Babymoons are all the rage for expectant parents. Heidi Krause discovers why and takes a final child-free fling at the beautiful Bells at Killcare Boutique Hotel, Restaurant & Spa.
Pregnant? Why not take a babymoon! The concept sounds simple enough. Indulge in a romantic getaway before life gets turned upside down with the arrival of a screaming newborn. One last relaxing, child-free hurrah before two becomes three, and holidays suddenly involve packing more than a couple of bikinis, sarongs and a bottle of duty-free gin. If nothing else, a forced opportunity to stop and take a deep breath in the midst of the crazy journey to parenthood. Sign me up!
Finding out you’re pregnant is an exciting time. It’s also a time that necessitates a great deal of organisation and pesky to-do-lists. Along with birth class options and the almighty decision of which pram to buy, one thing sitting squarely at the top of my own personal to-do-list was to organise a babymoon.
While there are plenty of options to suit all tastes and budgets, from lavish island retreats to low-key weekend getaways, whatever you decide, the recommended time to take a babymoon is during the second trimester - after the morning sickness has (fingers crossed) subsided and before you become too big and uncomfortable to do very much at all. If you want to go overseas, then the safest time to travel is between 18 to 24 weeks and it’s essential speak to your healthcare provider before you go.
While our original plan to spend 10 days in an adults-only resort in Vanuatu sadly came undone (due to a natural disaster and unforseen house move) I knew it was important that we take some sort of time-out before our baby bundle arrived - even if it was just for a night or two.
With the window for safe overseas travel squarely shut, we decided to go somewhere that's an easy drive from our Sydney homebase. Other than that, my priorities were - to eat well and often, to sleep blissfully, to take a long bath, to be pampered and ultimately, to do as little as possible. Satisfied I was getting all my boxes ticked, we set off on our 2-night babymoon escape to Bells at Killcare.
Bells at Killcare Boutique Hotel, Restaurant & Spa
This luxury five star hotel for adults only is situated just an hour north of Sydney on the edge of the beautiful Bouddi National Park. Given it's the middle of June, ocean swims are unfortunately out of the question, but there are seven stunning beaches a short drive away if you’re feeling brave or visit when it’s warmer. The property itself spans 24 grassy green acres (beautifully manicured ones at that) and consists of 25 private cottages designed in elegant Hamptons style, plus a pool, day spa and an award-winning restaurant.
Upon arrival, we’re ushered to our Lakeside Villa down the back of the property, which is decorated in white and washed-back blue and has an inviting king-sized bed emblazoned with the word ‘Unwind’ across the middle - and voila, I immediately begin to obey. I’m also rather enamoured with the deep free-standing bath in the bathroom and vow to fill it with the supplied bath salts at the first opportunity.
It’s a shame it’s too chilly to lie out on the daybed in the sunshine overlooking the lake but alas, a winter babymoon is not without other perks. My husband and I waste no time getting cosy and set up for a game of trivial pursuit in front of the fire before heading up to main house for dinner.
One of the highlights of Bells and a key reason we’re here is to dine at the world-renowned modern Italian restaurant onsite, Manfredi at Bells. Led by one of Australia’s best chefs, Stefano Manfredi, the food menu is focused on seasonal dishes and many incorporate ingredients grown and harvested in the Bells kitchen garden. Never before has a simple rocket and parmesan salad tasted so damn good.
While I would love nothing more than to work my way through the 5 course Degustation menu with matching wines, I make do with selecting dishes off the a la carte menu and one gorgeous glass of Sangiovese. Stand-out dishes include the Grilled Quail with Rapini and Sweet and Sour Cherries in Balsamic Sauce for entree and the Seared NZ Venison for main. Being 7.5 months pregnant, dessert is absolutely pivotal and I am not disappointed. The Tartufo di Amedei chocolate is simply glorious - a decadent, velvety chocolate ball filled with chocolate ganache, dusted with cocoa and surrounded by caramelised clotted cream. It’s one of the most amazing desserts I’ve ever had - and I assure you, that’s not just the hormones talking.
Grilled Quail with Rapini
Tartufo di Amedei chocolate
Explore and Be Pampered
After a blissful slumber, we stroll back to the scene of the crime for breakfast. With the day stretching before us and nothing but a massage appointment at 3pm, I remember my quest to do as little as possible. However, the glorious winter sunshine and my hyperactive husband have other ideas, and we decide to take a little drive through the National Park to check out some of the local beaches and walking trails. Armed with a map from the lovely staff at reception, the well-marked trails range in difficulty from very gentle (perfect if you're sporting a large bump like moi) to a 7km steep decent walk of Mount Bouddi. The scenery is nothing short of spectacular and as we amble our way along a deserted bush track to a lookout over the bay, I find it hard to believe the hustle and bustle of Sydney is so close. Must we ever leave?
No babymoon is complete without a massage and my experience back at the Bells day spa is heavenly. Their 1 hour Marma Kodo massage is designed specifically to nurture pregnant bodies. I’m told it’s inspired by traditional Australian Aboriginal techniques and an unscented Macadamia and Camellia oil blend is used to nourish and hydrate the skin.
‘Relax. Unwind. Enjoy.’
The whole ethos of Bells is to be a peaceful adults-only retreat where you can ‘take refuge’ and forget about the stresses of everyday life - and in our case, the sleepless nights and dirty nappies that are waiting just around the corner.
The beauty of the place is that while there are plenty of activities on offer nearby, once you’ve arrived and settled in, there really is no reason to do much at all. I vow to return as soon as we can book a babysitter.
Sunset at nearby Hardy's Bay
Babymoon packages start from $870 including overnight accommodation, one VIP restaurant reservation and a 60 min signature Kodo massage for both mum-to-be and dad-to-be.
Find out more at www.bellsatkillcare.com.au
Other Top Babymoon Destinations in Australia
Port Douglas, QLD - Sea Temple Resort
Palm Cove, QLD - Peppers Beach Club & Spa
Byron Bay, NSW - The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa
Melbourne, VIC - Hotel Lindrum
Blue Mountains, NSW - Lillianfels Resort