Lilianfels, Blue Mountains

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.

The front entrance of the original homestead, now Darleys

The front entrance of the original homestead, now Darleys Restaurant

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.

Never mind.

Our room

Our room

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.

I wish I'd had more time to wear out the welcome mat

I wish I’d had more time to wear out the welcome mat

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.

Side view of Darleys Restaurant that was once the family residence

Darleys Restaurant that was once the family residence

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.

The garden in between the pool and the original homestead

The garden in between the pool and the original homestead

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.

The outdoor swimming pool - no takers at this time of year.

The outdoor swimming pool – no takers at this time of year.

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).

The entrance to 'Lilianfels' now Darleys

The entrance to ‘Lilianfels’ now Darleys Restaurant

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.

An old out-house that is now the gymnasium

An old out-house that is now the gymnasium

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.


Ensuite with the magnifying mirro

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 lounge where high teas are served

The lounge where you can enjoy a drink or perhaps a high tea

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.

The indoor heated pool

The indoor heated pool

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.

Never mind.

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.


Complimentary towels at the indoor pool and a big clock so you don’t lose track of the time

The Games Room

The Games Room

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



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  1. I slept in one of those types of bed once, in Las Vegas, it was the best 5 nights sleep of my life ( or maybe it was knowing that I wasn’t paying the bill for the trip)
    Looks like you had a relaxing mini vac. They are a great energy booster and it always helps when the location is beautiful and the hotel, luxurious!

    Nazneen xx

  2. I love how you BASHED out a speech on the way! And lilianfels was stunning, that long verandah.. fantastic..c

  3. Gorgeous resort. Perhaps in another lifetime. I loved that the garden still has a bit of a casual look to it and is not manicured to the nth degree.

  4. I could easily escape to a place like this. The gardens, the room, all, appear quite inviting. Great that you saved the day for Carl w/ the gas and the speech.

  5. Sounds like a great place! I’d have been in a panic, though, if I had left the speech writing until the last minute! Fun post – thanks.

  6. What a charming place. I love the old-fashioned look of it–looks perfect. Great, fun post as well.

  7. Haha I loved your totally organised beginning 😉
    What a beautiful resort to stay in, I love the simplicity and the beautiful room!

    Choc Chip Uru

  8. Sounds like when me and my husband try to go somewhere! Haha Looks like a nice weekend getaway nevertheless 🙂

  9. I’ve never been there, but it sounds like you had a much needed get away with handsome Carl, Charlie! So nice to see you relaxing, love (petrol and speeches notwithstanding :)). xx

  10. I can see you two in the car with you scolding about the petrol while you bashed out the speech. There’s Carl driving the car and pretending not to pay any attention to you. 🙂

    What a lovely resort! I’d want to stay more than 24 hours too. Bugger about the heat though. I wouldn’t be happy with that.

  11. I love the porches!

  12. When Will and I got back from Europe a few years ago we literally went from the airport, home for a shower and straight out to buy a big fluffy doona. We were so spoilt with them on our trip we couldn’t bare to use our old one!
    Glad the speech was a success but a shame you couldn’t stay longer.

  13. Hi Charlie, myself and three other mum pals once spent a day at the spa at Lilianfels, heaven. It was about 8 or 9 years ago and we were all totally exhausted, we were all in hard years of doing early intervention with our kids with autism spectrum, talk about frazzled.

    We didn’t stay there, just spend a day luxuriating… would love to stay. I’m off to Katoomba to do a talk about autism and twins this weekend, will pack woollies… and now must get back to writing the talk!

  14. Any overnight getaway without the kids is precious – even if just for a night. 🙂 This looks like a great place for a getaway. Perfectly serene – and grown up. Glad you had a good jaunt.

  15. I love reading about your unexpected adventures. I remember sleeping in a bed like that in Germany when I was a kid. Funny how you remember those things. Can’t believe you DIDN’T strap it onto the car and bring it home!

  16. What, no porcelain dolls in the bedroom?! Though I guess my bed and breakfast in Thunder Bar didn’t have a pool, so maybe we’re even.

  17. What a lovely escape. Sounds like you enjoyed yourself. Nothing worse than a cold room though is there. I will have to be in the audience one day when Carl delivers a speech…he sounds like the man of the moment , A talented family x

  18. I read this late last night and pulled my covers over me as I could feel the chill from your description! Isn’t that strange how some rooms just don’t get warm? I would imagine that’s quite crucial for an area like the Blue Mountains. I loved the food at Darley’s, it was such a gorgeous place too.

  19. Sound like my kind of place Charlie – minus the cold that is.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  20. I was lucky enough to spend a weekend at Lilianfels for an anniversary some years ago with my bf. We absolutely loved the place and the food at Darley’s was absolutely spectacular. Would love to visit again!

  21. Looks like a great 24 hours. That pool looks fabulous and how nice that the meal was delicious. I hope the Blue Mountains reenactment crossing is proceeding well and am looking forward to hearing any news you have about it.


  22. Sounds like a perfect weekend, exactly what the doctor ordered! Bliss

  23. What a fantastic setting for what was once a home. So glad that it was eventually bought by a company that had the good sense to restore and improve the property. Too bad you couldn’t spend more time there – in a warmer room, though. And I join Celi: I can’t believe you wrote that speech in the car!!! Way to go, Charlie!

  24. I love the Blue Mountains but for it’s heating not to work is crazy! It get freezing there!

  25. Lilianfels is GORGEOUS!! I just got back from a short trip to Singapore but even then I want to go on another holiday!! 🙂 Look at those blue blue skies hehe! Poor Alfie lol being left behind but I’m sure he’ll have fun with your parents too ~ xx

  26. Looks like a lovely little place to get away from it all Charlie. A shame you couldn’t stay for longer. It always feels so nice to “get away from it all” doesn’t it?

  27. What an amazing place – as you say, a pity you couldn’t stay longer but I’m glad you were able to get there for a little while. I’m not sure how I’d have coped with the heating issue – possibly I wouldn’t have! – but your pictures are gorgeous.

  28. Looks beautiful but way too short of a visit! Another time?? PS Glad they had extra blankets. I hate being cold.

  29. What a lovely get away! In the Blue Mountains, nevertheless! Lucky you!
    A grand & very stilish place to stay!

  30. WOW! What a gorgeous place! I would have a hard time leaving the grounds. Inside and out it looks so comforting and a great handout. I think I could sit on that porch reading a book all day. O.K. now I really fill lucky and I guess spoiled – my husband always makes sure I have gas in my car. 🙂

  31. Oh that looks just divine and if you had to miss the Kidspot thing – at least you missed it for something as gorgeous as that. Well done too Carl too hun xx

  32. The original homestead is lovely. I bet the air was fresh and the atmosphere peaceful and relaxed. What a wonderful break even if only for such a short time.

  33. Seems that there are Blue Mountains of some sort around the world. We’ve got the Blue Ridge Mountains about 90 minutes from DC ourselves. 😉


  1. […] meant we also didn’t have time for anything long distance so we booked a night at Lilianfels in Sydney’s Blue Mountains.  The Blue Mountains are just a 90-minute drive from Sydney but […]

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