusely advising the hotel had recently spent millions upgrading the air conditioning but sadly there were a few rooms where it wasn’t working and would only blow out cold air.
I piled the extra blankets onto the bed then went under the covers. I have to say the bed was so comfortable. It had one of those fluffy things you sink into when you lie down making you feel like you’re floating. I slept so well I wondered how we could strap that mattress to the roof of my car and drive off with it.
I had a relaxing time on the Sunday morning wandering around Lilianfels soaking up the view and observing everything the resort has to offer. It was such a shame we couldn’t have experienced this special part of the mountains for more than 24 hours.
Perhaps next time.
Lilianfels Resort and Spa, Lilianfels Avenue, Katoomba +612 4780 1200