We went to the mountains in search of pure R&R, and stayed as the guests of Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort & Spa. Owned by the Escarpment Group, who seem to have cornered the market in boutique Blue Mountains accommodation (including the recently overhauled Hydro Majestic), Lilianfels is a one-stop-shop for indulgence in the most picturesque part of Katoomba, just 50 metres from Echo Point and its overlook of the Three Sisters, and with views over the Jamison Valley from the lounge and valley-view rooms. There’s a hatted restaurant on site, a day spa, and Scenic World is a short walk away.
While you might go to the Hydro for its freshly restored cliffside grandeur, Lilianfels has more of a “shabby chic” charm: chintz furnishings and wallpaper, and illustrations of birds, stags and hunting hounds. In our room, the musky-pink 19th-century décor (courtesy of previous owner-operators Orient Express, circa 2002, and a tribute to Lilianfels’ heyday) makes one think of maiden aunts and lapdogs. But with mod-cons like Wi-Fi, cable, 24-hour room service and Sealy Posturepedic mattresses, you’ve got the best of both worlds.